Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a set of symptoms that arises due to elevated male hormone levels in women.
Among signs pointing to PCOS are:
1) Irregular periods (mention this to your doctor if it happens more than twice within one year),
2) Higher androgen levels (detectable on a blood test) and
3) Polycystic ovaries (detectable by ultrasound).
Most women with PCOS grow cysts of varying sizes on their ovaries. Cysts are tricky because they take up various hormones from the circulation (they especially thrive on gestagens and estrogens), which leads to hormone imbalance.
PCOS is one of the most common hormonal disorders in women and it is one of the leading causes of subfertility and poor egg quality.
Symptoms can worsen with extra weight and every woman with PCOS may be affected differently.
Recent studies have found that overweight and obese women with PCOS may have a greater chance of becoming pregnant if they lose weight before beginning fertility treatment. While it is a known fact that fertility declines with age, studies actually supportdelaying fertility treatment in obese women with PCOS until they lose weight.
In this study here, 187 obese and overweight women with PCOS were given ovulation-inducing medications while the other group of 142 women began a weight loss program prior to IVF. The weight-loss program consisted of lower caloric intake, exercise, and anti-obesity medication.
Women in the first group had an ovulation rate of 44.7 percent and a live birth rate of 10.2 percent, while the women from the weight-loss group had a 62 percent ovulation rate and a 25 percent live birth rate following ovarian stimulation. This is a huge difference in terms of pregnancy odds for women with PCOS and strongly favors weight loss prior to conception.
Along with reduced fertility, PCOS symptoms may include obesity, an irregular menstrual cycleand, due to higher androgen level, excessive facial and body hair.
However, there are many things that women can and should do in months before the conception to improve the quality of their eggs: quit smoking, bring their BMI to a recommended level, eat organic, nutritious, and fresh food—all this in addition to living a generally healthy, stress-reduced, and fertility-supporting lifestyle.
Important: DHEA may not be for you if you have PCOS and you should find an alternative method to maximize egg quality. There are supplements besides DHEA that work well for women with PCOS (DHEA may have side effects if taken on top of the high testosterone induced by PCOS).
If you need individualized advice or would like me to have a look at the list of supplements you’re taking, then you can contact me here. See you soon!
Folic acid and prenatal supplements: