PCOS & its Effects on Fertility & Childbirth
+ What is PCOS?
PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. It is a condition that affects the hormone levels of a woman. PCOS mostly affects women who are of childbearing age (15 to 45 years roughly). In PCOS, most women face the growth of multiple (poly) small cysts on their ovaries. These cysts are small fluid-filled sacs which are actually follicles containing immature eggs that never matured to the extent of ovulation. Another feature of PCOS is that it induces higher than normal amounts of male hormones in women that lead to women facing a host of effects like irregular periods, enhanced hair growth on the body, and sometimes even diabetic diseases.
Data suggests that about one in ten women who are of childbearing age is likely to be suffering from PCOS. The hormonal problems caused by PCOS also lead to an imbalance in metabolism, overall health, and even the appearance of individuals. PCOS many times leads to infertility and in other cases, it leads to complications with pregnancy. This article will walk you through everything that you need to know about PCOS and its relation to pregnancy/ childbirth.
The Types of PCOS are:
1. Insulin Resistance PCOS
This type of PCOS is the most commonly occurring one. The causes of it are mostly smoking, excessive sugar intake, trans fats, pollution, etc. In such cases the person suffering from PCOS develops high levels of insulin that somewhat start preventing the ovulation of eggs, subsequently triggering the ovaries to produce testosterone.
2. Pill Induced PCOS
This other type of PCOS is induced by the intake of birth control pills. When a woman takes birth control pills, the effect of the pills that suppress ovulation subsides after some time. But for some women, the ovulation does not resume even after long, and these are the cases of pill-induced PCOS.
3. Inflammatory PCOS
Due to factors like stress, environmental toxins, and gluten (which is an inflammatory dietary), inflammation can be caused. This inflammation can lead to hormonal imbalance and enhanced production of androgens. In such a case ovulation gets prevented and it can be said that an inflammatory PCOS has occurred.
4. Hidden PCOS
This form of PCOS is relatively simpler. It is caused by conditions like Thyroid diseases, iodine deficiency, or even a vegetarian diet. Vegetarian diets are deficient in Zinc which is a very important nutrient required by ovaries. Basically any such nutrient deficiency or hormonal imbalance that is pre-existing may lead to PCOS.
First we need to identify the symptoms to facilitate early identification of the problem so that the person affected can start thinking of PCOS control and PCOS solutions. The symptoms include-
1. Irregular Periods
2. Excessive or Unusual Hair Growth
3. Signs of Sudden Obesity Acne
All of the symptoms are associated with hormonal imbalances and excessive production of male hormones as previously discussed.
Common treatment methods employed are:
1. In case PCOS results in diabetic symptoms, such medicines are prescribed so as to mitigate diabetes.
2. For infertility treatments, hormones can be injected in medicinal doses to aid in achieving pregnancy.
3. Surgical methods like Cyst Aspiration can be used to remove the fluids from the ovary cysts. This process helps to relieve the pain and discomfort of the patients of PCOS.
4. Surgical or medicinal processes can be employed to regulate or mitigate excessive hair growth due to PCOS in women.
5. Home remedies for PCOS.
The most popular of these PCOS home remedies is having a proper and regular work out regime as that can help women in achieving a proper hormone balance. Researchers say that a proper diet can be said to be among the most effective PCOS home remedies as it can help to overcome certain nutrient deficiencies to combat and restore the hormonal imbalance in a better fashion.
The aims of such a diet should be to include anti-inflammatory foods, foods that are rich in iron, zinc, magnesium, etc. a lot of other such diet suggestions include whole foods, fibrous foods, and even supplements. The end goal is to have a properly balanced diet to help mitigate the symptoms and enrich body function.
The foremost fact here is that PCOS is one of the leading causes of infertility in women. It’s because of hormonal imbalances and period irregularities that conceiving becomes difficult. However, this infertility is treatable medically as mentioned above. Proper care and monitoring of ovulation cycles also help in achieving pregnancy. There are subsequent complications that arise for the mother and the child after conception.
- During pregnancy, Women having PCOS are more prone to certain risks and complications.
- Women with PCOS are about three times more prone to the possibility of a miscarriage.
- Women with PCOS might possibly get affected by gestational diabetes during their pregnancy. This condition might lead to a baby who has a larger size, low blood sugar, and breathing troubles. This creates the need for C- Section deliveries for pregnancies with PCOS.
- C- Section deliveries are in themselves a complex surgical process as they carry associated risks for the mother and the child.
- A lot of precautionary measures are available as PCOS solutions for pregnant women suffering from the condition. Proper care is all one needs to sail through pregnancy and mitigate the possible risks associated with PCOS. The expecting mother should be in constant touch with her doctor to monitor blood glucose levels of the body.
- Doctors many times recommend medical nutrition therapy too for a properly crafted diet that will help to balance the nutrients and regain optimal hormonal levels. Added vitamin doses can also be kept in mind for a healthy state of the mother. There are risks associated due to PCOS but it is possible to have a pregnancy and a baby as healthy as possible by taking proper care. Remember, it is possible to ensure the baby’s health and well being if the mother takes care of her own health and well being, both emotionally and physically.
- In cases of PCOS, pregnancies may lead to preterm births where the baby is delivered before 37 weeks.
- Preterm children are prone to health risks earlier or even later in life.
- High blood pressures might be noticed in pregnant women who are suffering from PCOS. If this is not treated adequately, the condition might develop into Preeclampsia.
- Preeclampsia is a risk associated with PCOS pregnancies where the blood pressure of the mother suddenly rises after around 20- 21 weeks of pregnancy. It affects the kidney’s liver and brain; and if this is left untreated then the condition might escalate to Eclampsia that can cause damage to the brain, subsequent seizures, or even death in some cases.