Have you been trying to have a baby for a while now? Are none of your attempts yielding any results? It is time to consider the reason behind this problem and the most common cause for infertility problems in women is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS.
Dr Rishma Dillon Pai, a renowned gynaecologist says, ‘At least 30-35 per cent of the women suffer from PCOS. This is a genetic problem that can be influenced by diet and lifestyle.’ Let us find out more about this problem in detail:
What is PCOS?
A woman’s body secretes both male and female hormones. When the male hormones or androgen are secreted in excess, they form small fluid-like sacs in the ovaries which are known as cysts. These cysts enlarge in the ovaries and start interfering with the egg production and menstrual cycle. It’s a common problem faced by many overweight women as obesity affects the body’s hormonal levels and converts the female hormone oestrogen into the male hormone androgen. The excess androgen in turn affects the ovulation process and reduces the amount of eggs produced. Even a slight variation in oestrogen and progesterone levels can lead to complications. Other causes include the use of Intrauterine Devices (IUDS) or the inconsistent use of contraceptive pills (not taking it for 2-3 days).
Symptoms to look out for:
No medical condition develops overnight. PCOS is no exception. Here are some of the symptoms that you could look out for in order to get treated at the earliest:
Irregular menstrual cycle: Menstrual cycle within 25 to 35 days with three to five days of proper bleeding is considered as a normal cycle. Anything before or after this period is considered as irregular menstrual cycle.
Excessive hair growth: PCOS patients always have excessive hair growth because of the over-secretion of the male hormone
Increase in body weight
PCOS and complications
Besides creating problems in conceiving, the condition also causes many issues during pregnancy like hypertension and diabetes. In other cases, PCOS can lead to issues related to infertility and can also cause ovarian or uterine cancer as well.
The first thing you need to do is lose some weight if you want to get rid of PCOS. Enrol for a weight loss programme and get yourself in shape. Even a slight change in your lifestyle and following a healthy diet will do wonders. Eat the right kind of food. Eat lot of vegetables, fruits and protein-rich food. Have green vegetables for they contain a lot of folic acid in them. Consume vitamin C-rich food by eating plenty of fruits like orange, lemon, sweet lime, grape fruit, grapes and so on. Avoid alcohol and smoking as far as you can if you plan to conceive. (Read: Why women need folic acid during pregnancy)
If you have an irregular cycle or a problem while ovulating, then visit a good gynaecologist who if necessary can prescribe ovulation-inducing drugs. The drugs are normally a five-day course that starts on the second day of one’s period. After that, the doctor will do a follow-up to monitor the production of eggs. In severe cases of PCOS, the doctor may opt for a laparoscopic procedure. Sometimes, contraceptive pills and anti-diabetic drugs are also prescribed to deal with the condition, Dr Rishma adds. Alternative medicine systems like homeopathy have also come up with treatment options for the condition and one can explore those options.
Lastly, don’t worry if you’re diagnosed with the condition. With the advancements in the medical field, there are numerous ways to combat the problem. And remember, it’s always better to be fit before you try to conceive to avoid any complications arising during and after pregnancy.
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