Women who have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) do not release an egg — that is, they do not ovulate — at normal intervals. During a normal menstrual cycle, ovulation occurs 14 days after a woman has her period. Women who have PCOS might not ovulate at all, which can make becoming pregnant difficult, since conception can’t happen without ovulation. Dealing with PCOS is frustrating, but you can take some steps to help ovulation occur. Explore the following four fertility tips for dealing with PCOS.
Stick to a Low-Carb Diet
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Losing weight is an important step in dealing with PCOS, as weight loss helps regulate hormones and promote ovulation. A low-carb diet is particularly effective for women who have PCOS, because it keeps blood glucose levels stable for a longer time.
The Atkins diet and Paleo diet are both low-carb diets you can try. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 95 percent of women who had PCOS and who also followed a low-carb or low-glycemic diet saw improved regularity of their menstrual cycles and weight loss.
Follow an Exercise Routine
Dieting is important for losing weight, but it is more effective when combined with exercise. Women who have PCOS have a harder time losing weight than other people do because of their insulin resistance and the higher levels of androgens in their bodies. However, aerobic exercise can help. If you’re trying to become pregnant and you have PCOS, then consider adding exercise to your routine each day — but don’t start any exercise program without your doctor’s approval.
Take Medication for Insulin Resistance
Work with medical professionals who specialize in fertility and PCOS. Before moving on to fertility medication, a doctor may prescribe medication to manage your insulin resistance. One of the first medications you may try is Metformin. Commonly prescribed to people who have diabetes, Metformin promotes stable blood sugar levels and helps increase your sensitivity to insulin, a hormone that influences several systems and processes in your body, including ovulation.
Try Fertility Medication
If diet and exercise alone do not help you become pregnant, a doctor can prescribe fertility medicine that promotes ovulation. Clomid is one of the most common fertility medications. Your doctor will trigger your menstrual cycle and then have you take Clomid at the beginning of your cycle to stimulate your ovaries and promote ovulation. You may be required to take a shot to help the release of the egg. If you do not become pregnant after a few cycles of Clomid, your doctor will most likely increase the dosage. Clomid has helped thousands of women who have PCOS become pregnant successfully.
However, Clomid is not the only fertility medication your doctor may prescribe. Eventually, you may need to have an intrauterine insemination (IUI) procedure or try in vitro fertilization (IVF). However, these procedures are costly and are thus usually reserved for women who have already tried Clomid and other fertility medications, as well as diet and exercise interventions.
If you have PCOS, don’t lose hope that you’ll have a child. With the aid of a doctor, pregnancy might be possible for you. If you have PCOS, take steps to improve your health as you work with your doctor.