Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is one of the most common conditions that can affect your fertility suffered by women in the developed world. The NHs estimates that as many one of five women have the condition, which is driven by an overproduction of insulin, leading to a long list of symptoms including weight gain (and therefore more insulin production), hirsutism, depress and anxiety, and perhaps most dramatically, the fertility effects the condition is known for.
If you’re diagnosed with PCOS, your first question is likely to be ‘is there a cure?’, and unfortunately the answer is no. There is no simple way to prevent PCOS affecting you, once its effects have taken hold. That’s not a reason to give up hope though. PCOS may not have a cure, but it’s a condition that you can manage, and making some changes to your lifestyle can have a dramatic effect on the symptoms, lessening their grip on your body until it’s almost imperceptible.
The main way PCOS affects your fertility is by making you ovulate infrequently, and irregularly. If you ovulate less, you simply have fewer opportunities to become pregnant and if you don’t have a regular cycle, then you can’t easily predict when your next opportunity to conceive will come, and can’t capitalise on it to give yourself the best chance of success.
You can learn how to ovulate with PCOS, and move the odds back in your favour, so you have more opportunities to get pregnant, and a better chance of knowing when each one will fall. There are several options for people with PCOS to encourage your body to ovulate more frequently. Drugs like Clomid manipulate your brain’s ability to detect hormone levels, so it keeps creating the ovulation stimulating hormones beyond its usual cut off. This can be effective, but also lead to side effects like severe mood swings that might make it less desirable as an option for you.
A more systemic approach, that can also affect other PCOS symptoms is to try and lose some of the weight that PCOS makes your body gain. This helps to control the insulin levels in your body, and reduce the impact of the condition as a whole. You can supplement exercise and a GI controlled diet with inositol supplements, that can help your body process insulin and promote regular menstrual cycles.
Predicting Your Ovulation Cycle
As you encourage your body to ovulate more, you need to be monitoring it for the signs of ovulation taking place. If you don’t know when you’re going to ovulate, you don’t know when you’re at your most fertile.
If you have PCOS the best way to monitor when you’re going to ovulate is to measure your Basal Body Temperature. This low, overnight body temperature is unaffected by hormonal changes and therefore very useful to people with a hormone driven condition like PCOS.
When you know when you’re due to ovulate, you can try to conceive during your ‘fertile window’ and you know you have the best chance of success.