One of the biggest challenges to women’s fertility in the UK is the health condition known as PCOS. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), to give it its full name is estimated to affect as many as a fifth of the women in the UK, and can have a dramatic impact on their ability to conceive naturally. Today we’re looking at how this condition affects your body, why it has such negative impact on your chances of conceiving, the things you can do to boost your chances of getting pregnant without costly and disruptive IVF treatments.
The root causes of this condition are still not thoroughly understood, though scientists and doctors are working on testing various possible genetic and environmental triggers. What we do know is that it begins to affect your body when you start to produce too much insulin. This is the hormone that governs how your body deals with sugar, from using it for energy to storing the excess as fat. With too much insulin your body becomes resistant to it, and you begin to gain weight. This also leads to an overproduction of androgen. This is commonly known as a male sex hormone, and while small amounts have a role to play in the female body, too much interferes with the process by which your ovaries mature and release an egg each month, giving you an opportunity to become pregnant, leading to delayed or even missed ovulations and fewer chances to conceive.
To give yourself a better chance, you need to know how to ovulate with PCOS – how you can encourage your body to restart this process, ideally without fertility medication, which can have severe effects on your mood among other side effects.
Exercise and Lifestyle
One of the most important things you can do is try to lose the weight PCOS encourages your body to gain. It’s not easy – you’re fighting your own body and its hormones, but if you can control your sugar intake, and lose some of this weight, it can cause your body to dial down its production of insulin, leading to a reduction in all the other symptons of PCOS, including it’s interference with your ovulation. For some women, this is enough to restart regular, spontaneous ovulations.
Adding some dietary supplements to your exercise routine can also help your body begin to regain a more normal rhythm with its reproductive processes. Vitamin C and Zinc are both said to help women with PCOS ovulate more regularly, though as with many dietary supplements, we’re still waiting for definitive studies.