More people than you think are affected by PCOS. The NHS estimates that as many as one in five of women in the UK have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, though the true total could be much, much higher as the syndrome is not well understood or talked about, so many women could be undiagnosed.
Today we’re looking at PCOS, fertility and how the two interact to help you understand the issues involved.
One of the main things PCOS affects is your ovulation cycle. It’s driven by an imbalance of hormones: too much insulin causes your body to produce a similar excess of androgen. This is a male sex hormone – small amounts are important to keep your body healthy, but too much interferes with your reproductive cycle.
All that excess androgen means that when your body is slow to mature eggs – normally at beginning of your cycle, ten to twenty eggs are selected to be matured in your ovaries, with the healthiest dominating and being ejected into the fallopian tubes, while the other are harmlessly absorbed by the body. Too high a level of male sex hormone and the eggs are so to mature, delaying ovulation or they don’t mature at all. The eggs remain in the ovaries – the ‘cysts’ that give the syndrome it’s name.
Fewer Opportunities for Pregnancy
If your body doesn’t ovulate as often, you simply have fewer chances to get pregnant. You can only conceive when active sperm meet a fertile egg, and if you produce fewer fertile eggs, there are less chances for you to meet with success. If the condition causes you to ovulate less frequently and not according to a predictable schedule it makes it harder for you to know when you’re fertile.
If you’re not trying to conceive in the few days surrounding when you ovulate, then you stand less chance to succeed.
Boosting Your Chances
You can boost your chances of conceiving with PCOS by pinpointing when you ovulate. If you can identify that key point you can concentrate your efforts to get pregnant on the time when you know they could work, and redress the odds in your favour.
Your basal body temperature offers a way to predict your ovulation that isn’t affected by the hormonal disruption of PCOS. Measuring this low, minimum temperature will show changes as your cycle progresses, with a noticeable pattern that tells you when you’re due to ovulate. Using an app or specialised thermometer makes it easy to use this method to predict when you’re due to ovulate and give yourself a better chance to conceive!