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Is your Infertility caused by PCOS?

by Dalia Garalyte

Did you know that PCOS, or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, is a very common hormonal disorder that affects an estimated 10-25% of all women of reproductive age? And it is the major cause of infertility affecting approximately 25% of infertile women? Surprisingly, many of those who have it aren't even aware of their condition.

PCOS is a multifaceted and complex syndrome with varying underlying causes that are influenced by genetic makeup together with lifestyle factors. PCOS can manifest in a variety of ways and has far-reaching health implications beyond just reproductive health. So today, I will touch on the most common symptoms and risk factors associated with this complex condition, so let’s dive in.

The hormonal imbalances and inflammation associated with PCOS can lead to irregular ovulation or even the absence of ovulation, making conception difficult. It is considered a syndrome rather than a disease because it presents through a collection of signs and symptoms that can vary from person to person.

The implications of PCOS go beyond reproduction. This syndrome is linked to several health risks, including increased chances of endometrial hyperplasia, endometrial cancer, insulin resistance, type II diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease. The metabolic implications of PCOS cannot be overlooked, as insulin resistance is a main driver in a number health issues.

Infertility associated with PCOS is not solely due to hormonal changes or poor ovulation, the key factors besides insulin resistance are oxidative stress and inflammation. These although lead to recurrent miscarriages and complications during pregnancy, making it a multifaceted challenge for those affected.

Key features of PCOS include:

  • Irregular Menstrual Cycles: One of the hallmark signs of PCOS is irregular menstrual cycles. Women with PCOS may experience infrequent, prolonged, or absent periods due to hormonal imbalances that affect ovulation.

  • Hair loss or ‘male pattern’ thinning: due to elevated levels of androgens "male hormones" are characteristic’s of PCOS.

  • Excess facial or body hair: Hirsutism in women is also due to excess of male hormones like testosterone and DHEA.

  • Acne or frequent skin breakouts: Is also one of the features due to excess of male hormones like testosterone and DHEA.

  • Metabolic Disturbances: PCOS is often associated with insulin resistance, a condition in which the body's cells do not respond effectively to insulin, leading to elevated blood sugar levels. As well as abnormal cholesterol levels (high LDL or low HDL) often is present, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes and other metabolic issues.

  • Weight Gain: While not all individuals with PCOS are overweight, there is a correlation between PCOS and weight gain, particularly around the abdomen. Weight gain drives inflammation and oxidative stress which exacerbates hormonal imbalances and insulin resistance.

  • Polycystic Ovaries: On ultrasound imaging, the ovaries of individuals with PCOS may appear enlarged and contain multiple small follicles, which can give the appearance of a "string of pearls." but this is not present in all PCOS cases.

  • Exhaustion or lack of mental focus: Fatigue is a very common feature in women with PCOS which can be due to alterations in blood sugars.

  • Decreased sex drive: Low libido in PCOS is often experienced by many females, also due to hormonal imbalances.

  • Infertility and miscarriages: Many women with PCOS have irregular or absent periods which reduces their chance of conception. Women with PCOS have an increased risk of miscarriages.

If you suspect that you might have PCOS, it's crucial to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis considering the significant risk of long-term reproductive and metabolic health conditions.

Although PCOS can be a serious condition, it can be naturally supported with diet and lifestyle modifications such as:

  • maintaining a healthy weight

  • regular physical activity

  • a low-sugar healthy diet

These along with supplements play a significant role not only in managing the symptoms of PCOS but greatly improving the quality of life for those dealing with this complex syndrome.

If you would like personalized natural support with your PCOS, book a FREE 10-minute consult to see how we can help you.


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