You have heard of painful periods, irregular menstruation, hormonal imbalance and more that happens due to PCOS. Women with PCOS go through a lot but infertility is an issue caused by this syndrome that is rarely discussed. In women with PCOS, the hormonal imbalance interferes with the growth and release of eggs from the ovaries (ovulation). But if you are wondering ‘how to get pregnant with PCOS and irregular periods,’ thinking it is impossible, well there are a few treatment options.
What Exactly Is PCOS Or PCOD?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) or Disease (PCOD) is a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age. Since this is a chronic condition that affects a woman’s hormone levels, it causes you to skip periods or not get any periods at all. This condition further makes it difficult for women to get pregnant.
Did You Know?
According to the PCOS Society of India, 1 in 10 Indian women suffer from the condition. What’s more shocking is that a large percentage of these females are teenagers. Poor lifestyle habits are to be blamed for this surge as 80% of PCOS patients are obese.
8 Common Symptoms Of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
- Irregular periods
- Excessive facial hair
- Heavy menstrual flow
- Pelvic pain
- Fluctuations in weight
- Mood swings
Do you have any of these symptoms? Here is a quick quiz that can help you determine whether you have PCOS or not.
Here are 5 food items that can help you manage PCOS.
5 Vital PCOS & Fertility Questions Answered By A Gynaecologist
TC46 connected with Obstetrician & Gynecologist Dr Sushma Tomar of Fortis Hospital, Mumbai to know how to conceive with PCOS and combat infertility issues. Here, she shares the success rate of pregnancies with PCOS, the potential risk factors involved and ways to boost fertility.
1. How & why does PCOS impact one’s fertility?
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) has a direct effect on hormonal imbalance and ovulation, most of these patients are having an Anovulatory Menstrual Cycle or Oligoovulation. They get delayed menses, irregular menses and can have scanty menses. Most patients are obese and have Hyperandrogenism – with a male pattern of body fat distribution and Hirsutism means a male pattern of facial hair in the chin, upper lip, side locks, abdomen, and legs. Moreover, 80% of PCOS patients have infertility issues.
2. Should women diagnosed with PCOS try to get pregnant naturally? What are the chances of success?
If you are wondering, ‘how to conceive with PCOS,’ or even if the procedure is safe? Then yes, it is! With proper medication and weight management, women with PCOS can get naturally pregnant. The success rate can go up to 80%. If natural pregnancy is not possible then the doctor will recommend IVF.
3. Are there any risks for women who have a PCOS pregnancy?
PCOD patients have a higher risk of early pregnancy abortion. So, even after getting pregnant, hormone treatment should continue till 12 to 16 weeks of pregnancy. These patients have a higher risk of having hypertension and diabetes during pregnancy as well. Complications related to mother and child are also there, so till the delivery, they are high-risk patients and need close observation.
4. How can they increase their chances of getting pregnant?
Even 5 to 10 kg weight loss makes a lot of difference in metabolism and hormone levels. The patient should try at least 6 months with diet, exercise, weight loss and planned contact. If they do not conceive, then other investigations like Fallopian Tube Patency Test, Follicular Study, Semen Analysis must be done. If the patient is non-ovulating, then hormonal treatment is advised; sometimes laparoscopic ovarian drilling is done.
5. What are the options available in terms of fertility treatments and procedures?
The cause is diagnosed and accordingly, treatment is advised to the couple. Weight loss, low carbohydrate and a low-fat diet are some of the treatment options. Especially weight loss is the first line of treatment. Preconception guidelines like lifestyle changes, taking folic acid must be advised to patients. But you don’t need to worry about ‘how can I get pregnant with PCOS.’ Sometimes if it doesn’t work out, you can take the help of artificial reproductive techniques.
Treatment Options For Infertility Caused By PCOS
1. Weight Loss To Restart Ovulation
When it is how to conceive naturally with PCOS, the solutions are not that tricky. Women with PCOS who are overweight are more likely to experience more severe anovulation, going months between periods. But regular exercise and a special PCOS diet can help. Research has found that women who have lost weight have a great chance of having fertility treatment success. Losing weight isn’t easy for anybody, and it may be even more difficult for those with PCOS. Also, not all women with PCOS are overweight.
Some women with PCOS need medications to help them conceive. If you’re insulin-resistant, taking the diabetes drug metformin can treat insulin resistance and may help you lose weight. Clomid is the most commonly used fertility drug overall, and also the most commonly used treatment for women with PCOS. Gonadotropins, an injectable fertility drug, is also used as a treatment option.
3. Fertility Treatments
IVF (in vitro fertilisation) or IVM (in vitro maturation) are the commonly used fertility treatments for women with PCOS. Click here to know more about the different fertility treatments.
IVF: This involves using injectable fertility drugs to stimulate the ovaries so that they will provide a good number of mature eggs. The eggs are retrieved from the ovaries during a procedure known as egg retrieval. Those eggs are then placed together with sperm into Petri dishes. If all goes well, the sperm will fertilise some of the eggs. After the fertilised eggs have had between three and five days to divide and grow, one or two are transferred into the uterus. This procedure is known as an embryo transfer. The desired result is a positive pregnancy test after two weeks.
IVM: It stands for in vitro maturation. Instead of giving you high doses of fertility drugs to force your ovaries to mature many eggs, with IVM you receive either no fertility drugs or very low doses. The doctor retrieves immature eggs from the ovaries and then matures these eggs in the lab. IVM is not offered at all fertility clinics. This is something to consider when choosing a fertility clinic.