How does PCOS affect Fertility?

Do you skip your periods often or Do you face absence of periods? Do you notice sudden weight gain or an increase in facial hair growth? Have you noticed a significant increase in hair loss and worsening acne? These are a few of the signs of Polycystic ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). A study found that 12–14% of women of reproductive age are most likely to have PCOD or PCOS. Continue reading to know more about what PCOS causes, its symptoms and how PCOS affects pregnancy and some tips to manage it in order to boost your chances of conception.

Also, Check: 7 Foods that help in female fertility

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What is PCOS?

The term “PCOS” refers to a prevalent hormonal condition in which there is an imbalance in female sex hormones. An abnormally high level of androgens is produced by a woman’s ovaries and adrenal glands in PCOS. Ovulation is impacted by the hormonal imbalance brought on by PCOS. High concentrations of these hormones prevent ovarian follicle growth and egg release during ovulation. Neither ovulation nor pregnancy can take place in the absence of a developed egg.  As a result, cysts—fluid-filled sacs—can form inside the ovaries. It’s linked to acne, abnormal hair growth on the face or body, and insulin resistance. This makes it very challenging to get pregnant. 

Also, Check: Foods to improve female egg quality

Causes of PCOS:
  • Genetic factors: You have a very high probability of getting PCOS if your mother, sister, or aunt had.
  • High level of testosterone: Women who have high testosterone levels may find it difficult to ovulate and acne, excessive hair growth are two side effects of high androgen levels
  • High Insulin: Excess insulin raises testosterone production, which contributes to some PCOS symptoms like hirsutism (excessive hair growth in the face, chest and back in a male-like pattern) and ultimately results in Insulin resistance
  • Obesity/ Overweight – High level of insulin leads to weight gain which leads to fertility-related issues

Also, Check: Foods that help for hormonal hairfall

Symptoms:
  • Irregular periods (oligomenorrhea)
  • Absence of periods (amenorrhea)
  • Abnormal hair growth on the face, chest, or back
  • Oily skin/ severe acne
  • Weight gain or difficulty in losing weight
  • Thinning hair on the scalp
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Increase in the size of the ovaries
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Increased skin tags
  • Dark skin patches, particularly on the neck, groin, or underneath the breasts

Also, Check: PCOS and Gut health – how it is connected

How does PCOS affect fertility?

The key factor in infertility in women with PCOS is typically ovulation issues. A rise in testosterone production or immaturity of follicles on the ovaries may prevent ovulation. Even if ovulation takes place, a hormonal imbalance may prevent the uterine lining from appropriately developing so that the mature egg can be implanted. Women with PCOS may experience irregular periods and ovulation. Having unpredictable menstrual cycles might also make it challenging to get pregnant.

Also, Check: Female infertility – causes and home remedies

How does PCOS affect pregnancy?

Women with PCOS have a much higher risk of complications during pregnancy. The following are some complications that can arise during pregnancy if PCOS is prevalent:

  • Gestational diabetes
  • Premature delivery
  • High blood pressure during pregnancy
  • Cesarean section (c-section)
  • Baby being heavy (macrosomia)
  • High risk of the baby being in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) 

Also, Check: 9 effective foods for excessive bleeding

Other Complications related to PCOS

  • Metabolic Syndromes – High cholesterol levels, High blood pressure, Heart disease, Diabetes
  • Effect on mental Health – Depression and anxiety, Poor body self-image
  • Weight gain
  • Sleep apnea
  • Endometrial cancer 

Foods that help to manage PCOS

1. Nuts

Nuts of various types have been proven to bring nutritional benefits to your fertility diet. They include crucial fertility-boosting elements such as Omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, vitamin E, and magnesium, in addition to plant-based proteins.

A. Almonds:

Almonds are a tasty way to achieve your nutritional requirements. It is high in antioxidants, help protect against free radical damage and oxidative stress, which are precursors to inflammation and fertility issues in both men and women.

B. Cashews:

These kidney-shaped nuts are a great source of magnesium and selenium. Cashews are heart-healthy snack since they are high in unsaturated fat!

Studies have linked consumption of cashews to better magnesium absorption and a higher chance of becoming pregnant. Five grammes of protein, vitamin C, and folate are all found in one serving of around 18 cashews. It is also crucial for avoiding neural tube birth abnormalities during pregnancy.

C. Hazelnuts:

They are a good source of selenium, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and vitamin E, just like many other nuts. Nutrients in nuts have been shown to help regulate hormones by stabilising blood sugar levels, which is a crucial component of healthy fertility.

D. Peanuts:

Nutrient-dense peanuts are the ideal fertility food (when consumed in moderation, of course). They contain a high amount of protein, folates, vitamin E, and a trace amount of fibre. Peanuts include folate, a nutrient that is hard to get from food sources yet is necessary for the female reproductive system. For this reason, women in particular benefit from eating peanuts. In addition, they contain biotin, an essential mineral for pregnant women. 

Also check: Benefits of Vitamin C

2. Seeds:

Omega-3, vitamin E, magnesium, and other important elements can all be found in abundance in seeds. Pumpkin and flax seeds can help naturally boost estrogen levels while also providing fibre to support healthy estrogen metabolism. It’s an excellent approach to achieving estrogen dominance while balancing estrogen levels.

Sunflower and sesame seeds include lignans and important fatty acids, which aid progesterone and hormone production for the menstrual cycle. 

3. Ashoka: 

Since ancient times, the characteristics of this herb have been used to improve women’s reproductive health. It is known to strengthen the uterus and increase ovarian activity. It can also be used to treat infertility and uterine disorders like endometriosis in some situations. All of this is due to its balancing effects on the hypothalamus.

This herb’s herbal mixture is highly effective in treating heavy menstrual cycles, severe uterine bleeding, hormonal imbalance, uterine cyst, uterine polyps, and menopausal osteoporosis.

4. Shatavari: 

Shatavari, a well-known Ayurvedic plant, is known to promote fertility in both men and women, improve desire, and hence increase the chances of pregnancy. It is believed to aid in ovulation and to correct any hormonal imbalances. Also, tones and nourishes the female reproductive organs. It aids in the synthesis of a hormone that aids in the improvement of ovulation in women.

5. Lodhara: 

Lodhra is a traditional remedy used by Ayurvedic practitioners to treat female reproductive problems. This herb is beneficial for females suffering from PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) since it enhances female hormone levels while decreasing male hormone levels in the female body. It works as a hormone regulator to restore hormonal balance. It also reduces ovarian cell malfunction in PCOS and increases fertility.

Also check: Tips and remedies for PCOS

6. Ginger: 

Ginger contains many vitamins and nutrients that are necessary when trying to conceive, it is a fantastic way to add some ginger spice to your fertility diet. It provides a variety of critical nutrients and vitamins, including vitamin C, B5 and B6, as well as iron, potassium, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Ginger is also known to benefit women with uterine fibroids because it stimulates circulation in the body, supporting a balanced inflammation response and regular detoxification. It also promotes healthy digestion, which is critical for inflammatory diseases like PCOS which in turn affects pregnancy. Ginger may increase the maturity of ovarian follicles during the process of folliculogenesis, which may increase female fertility.

7. Aloe vera:

Aloe vera is a great remedy for the female reproductive system. It is incredibly hydrating and provides extra lubricant to the body, allowing it to remove accumulated chemicals and toxins and clear the digestive tract, which is vital if you have PCOS or hormonal imbalance in the body. It aids in uterine rejuvenation. 

Tips to manage PCOS

A healthy diet rich in nutrients along with some tips helps to improve fertility in case of PCOS. The following are some tips to manage and improve the symptoms of PCOS and increase the chance of pregnancy. 

1. Maintaining Healthy Routine

“A healthy body leads to a healthy mind”. Keep in check your weight and maintain a healthy weight. Practice eating healthy and keeping yourself active physically by doing workouts regularly. It’s also beneficial to aim for 30 minutes or more of moderate activity three times per week.

2. Healthy Diet

Insulin sensitivity and fertility in PCOS women are claimed to be considerably enhanced by a low-calorie, low-carb diet that includes all important nutrients. Opting for low glycaemic index foods helps in improving insulin sensitivity. Consuming foods that are rich in all required nutrients like protein, iron, zinc, folic acid and Vitamins C and D. (Note: Avoid Junk foods, refined foods and refined sugar and high-fat foods.)

Also, Check: Foods to manage PCOS

3. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Weight management is really important as being too thin or being too fat can affect the fertility rate. Losing weight might boost ovulation in PCOS and pregnancy chances by balancing hormone production.

Also, Check: Natural ways to lose weight

4. Quit Smoking and Alcohol consumption

Alcohol can alter estrogen levels, which can harm the developing foetus and delay egg implantation. Two glasses a day are said to lower fertility by as much as 60%. Smoking can lead to greater damage to DNA levels leading to birth defects in babies.

5. Have a stress-free lifestyle

Do yoga and meditation to keep your mind and body calm and away from stress. Have an 8-hr good night’s sleep which is very much important for conception. Cortisol levels can rise as a result of stress, which could lead to an increase in insulin production. Infertility and an imbalance in female sex hormones might result from high insulin levels.

Also, Check: Vitamins and minerals to boost fertility


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