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Getting Pregnant With PCOS

written by: Deborah Walstad • edited by: BStone • updated: 3/15/2011

Irregular ovulation and menstruation and other factors makes getting pregnant with PCOS more difficult. Working to manage PCOS symptoms naturally, and using medication if necessary, can restore the ability to conceive, to have a healthy pregnancy and free the heartache associated with infertility

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    Defining PCOS

    expecting (free digital photos.net) Understanding PCOS needs to come before addressing getting pregnant with PCOS. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) affects about five to ten percent of women of child-bearing age — it is the most common female endocrine disorder. PCOS is often associated with hormone insulin problems. It is a hormonal disorder which affects multiple organ systems of the body. Girls as young as eight can have this disorder as well as women in their postmenopausal years. Polycystic ovarian syndrome is one of the leading causes of infertility. It is also often associated with trouble losing weight.

    Symptoms of PCOS do vary with each individual. Common symptoms include irregular or absent periods and irregular ovulation, both of which play a major role in infertility issues. PCOS can also lead to acne, excessive hair growth on the body and face, thinning of scalp hair, accumulation of unruptured follicles on the ovaries and weight management issues. While there is no cure for PCOS, eating a healthy diet, getting regular physical activity and if necessary taking medication, can go a long way in managing this condition.

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    PCOS and Irregular Menstrual Cycles

    Women with PCOS often experience infertility issues. These issues can be caused when the ovaries fail to produce hormones for normal menstrual cycles. This leads to nine or fewer menstrual cycles in a year. PCOS can also cause heavier bleeding during periods. Irregular periods lead to irregular ovulation or sometimes the absence of ovulation, both of which will make it harder to get pregnant.
    Women with PCOS have cysts, or fluid-filled sacs, on their ovaries that prevent the ovaries from performing normally. Ovaries of PCOS suffers tend to be from 1.5 to 3 times larger than normal ovaries. Although PCOS has been a known syndrome for more than 75 years, no one is sure exactly what causes it. Some experts speculate that it may be hereditary, but others believe that there might be a link between PCOS and diabetes. This would make sense as so many women with PCOS also have high insulin levels.
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    Managing PCOS and Getting Pregnant

    Treating infertility with PCOS requires finding the underlying causes of PCOS. Even if you're able to get pregnant, but did not treat the hormonal imbalance you are at a greater risk for miscarrying. Managing all your symptoms will help lead to conceiving and a healthy pregnancy.

    Often PCOS can be managed with making some simple lifestyle changes. These include detoxing, changing your diet, increasing exercise and finding ways to relieve stress.

    • Detox: This involves ridding your home of toxic substances and replacing them with more organic, or green, ones. This will help flush your body of harmful substances that may contribute to PCOS.
    • Diet: A woman with PCOS should eat more natural foods and avoid too many processed foods or sweets. Eating right will help even out your hormones and insulin and blood sugar levels.
    • Exercise: Along with eating right, exercise can help your body maintain a healthy weight or lose weight to keep insulin resistance in check.
    • Destressing: As one of the most important ways to control your hormones, destressing also strengthens your immune system and can prepare your body for getting pregnant.
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    PCOS Medications and Getting Pregnant

    Because PCOS can make getting pregnant more challenging, a doctor may prescribe one or more medications to help a woman get pregnant. These include supplements of synthetic progestin or estrogen. Progestin can make your endometrial lining build up and shed, similar to a menstrual period, to help someone start their cycle.

    A doctor may also prescribe metformin (Glucophage), a diabetes medication that can also treat PCOS, restoring insulin, blood sugar and androgen levels. It aids in restoring regular menstrual cycles, making it easier to get pregnant. Clomiphene citrate (Clomid, Serophene) and gonadotropin injections (LH and FSH) are two other medications commonly prescribed to someone with infertility issues associated with PCOS. The combination of the two can be more effective, as well as combining metformin with clomiphene.

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    Although a woman with PCOS often experiences infertility issues making getting pregnant with PCOS more challenging, taking control of this condition will help. PCOS symptoms can often be resolved with diet, exercise, detoxing and destressing. A doctor may also prescribe medication to help restore a regular menstrual cycle and improve egg quality to provide for a healthy conception and pregnancy.