Irregular Periods and Getting Pregnant
Getting Pregnant When You Have PCOS
If you have PCOS and you're overweight, losing weight is one way to improve your chances of pregnancy. Your doctor also might prescribe medication to lower your insulin levels, since elevated insulin levels -- caused by your body's inability to recognize insulin -- has been found to be a common problem among many women with PCOS. Chronically elevated insulin levels can also lead to diabetes. Women with PCOS may be at higher risk for developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and endometrial cancer, especially if PCOS is untreated.
PCOS can't be cured, but there are treatments available to treat the symptoms of PCOS and the infertility associated with this condition. By stimulating ovulation, especially in women trying to conceive, and treating insulin resistance, regular ovulation and periods often are restored.
A procedure known as in vitro fertilization, or IVF, is another potential treatment for women with PCOS.
Stress and Fertility
For couples struggling with infertility, it's a particularly cruel fact: Not only can infertility cause a lot of stress, but stress can affect fertility. It's known to contribute to problems with ovulation. For many people, the longer you go without conceiving, the more stress you feel. Fears about infertility may also lead to tension with your partner, and that can reduce your chances of pregnancy even further. After all, it's hard to have sex if one of you sleeps on the couch.
While it's a fact that coping with infertility is stressful, that doesn't mean you have to give into it. If your doctor can't find a medical cause for your ovulation problems, consider finding support groups or a therapist who can help you learn better ways to cope with the anxieties that come with infertility.
The American Society of Reproductive Medicine offers these tips for reducing stress:
- Keep the lines of communication open with your partner.
- Get emotional support. A couples' counselor, support groups, or books can help you cope.
- Try out some stress-reduction techniques such as meditation or yoga.
- Cut down on caffeine and other stimulants.
- Exercise regularly to release your physical and emotional tension.
- Agree on a medical treatment plan, including financial limits, with your partner.
- Learn as much as you can about the cause of your infertility and your treatment options.