PCOS symptoms can show up in so many ways. Although there are a range of symptoms, not every woman will show every symptom. Some women may only struggle with irregular periods and weight gain while some can have acne, hirsutism (excess facial/body hair) and scalp hair loss.
Every woman will be individual in her experience, so your treatment needs to be personalised too.
Apart from struggling with physical and mental symptoms of PCOS, many women with PCOS also worry that they won’t be able to conceive, but we are here to tell you that having PCOS does not reduce your chances of starting a family. PCOS does NOT make you infertile, but it can reduce your fertility and make it difficult for you to get and stay pregnant.
Irregular or no ovulation
The main reason for problems with fertility is irregular or no ovulation. In PCOS, the ovaries produce higher than normal levels of androgens (male hormones), which causes hormonal imbalance. As a result, many fluid-filled sacs called follicles do not mature and hence do not release an egg. Like this many small follicles are developed on the ovary that fail to mature, which appear as cyst on the ovaries.These follicles are the “cysts” you see on your ultrasound scan, though this term is inaccurate.
Since ovulation does not occur, there is no egg released for fertilisation. Also the lining of the uterus (called the endometrium) does not uniformly shed and regrow as in a normal menstrual cycle. Instead, the endometrial lining keeps getting thicker. However, in a premenopausal woman, there is no cutoff for how thick the lining should be.
Declining egg reserve
When it comes to a woman’s fertility, the quality and quantity of eggs matter. The good news is, women with PCOS produce a high number of healthy eggs. But, as with all women, with age comes a decrease in egg quality and quantity. The age-related decline in fertility starts around the age of 35, and some studies suggest that the decline can occur at a faster rate in women with PCOS. Even though women with PCOS may have a higher number of eggs to start, they are not immune to the age-related decline in fertility.
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Treatment for reduced fertility
In fact, most doctors suggest that if you are under the age of 35 and are still not pregnant after one year of trying. You should seek medical treatment. If you are over 35, that number drops to six months. This is because age-related risk of infertility starts at around the age of 35. So, Therefore, it is advised to start family planning early.
Interestingly, as women age, PCOS evolves too. So, If left untreated, or poorly managed, it can impact your quality of life. Which makes timely diagnosis, screening for complications, and personalised treatment for PCOS symptoms. An important part of your treatment journey.
Eating a balanced and nutritious diet, keeping yourself active, managing your stress and sleeping well can help regularise periods. And ovulation, help with weight loss and improve insulin resistance. Therefore, All of this can ultimately increase your chances of conceiving with PCOS.
Like any other condition, the earlier you get started on your treatment, the better are the outcomes. So if you are planning on getting pregnant in the near future or want to explore your chances, the first thing to do is to start a conversation with your doctor.