You Can Conceive Despite PCOS
Early intervention takes the infertility out of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder in women. Failure to diagnose and treat PCOS can lead to metabolic disorders that affect the reproductory system and cause infertility. But if it is screened and detected early, PCOS can be tackled successfully.
Studies reveal that 5.9 percent of the women in the Gampaha district suffer from PCOS, while 10-25 percent of women of reproductive age globally suffer from PCOS.
Three main features from among a variety of PCOS symptoms are:
Excessive androgen, and
PCOS is diagnosed if two of the above symptoms are present. The first symptoms of PCOS develop around the time of the first menstrual period during puberty, or later, for example, in response to substantial weight gain. Infrequent, irregular, or prolonged menstrual cycles are also a giveaway: If you have fewer than nine periods a year, with more than 35 days between periods that are abnormally heavy, visit your GP.
What causes irregular periods?
Irregular periods are caused by enlarged ovaries that contain numerous follicles (small collections of fluid) which surround your eggs. These prevent your ovaries from functioning properly, and in some cases lead to infertility. This is in addition to elevated levels of the male hormone (androgen), which result in excessive facial and body hair, along with severe acne and male-pattern baldness.
These symptoms can become more aggressive if a woman is obese. PCOS is often associated with insulin resistance which leads to an increased risk of health problems later in life, such as Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol levels, and high blood pressure.
PCOS is diagnosed through a detailed medical history of the patient, a complete physical examination, blood tests and pelvic ultrasound scan.
How PCOS impacts mental health
PCOS sufferers are about three times more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety and depression than people without PCOS, with many reporting severe bouts of anxiety and depression. It is also associated with an increased risk of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder, and eating disorders.
A person’s values, lifestyle and culture will either ease or aggravate specific symptoms. For example, the negative stigma attached to infertility in the Sri Lankan culture may lead many women affected by PCOS to severe depression. Overall, many report feeling frustrated and anxious about their lack of control over their health and body.
Conception is possible
PCOS interrupts the normal menstrual cycle and makes conception more difficult. Around 70-80 percent of women with the condition have fertility problems. It can also increase pregnancy-related complications and miscarriages. However, it is important to note that having PCOS does not mean that a person can never get pregnant. Weight loss and other treatments can improve your chance of getting pregnant since PCOS is treatable.
PCOS is treatable
While there is no permanent cure for PCOS, it is entirely treatable. If you have PCOS and are overweight, eating a healthy, balanced diet that can lead to at least a 5 percent decrease in your bodyweight will go a long way to easing the symptoms and increasing the effectiveness of medication. Since PCOS is associated with insulin resistance which can lead to Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol levels, patients should be regularly screened for these conditions.
Distressing symptoms such as excessive hair growth, irregular periods, and infertility can be overcome with medication. If you find yourself constantly anxious and drifting towards depression, reach out to one of the many sources of psychological support around the country for professional help.
Adapted from an article by Dr. S. Pathmanathan, MBBS, MD, Consultant Endocrinologist, Healthy Life Clinic
For help, medical advice, or information on smoking, call us on 0773 511 511
Our doctors are also available on audio/video consultation via E-channelling, DOC990, ODOC, and MyDoctor.lk, or simply by calling 0773511511, during this difficult time.