Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a common hormonal disorder which affects around one in 10 women of reproductive age. Women with this condition may have certain symptoms, including irregular or absent periods, trouble with weight, acne, and hirsutism. It is also possible to have PCOS and not know it until you try to get pregnant, and can’t.
The earlier you get a diagnosis, the easier it may be for you to get pregnant. Early diagnosis may also make medical interventions more effective, should you need them.
If you or someone you love has PCOS, the answers to these questions may be useful:
Does my weight really impact my PCOS symptoms or is the weight a symptom?
For many PCOers, the answer to this is, both. Plenty of underweight and normal weight women have PCOS, but many others really struggle with weight gain. Hormonal Imbalances can make it hard to maintain a healthy weight, and PCOS is by definition a hormonal imbalance. To make the chicken and the egg even more complicated - weight gain can also exacerbate hormonal imbalance. While we don’t have all the answers from science just yet, we do when it comes to fertility, in particular, extremes in body weight – high AND low – can impact your ability to ovulate and may also increase risks to the mother and fetus during pregnancy and delivery.
Living at a healthy weight can help normalize your hormones and often regulates your cycle. There is not a magic body mass index number though and we recognize how frustrating that can be. Fertility specialists often suggest to start with losing 5 - 10% of body mass to jumpstart ovulation. If you are underweight, talk to your doctor about how much you should gain.
I know I have PCOS – How will the Prenatal DNA Report be able to help me?
The FertilityAnswers Prenatal DNA Report helps you understand which part of PCOS is genetic and which part is lifestyle related. The report gives back the feeling of agency so critical in your path to parenthood, when much of it feels like it’s out of your control. We provide clarity about what you can impact at home through both diet and lifestyle changes, and which part you can’t impact. In some cases, the genetics are so strong, it might make sense to beeline straight to a fertility specialist for clinical intervention. In other cases, the solutions we recommend might be enough to jumpstart hormone balancing, ovulation and a positive pregnancy test!
What are some safe and healthy ways to lose weight with PCOS?
Our experts often advise losing 10-15% of your total weight to jumpstart regular cycles and ovulate without medication. Studies repeatedly show that fad diets do not work and are not sustainable. Most people who lose the initial weight end up gaining more weight than they needed to lose in the first place. We know it’s not always easy to get started or know what to do: safely.
Our scientific advisory committee approved a clinically validated weight management program through a virtual clinic so you are under physician supervision (but remotely). They have research specific to those with PCOS and / or insulin resistance (which is why our scientific committee selected it) and how their program restored hormonal balance, and even reversed insulin resistance! The clinic is accessible at rite4life.com.
Clomid did not work for me - what else can help me ovulate?
Clomiphene (CC, Clomid, Serophene) Clomiphene (CC) has been used to induce ovulation since the 1960's, but it does not work for everyone. Letrozole is another option which blocks the production of estrogen, thus allowing the pituitary gland to produce ovulation-inducing hormones: LH and FSH. Some physicians prescribe Metformin to reduce insulin production as a mechanism to reduce testosterone production. While it’s not an ovaulation-inducing medication, it is often used in conjunction with clomid or letrozole for PCOS patients with insulin resistance or excess testosterone production.
If you have been taking Clomid without additional ultrasound monitoring, our experts also recommend considering ultrasound monitoring to determine if you are responding to the medication.
This FAQ is not exhaustive and we understand that each case of PCOS is unique. If you have a more personalized question, please check out the FertiliryAnswers App.