The Connection Between PCOS and Fertility
PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome, is one of the most common causes of infertility in women. It is a hormonal condition that causes imbalances in the male and female hormones present in a woman’s body. This hormonal imbalance can cause some women to experience challenges when they try to get pregnant.
What is PCOS and How Does it Impact Fertility
PCOS is a hormonal condition that causes small cysts to grow on a woman’s ovaries. These cysts collect fluid and impact the body’s ability to release eggs regularly. Since there is little or no regular release of eggs, the first noticeable PCOS symptom is irregular periods or a complete lack of one. This is one of the first issues that make fertility a challenge.
Additionally, the cysts themselves are caused by an excess of androgen hormones. Androgens are more prevalent in males, although many women do have small amounts. In women with PCOS, androgen levels are significantly high. As a result, some women will have darker, thicker hair on their legs, experience hair thinning, have acne and other skin issues, and even have facial hair.
The hormonal imbalance also tends to cause weight gain and problems losing weight. For some women, depression is also caused by excess androgens. Plus, because the androgen levels combat the estrogen levels, fertility is further impacted.
What to Do if You Have PCOS
Fortunately, there are many treatment methods and options available for women when it comes to PCOS and fertility. There is a traditional medical approach as well as natural and Functional Medicine approach.
Some of traditional ways are:
- Testing: Simple tests can confirm high levels of androgens and low levels of estrogen in the body. Ultrasound readings can also pick up on the cysts on ovaries.
- Birth control: Many women are placed on birth control upon a PCOS diagnosis because the progesterone levels combat the androgen levels.
- Diet: For some women, special diets that focus on eliminating inflammatory foods actually positively impact their PCOS. Additionally, some women who can lose weight experience some leveling out of the hormones.
- Anti-androgens: Anti-androgen medications work to block the production of male hormones like testosterone.
- Fertility treatments: Medications like Metformin can help women with PCOS get pregnant.
The natural functional medicine approach is to get a detailed history into the individuals lifestyle, including diet, exercise, mental, and physical health over the course of their lifetime, based on this information specialized laboratory tests are ordered. This approach addresses biochemical individuality, It is not a cookie cutter approach. This allows the doctor to address the root cause instead of just treating the symptoms of PCOS. When this is done the symptoms of pcos and the manifestations of that hormonal disruption are addressed as well and therefore resolved.
- Millions of women have infertility due to PCOS, but with so many treatment methods available, pregnancy remains possible.
If you are experiencing fertility issues and recognize some of PCOS symptoms, consider coming to Healthy Beginnings to take one of our tests to uncover if PCOS impacts your fertility today.