PCOS and Fertility: What is it and What Helps?
You are not alone. PCOS and fertility issues affect about 5-10% of women in the United States today. It is a multi-symptom disease that can cause many changes in women. Continue reading to learn more about PCOS and Fertility, and to take a look at some herbs that can help you overcome your symptoms.
What Is PCOS?
PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. This is a hormone disorder common among women who are old enough to get pregnant. Women with PCOS may not have periods or may not have periods very often. They can also have longer, heavier periods.
Often, these women have excess male hormone (androgen) levels. The ovaries may develop numerous small collections of fluid (follicles) and fail to regularly release eggs.
What causes it?
The exact cause of PCOS isn’t known. Factors that might play a role include:
- Extra insulin.
- Insulin is the hormone produced in the pancreas that allows cells to use sugar. Sugar is the body’s primary energy supply. If cells become resistant to insulin, blood sugar levels can rise and the body will produce more insulin. Extra insulin might increase androgen production, causing difficulty with ovulation.
- Low-grade inflammation.
- This term is used to describe white blood cells’ production of substances to fight infection. Women with PCOS have a type of low-grade inflammation that stimulates their ovaries to produce androgens, which can lead to heart and blood vessel problems.
- Sometimes certain genes passed on from parents might be linked to PCOS.
- Extra androgens
- If the ovaries produce abnormally high levels of androgen, this can cause excess body hair and acne.
What are the signs/symptoms?
Signs and symptoms of PCOS vary. A diagnosis of PCOS is made when you experience at least two of these signs:
- Irregular periods.
- Infrequent, irregular or longer than normal menstrual cycles are the most common sign of PCOS. Women with PCOS might have fewer than nine periods a year, more than 35 days between periods, or abnormally heavy periods.
- Excess androgen.
- Higher levels of male hormone can result in physical symptoms, such as excess facial and body hair (hirsutism), and occasionally severe acne and male-pattern baldness.
- Polycystic ovaries.
- Your ovaries might be enlarged and contain follicles that surround the eggs. As a result, the ovaries might fail to function regularly.
Why Does PCOS Cause Infertility?
According to an article in Medical News Today, PCOS can affect fertility in different ways. Ovulation problems are usually the main cause of infertility. Ovulation may not occur due to an increase in testosterone production or because follicles do not mature.
Even if ovulation occurs, there could be an imbalance in hormones. This may prevent the lining of the uterus from developing to allow for implantation.
Due to unbalanced hormones, ovulation and menstruation can be irregular. Unpredictable menstrual cycles can make it difficult to get pregnant.
What Can I do to Treat it?
For women who are overweight, losing weight is one way to increase fertility. Losing weight could improve hormone issues, thus helping ovulation.
In some cases, losing weight may be enough to get your body working again. According to the National Institute of Health, even a 5 percent weight loss may help.
Managing stress can also help a lot with fertility. Stress increases cortisol (the stress hormone), which can increase insulin. More insulin can lead to an imbalance in female sex hormones, therefore, infertility.
A low glycemic diet may help with symptoms and improve your PCOS and fertility. A low glycemic diet involves eating fewer foods that cause a spike in blood sugar levels, because high blood sugar levels increase insulin…(which can cause hormone imbalances…I sound like a broken record!).
A low glycemic diet may make blood sugar levels more stable. This lowers insulin levels and may decrease testosterone production.
Increasing the amount of fiber in your diet can also help regulate blood glucose levels. This can be done by increasing the amount of whole grains you consume. Switch out the refined sugars and refined grains in your diet.
Fiber will help slow the absorption of carbohydrates, which decreases the spikes in blood glucose (and insulin) levels in your body.
Also, when you eat carbs, try to eat a small amount of protein with them. For instance, have some pretzels with a small handful of almonds. Eating foods together is one way we combat a rise in blood glucose and insulin.
Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables (they have lots of fiber!). Reduce the amount of sodium, sugar, and fast food you eat. Try eliminating refined and processed foods, added sugars and sugary drinks.
Switching to a well-balanced diet can really help your body heal itself.
Will I be Able to Get Pregnant?
All-in-all, if you keep your blood glucose levels stable, find healthy ways to reduce stress (check out these tips HERE), and keep yourself at a healthy weight, you should be able to help your PCOS and fertility issues so you can get pregnant.
Try Bioterra’s Female Fertility supplement to give you a boost in the right direction!