PCOS is one of the leading causes of infertility. It can be challenging to get pregnant with PCOS because of lack of ovulation, insulin resistance, and high inflammation in the body.
This article will cover PCOS, ways to reverse the symptoms, and treatment options to help you get pregnant and stay healthy during pregnancy.
What is PCOS?
PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) is an endocrine disorder that affects about 10-15% of the population. PCOS is characterized by:
- Irregular Cycles
- Evidence of elevated male hormones by bloodwork or physical signs (hirsutism)
- Sometimes cystic ovaries that can be found on ultrasound
It is often not diagnosed for years because the signs and symptoms are not specific to PCOS. Common signs and symptoms include:
- Irregular periods that can be heavy as well
- Weight Gain
- Mood disorders like anxiety and depression
- Hair Loss or excess hair on chin or belly
Some less common signs of PCOS include low libido, poor healing, insomnia, and brain fog.
Scheduling an appointment is straightforward if you are tired of being at the mercy of your PCOS symptoms.
Why is it difficult for women to get pregnant with PCOS?
PCOS is a complex disorder because it affects all areas of the body. Women with PCOS were 4.5 more likely to report infertility than women without PCOS. PCOS is one of the top causes of infertility.
PCOS causes infertility primarily through a lack of ovulation. The ovary in a PCOS woman has normal antral follicles (potential eggs), but the hormone imbalance causes the follicles to mature improperly and not release from the ovary (anovulation). This hormone imbalance is driven by insulin resistance and high male androgen levels.
PCOS symptoms are evidence that infertility is more severe in women who are overweight or obese. Obesity without PCOS causes an ovulation problem, which may contribute to this statistic as well. Obesity leads to a higher chance of diabetes and complications in pregnancy like stational diabetes, hypertension, and cesarian section rates. It is essential to optimize weight and health before pregnancy.
Interestingly, because of the higher antral count, data indicates that women with PCOS have sustained fertility despite aging, unlike women without PCOS. Age does not seem to affect the ovary in women with PCOS.
Why you should see an integrative gynecologist?
The most common treatment prescribed is birth control for most hormonal conditions. A holistic gynecologist will discuss the risks and benefits of birth control so you can make the best-informed decision for yourself. Birth control is only one option.
A holistic gynecologist works in a collaborative team with nutritionists, personal trainers, acupuncturists, and health coaches to develop personalized plan-including nutrition, exercise, mind-body medicine, that is customized to meet your lifestyle and needs.
Whether you decide to be on birth control or are trying to get pregnant, a holistic gynecologist has more tools in the toolbox than a traditional gynecologist.
Let’s see how we can help you! If you are ready to take control of your health, we would love to be a part of that journey with you. We can provide the education, guidance, and support that you may currently be missing, in order to co-create optimal health and wellness.
Simply click here to schedule a free discovery consultation with one of our clinical team members.
Reversing PCOS with Integrative Medicine Treatments
Managing PCOS symptoms can be difficult because they can change as women age. It requires consistent teamwork between the doctor and patient to assess your genetic, lifestyle, and dietary factors.
Whether you are on birth control are not, addressing the drivers of your symptoms is the first step.
- Insulin Resistance
- Gut Health
Women with PCOS are often insulin resistant (up to 80%). Insulin resistance leads to more inflammation, poor gut health, and higher levels of male hormones. In other words, if you address insulin resistance, you will affect the other two drivers as well.
Even if you do not have digestive issues, optimizing your gut health will decrease inflammation and insulin resistance.
- Focused Nutrition
- Restore Gut Health
- Decrease Inflammation
How to Increase Your Chances of Getting Pregnant in 3 simple steps
Step 1: Nourish Your Body with the Right Fertility Diet
The best fertility diet for PCOS is an anti-inflammatory diet. This Mediterranean style of eating helps balance blood sugars and decreases inflammation. This style leads to less insulin resistance. Check out the right fertility diet for specific details. But in general, focus on:
- Eat more whole foods or real food. Cut our processed or refined foods.
- Eat for nourishment. Eat balanced meals that are healthy for your specific body. Practice mindful eating and not rush your eating.
- 1/2 the plate should be colorful nutrient-dense vegetables.
- Pair a protein and fat with your carbohydrates. Make sure to always pair your carbs with healthy fats and protein.
Step 2: Decrease Inflammation
Mind-body interventions have been shown to:
❤️️Enhance self-compassion and quality of life among women undergoing IVF.
❤️️Reduce anxiety and depression prior to IVF treatment.
❤️️Decrease feelings of shame, defeat, and distress among women struggling with infertility.
Excercise that works for your body
Adequate sleep: 7 to 9 hours nightly
Stress management techniques like yoga or mediation. For mindful yoga, check out my friend’s YT channel.
Practice Gratitude: Cultivating gratitude has been shown to rewire our brain chemistry. You may be surprised to know that women with higher levels of gratitude have been shown to have lower levels of fertility-related stress. Write thank-you notes. Draft a note to someone thanking them for anything at all – it doesn’t need to be on a fancy card or stationary, computer paper will do just fine. Keep a gratitude journal. Write out 3 things you are grateful for at the start or end of your day… just make sure to write them out. Give a gift to a friend. Once a week, select a friend and surprise them with a gift with gratitude for their friendship. The smaller and more thoughtful the gift the better
Step 3: Add Fertility Supplements
Women can obtain many vitamins and minerals found in infertility supplements in food. Getting your nutrients through food is the preferred method. But if you can not do so, consider adding supplements to your daily routine. Here is a list of the more common ones used.
Inositol is a natural sugar that is present in most cells in our body. It affects insulin production and is therefore used to balance blood sugars. Data has indicated it can improve ovarian reserve and response to gonadotropins used for IVF. A 2016 study of inositol in women with PCOS demonstrated it improved insulin resistance, ovarian egg quality, and response, and lowered BMI.
Studies have shown that up to 85% of women with PCOS are vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is necessary for fertility. It has been shown to improve egg quality and the production of a mature egg for ovulation. There are also studies indicating it Clomid (Clomiphene): Purpose, Dosage, Side Effects, Risks (verywellhealth.com).
You should get your vitamin D level checked by your doctor. If you need supplementation, then food sources of vitamin D include salmon, egg yolks, mushrooms, and fortified milk. Or vitamin D can be taken in supplement form, 400IU is the lowest dose.
Ready to gain Freedom From PCOS?
PCOS Symptoms can be difficult to manage, and for many, an actual PCOS diagnosis can take up to two years and as many as three different doctors.
When you experience Integrative Medicine at Well Woman MD, we’ll listen to your concerns and provide you with solutions to heal your body, not merely mask symptoms.
Whether your goal is hormone balance, becoming pregnant, or better health overall, your Well Woman MD team will help you manage PCOS in the way that’s best for you.
Learn more about what to expect with integrative women’s health.