By Alane Palmer, ND, CNC and Annah Gillette
Polycystic ovarian syndrome is one of the most common causes of female infertility, affecting as many as 5 million American women (or about one in 10 women of childbearing age). While this condition can make conceiving more challenging (and it raises the risk of certain health conditions if you do), women with PCOS deliver healthy babies every day. Here’s what you need to know to boost your odds of getting pregnant and have a healthy baby.
PCOS often appears to run in families. Researchers have noted that women with PCOS tend to have high levels of insulin (the hormone that regulates how your body breaks down sugar) because their bodies have a hard time using it. Elevated insulin levels, in turn, appear to increase androgen production.
While overweight women are at greater risk for PCOS and women with PCOS are at greater risk of becoming overweight, the jury is out on whether excess weight causes PCOS or vice versa. (Even so, if you are trying to conceive it’s a good idea to start eating healthy foods and exercising.)
Signs and symptoms of PCOS often develop around the time of the first menstrual period during puberty. Sometimes PCOS develops later, for example, in response to substantial weight gain.
Signs and symptoms of PCOS vary.
A diagnosis of PCOS may be made when you experience at least two of these signs:
Irregular periods. Infrequent, irregular or prolonged menstrual cycles are the most common symptom of PCOS. For example, you might have fewer than nine periods a year, more than 35 days between periods and abnormally heavy periods.
Excess androgen. Elevated levels of male hormones may result in physical signs, 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.
Here are 3 areas you can make changes in to improve fertility.
1. Nutrition- remove processed foods, increase whole produce and clean protein.
2. Lifestyle- reduce your stress, improve your sleep habits, and get moving!
3. Supplements to support hormone balance, blood sugar balance and liver support.
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Medical disclaimer: Our tests cannot be used to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. All test results are to be used as educational materials and as a guide to help support your overall health and wellness. Always discuss health concerns with your medical doctor.