Getting pregnant when you have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a challenge. It’s not an insurmountable one, but if you don’t know what actions you can take to give yourself a better chance, it can feel like it’s impossible.
The key is to understand how PCOS affects your body, and try to compensate for those disadvantages and that’s what we’re looking at today.
PCOS and Ovulation
The main way PCOS impacts your fertility is by distorting your menstrual cycle and causing your ovulation to be delayed or skipped. You need to focus your research into solving the problem of how to ovulate with PCOS.
To do this we need to look at the mechanism by which PCOS affects your body. It’s an endocrine disorder, meaning it’s caused by and propagated through your hormone system. The primary driver is insulin. When you produce too much insulin, you begin to produce too much of the androgen testosterone. This ‘male’ hormone is naturally produced in the female body, but too much causes problems. At the same time, an excess of insulin can cause you to gain weight, and the ‘female’ hormone oestrogen is create in fat tissue, so you’re also producing a higher level of oestrogen.
These three elevated hormones cause all the symptoms of PCOS, but if you know that, you can start to take action.
The main driver of PCOS is that high level of insulin. If you can regulate your insulin levels, your testosterone production can return to a more normal level, and it can help you lose weight, leading to a more normal of oestrogen production into the bargain.
You can attack the insulin problem in a number of different ways, largely through lifestyle changes rather than medication.
Diet has a big role to play: a low GI-Diet limits the amount of simple sugars in your food, which avoids big peaks and troughs of sugar in your blood stream. This in turn avoids stimulating the production of big quantities of insulin. A diet avoiding white bread and incorporating lots of wholegrains and legumes helps to get your insulin levels under control.
You can support this effort by taking a supplement of inositol – this is a substance that helps your body use insulin effectively, and it’s theorised that difficulty absorbing or using inositol could be on of the causes of PCOS!