Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition in which the ovaries produce an increased number of androgens (male sex hormones) that are usually present in women in small amounts. The name polycystic ovary syndrome describes the numerous small cysts (fluid-filled sacs) that form along the outer edge of the ovaries.
Common questions that arise with people suffering from PCOS include: Will I be able to conceive naturally? Do I need fertility treatment?
Experiences with PCOS typically vary by individual, so it’s important to find the right balance that works for your particular situation. However, there are certain steps that can be taken to boost your fertility naturally.
While the exact causes of PCOS are unknown, some factors tend to be associated with the condition. Infertility is one of the major issues affecting women with PCOS. Other symptoms include irregular periods and unnatural hair growth. Experiencing these symptoms are usually indicators that you may need to get checked for PCOS.
Insulin resistance is another critical factor associated with PCOS. Insulin is produced by the pancreas to help break down sugars in the body. In people with PCOS, insulin is not properly utilized, causing a buildup which causes blood sugar levels to rise. This impacts hormone production in the body and leads to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes along with a higher risk in the development of gestational diabetes. Obesity is also commonly associated with PCOS due to the resistance of insulin.
Low-grade inflammation (Low GI) is another common occurrence in people with PCOS. While low-grade inflammation is a natural function driven by the white blood cells, in people with PCOS, the inflammation can be long-term, leading to the development of cysts on the ovaries.
What are 5 Steps That You Can Take Today to Help Manage PCOS?
There’s really no substitute for having a good nutritionally balanced diet to boost your fertility and manage the symptoms of PCOS. While doctors commonly recommend a good diet, this is especially important for people with PCOS since there’s no cure at this time and when you consider the increased risk in diabetes, along with other serious conditions, a nutritionally balanced diet takes on an even higher level of importance.
Dietary needs include good quantities of whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, millets, brown rice, quinoa, to name a few. Reducing the quantity of simple carbohydrates by cutting down on processed foods is recommended. Complex carbohydrates are good for your body and should be consumed in the form of legumes and nuts.
Reducing saturated fats and trans fats is also recommended. Consuming avocados, olive oil, and seeds are encouraged. Anti-oxidant and fiber-rich foods are also recommended for people with PCOS to battle issues with inflammation and to keep blood sugar in check. Increasing the intake of lean protein and low-fat foods will also help keep insulin levels in control.
Watch Your Weight
Weight is very closely linked to PCOS and fertility problems. Obese women generally have more fat stored in their bodies which releases androgens, which in turn may suppress ovulation, further complicating fertility.
Reducing weight can help in establishing a more regular ovulation cycle in women with PCOS.
Finding a weight that works for you is key. Check your body mass index (BMI) to understand your ideal body weight. Following a weight gain or weight loss regimen that is sustainable and does not involve crash diets or impact the intake of calories or nutrients that your body needs to be healthy is important.
Reducing stress is absolutely necessary for people looking to get pregnant while dealing with PCOS.
Stress can exacerbate some of the existing issues, and it can also affect fertility more directly. Stress causes the release of cortisol; Cortisol triggers the release of insulin which is a big issue in people with PCOS.
Reducing stress in everyday life involves getting better control over your emotions and reactions to external stimuli. Hobbies that mentally stimulate you can help a lot in keeping stress levels in check.
Regular exercise can help you in many ways with boosting your fertility. Exercise is also important when you are dealing with issues such as weight loss and managing stress. If you are looking to get pregnant, it is advised to not undertake overly strenuous forms of exercise as it can increase inflammation in your body.
Doing 30 minutes of physical exercise for at least 3-5 days a week is recommended. Rely on exercise that is light, such as walking and yoga.
Finally, lifestyle changes alone may not fully resolve the situation and the help of a fertility specialist may be required to improve your chances of getting pregnant. The Complete Fertility Workup provides an overview of the diagnostic tests and information gathered to determine your fertility potential.
Speak to a fertility specialist who is experienced in working with people with PCOS to help formulate a treatment plan.
At RISE Fertility we are experts in women’s health and dealing with the issues of PCOS. Schedule a consultation today!
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