Polycystic Ovary Syndrome – or PCOS – is one of the most widespread fertility issues for women in the developed world. It’s a hormone driven health condition, which has a long list of symptoms not limited to fertility effects: PCOS can cause hair loss, unwanted hair growth (‘hirsutism’), oily skin or acne breakouts. Straddling the boundary between cause and symptom is weight gain: PCOS encourages your body to gain weight, but this also contributes to the condition, causing a feedback loop it can be hard to break. In fertility terms, PCOS causes you to experience irregular periods and ovulations, or sometimes no ovulations at all. Finally, PCOS is associated with higher instances of mental health issues like depression and anxiety but it’s not currently known if there is a direct biological link in which PCOS causes these psychological symptoms, or if they are an understandable result of living with the stress and discomfort of the physical symptoms.
I Have PCOS: Can I Get Pregnant?
The good news is that PCOS is not the same as infertility. Advanced cases of PCOS can cause your body to stop ovulation altogether but for most people, it is simply rarer and harder to identify. This makes getting pregnant more complicated and difficult, but not impossible!
There are two main ways you can improve your chances: making sure you can identify when you are going to ovulate, and encouraging your body to ovulate more frequently.
A PCOS fertility tracker is a huge asset when you are trying to conceive. Not all ovulation tracker options are suitable when you have PCOS: ovulation predictor kits, for example, use hormones to assess when you are ovulating, and the hormonal confusion PCOS causes can cause ‘false negatives’, meaning these kits can fail to identify when you are ovulating and cause you to miss an opportunity to get pregnant.
As long as you do your research and find a tracker that will see through the confusion of PCOS, you will be able to take advantage of every chance you have to get pregnant.
There are medications that can help your body ovulate more by causing it to create more of the hormones that stimulate ovulation. The most widely used of these is called Clomid, and you can only use it when prescribed by your doctor.
There are other natural ways of combating the symptoms of PCOS. As it’s fundamentally driven by an excess of insulin, changing your diet to control your insulin levels – as well as supplement called inositol can cause a reduction in symptoms across the board, including a return to a more regular pattern of ovulations, giving you more chances to get pregnant in each year.