Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common causes of fertility problems in the developed world. The NHS estimates that as many as one in five women in the UK could be affected – whether you yourself have the condition it’s well worth taking some time to understand how it affects people.
One thing that is widely understood is that PCOS causes fertility problems. If you know why and how you can take more effective steps to counteract the effects and improve your chances of pregnancy.
PCOS, ovulation and fertility are all linked. It’s a hormonal issue that interferes with the equally hormonal process by which your body prepares and then releases a fertile egg each cycle.
Under normal circumstances, your cycle is broken into two main phases: the follicular phase and the luteal phase. In the follicular phase (which starts the same day as your period), your ovaries mature five to seven eggs in ‘follicles’ – small, fluid-filled sacs. After approximately two weeks a surge of Luteinising Hormone prompts the most healthy, mature egg to be released.
This is followed by the luteal phase: when your body thickens the endometrial lining that so that if its fertilised, the egg can anchor it in and begin to develop into an embryo. If it’s not fertilised, it, along with that new lining is ejected from the body in your period and the cycle restarts.
When you have PCOS this usual state of affairs is disrupted. The hormone imbalances that lead to PCOS mean that hormonal signal to ovulate doesn’t always get through. This leads to follicles lingering in the ovaries, causing discomfort and swelling. These are the many (poly) cysts from the name of the disease.
This is always why PCOS makes it difficult to conceive. With your ovulatory hormones suppressed and interfered with by the hormone imbalances of PCOS then your ovulation may be skipped. If you don’t ovulate, you don’t have an opportunity to conceive in that cycle. Even if you do ovulate, you don’t have a regular cycle: it’s harder to identify when you ovulate and therefore when you will be fertile.
One of the most important things you can do when you have PCOS is to track and identify your ovulation: if they’re rarer and less regular, then you need ensure you are ready for each one and can capitalise on it.
One of the most reliable ways to monitor ovulation with PCOS is to monitor your progesterone levels. This is not clouded by the hormone disturbance of PCOS and gives you an accurate way to predict when you’re going to ovulate and therefore when you will be fertile!
Thanks for stopping by today, I hope you have found this post useful in some way. You may like this post on foods to prepare your body for pregnancy.