Given the stressful times we live in, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) has become a common health issue. The ovaries are impacted as a result of a hormonal imbalance. Ovaries produce and release an egg every month as part of a normal menstrual cycle. In the case of PCOS, the egg may not develop properly or may not be released during ovulation as it should be.
As we observe PCOS Awareness Month in September, Dr Aindri Sanyal, a fertility consultant at Nova IVF Fertility, Kolkata, says PCOS can have a variety of effects on fertility.
“In most cases, ovulation problems cause infertility. Ovulation may not occur as a result of an increase in testosterone production or because ovarian follicles fail to mature. Even if ovulation occurs, a hormonal imbalance may prevent the uterine lining from properly developing and allowing the mature egg to implant. Ovulation and menstruation can be irregular. Irregular menstrual cycles can also cause complications during pregnancy,” the doctor explains.
Tips on how you can improve fertility
1. Medications may be needed
Fertility drugs are medications that regulate or stimulate ovulation. Women who are infertile due to ovulation problems can go for fertility medications. Fertility drugs help to enhance ovulation in the same way as natural hormones like follicle-stimulating hormones and luteinizing hormones. Women who ovulate also use these drugs when trying to stimulate better or extra eggs.
2. Healthy weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is important as it increases the chance of getting pregnant and reduces the risk involved during pregnancy. The ideal BMI for conceiving is between 18.5 and 24.9. If you have a high BMI, lowering it before trying for a baby will help.
It is believed that a BMI of 35 or above at the start of your pregnancy can risk pre-eclampsia which is a dangerous condition for both mother and baby. Some of the issues related to high BMI are blood clots, long labor, diabetes during pregnancy, and an emergency caesarean delivery.
High BMI can also have risks for babies — miscarriage, premature birth, diabetes and obesity in the future.
Stress can have a negative impact on the woman trying to conceive. Thus, meditation, listening to songs, doing yoga, going for a walk, exercising, and playing with pets are some of the ways to de-stress and boost fertility.
4. Role of assisted reproductive technologies to manage PCOS
The infertility specialist faces a significant challenge in treating patients with polycystic ovary syndrome using assisted reproductive techniques. Patients with PCOS have a variety of issues, such as excessive body weight and hyperinsulinemia, which complicates management. Patients should be thoroughly evaluated for endometrial neoplasia, hyperinsulinemia, and other general health issues after going through IVF treatment. Overstimulation and severe hyperstimulation are risks of ovarian stimulation for IVF, which should be avoidable in most cases with preventive measures.
5. Consumption of balanced diet
A balanced diet is essential. It is recommended to eat properly and avoid junk foods. Consume food rich in iron and zinc, high fiber foods like bread, brown rice, seeds, low carbohydrates, and dairy food high in fat. Consume more fruits and vegetables, such as lentils and beans. Avoid sugary foods and beverages such as sweets, cookies, and fizzy drinks. Avoid saturated fats found in foods like pastry, biscuits, pies, and cakes, and consume more unsaturated fats such as avocados, nuts, oily fish, and seeds.