Ensuring healthy fertility in women suffering from PCOD/PCOS

Ensuring healthy fertility in women suffering from PCOD/PCOS

With hectic schedules, dependence on junk food and no time for exercise a majority of the population has increasingly started leading a sedentary lifestyle. Consequently more and more women have started reporting conditions like PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome) and PCOD (Poly Cystic Ovarian Disorder) that are majorly driven by an unhealthy lifestyle.

What causes PCOD and PCOS?

It is a hormonal condition that can affect women between the age of 18- 35 years. The key cause for this condition is the presence of high level of male hormones which prevent the ovaries from producing hormones and making eggs normally. The excess production of male hormone can be due to Insulin resistance.

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas which helps body cells in consuming sugar from foods and thus provides energy. When the cells in the body are not able to use insulin properly Insulin resistance happens. Because of this resistance pancreas have to make more insulin to compensate and production of this extra insulin triggers the ovaries to produce more male hormones. Insulin resistance can be due to lack of physical activity and excess body weight in women.

PCOS/PCOD and Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a common disorder and is prevalent in some women suffering from PCOS/PCOD. It is closely linked with insulin resistance, obesity and women who lead a sedentary life. It increases with age and develops the risk of having chronic diseases like diabetes and heart related problems. The only measure to prevent this is to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

Impact of PCOS/PCOD on Pregnancy

In PCOD/PCOS conceiving a child can be a challenge due an abnormal hormonal activity. For conception, a proper environment is required for the infusion of ovum and sperm. This environment is regulated by a normal hormonal activity which is a challenge in disease. If a women, who is planning to have children, is unable to conceive despite having unprotected sex for over 6 months, she must consult a doctor.

Symptoms of PCOS

The Symptoms of PCOS may include:

  • Irregular periods or very light periods
  • Excess body hair on chest, abdomen and back
  • Weight gain especially around belly
  • Acne or oily skin
  • Male-pattern baldness or thinning hair
  • Infertility
  • Small pieces of excess skin on the neck or armpits( skin tags)
  • Dark or thick skin patches on the back of the neck, on the armpits and under the breasts

Diagnosis of PCOS

After knowing the medical history and taking a note of ongoing symptoms, your doctor may ask for a physical examination which includes the pelvic examination. This examination helps in checking the health of reproductive organs both inside and outside of the body.

Some other tests which can also be administered are:

• Ultrasound of pelvis
• Blood tests, hormone, fat test

Tips to Boost Fertility

  • PCOS/PCOD is a serious condition to be taken into account, as it can be managed effectively with the consumption of right diet and proper exercise.
  • Maintaining a balanced diet which should include more fibers in it is preferred.
  • Avoiding junk food, sugary drinks as it can lead to obesity.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight according to Body Mass Index (BMI), as it can improve hormonal activity and ovulation.
  • Adopting different techniques or forms of exercises for reducing weight rapidly.
  • Keeping Stress at bay.
  • Taking medications for Metabolic Syndrome and PCOS/PCOD as prescribed by the doctor.
  • Regular consultation with the doctor.

To summarize, PCOS and PCOD are very common hormonal problems in women. With significant lifestyle changes and regular checkups, it can be controlled and fertility related problems can be treated better in women.

Dr Sushma Sinha

Dr Sushma Sinha, Senior Consultant Obstetrics and Gynecology, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi
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