Fertility, Homepage, Mamazine Moment, Pregnancy, The Journey, Wellness

No, Having PCOS Does Not Mean You Can’t Get Pregnant

Beth Rush | June 24, 2024

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common reproductive disorder among women that can hinder pregnancy. If you are ready to add a new member to your family but are worried you can’t, learning about this condition will help you understand what you can do to conceive successfully.

What Is PCOS?

PCOS is a condition where your ovaries produce higher-than-normal androgen levels, causing an imbalance in your reproductive hormones. Its common symptoms are irregular periods, missed menstrual cycles and unpredictable ovulation. 

Untreated PCOS can impede pregnancy. In the United States, as high as 5%-10% of women of childbearing age, or about 5 million, don’t know they have it until they get checked after several conception failures. Unfortunately, some cases of PCOS don’t manifest any symptoms or are too minor to become noticeable, leading many to assume they aren’t affected by it. 

Doctors diagnose PCOS through blood tests, physical exams and pelvic ultrasounds, determining your overall risk.

What Causes PCOS?

Despite the advancements in health technology, experts have yet to determine its exact source. Many believe a combination of genetics and environmental factors can contribute.

Some cases are passed down from parents to daughters. Meanwhile, others can develop due to a change or mutation of one or more genes. In an animal study, researchers found that PCOS may be caused by genetic or chemical changes occurring in the womb, triggering hormonal disruption.

Who Is at Risk?

Families with a history of PCOS or diabetes have a higher risk of inheriting the condition. Obesity can also be linked to PCOS. 

Women living with PCOS are resistant to insulin and have abnormal levels of androgens — a hormone present dominantly in men. These metabolic and hormonal issues can lead to weight gain and, eventually, obesity. Between 38% and 88% of women with PCOS experience weight abnormalities. PCOS can even be the underlying cause of weight problems.

Are People With PCOS Less Likely to Get Pregnant?

PCOS affects fertility and makes it difficult for women to conceive. However, it’s treatable with medications and other effective interventions. 

Your doctor may recommend antiestrogens or aromatase inhibitors to increase your chances of pregnancy. This class of drugs regulates hormone levels to support successful ovulation. With this method, as many as 85% of women can normally ovulate, and 40% of them can conceive. The most commonly prescribed pill for PCOS is clomiphene citrate. Doctors prescribe it for five days, from the second to the fifth day after your period begins. 

If medications don’t work, other options are hormone injections, ovarian drilling and in vitro fertilization (IVF). 

Injections work like medications to help stabilize the body’s hormone volumes, making pregnancy more attainable. Ovarian drilling is an invasive procedure where doctors stimulate the ovaries to release an egg each month, promoting regular menstrual cycles. IVF is the last option. It can be costly, but its effectiveness rate is often high. The egg is taken out of your body and fertilized by the sperm in a lab. 

You can get pregnant even with no period due to PCOS, as medications and alternatives can help fix hormone irregularities. 

What’s the Pregnancy Rate for Those With PCOS?

People with PCOS are less likely to get pregnant because of their reproductive anomaly, but conceiving is entirely possible with interventions. The success rates greatly vary depending on many factors, such as lifestyle, how your body responds to medications and your current health situation. 

In a review of 61 women, those who took clomiphene citrate and letrozole increased their pregnancy rate by 32% and 41.7%, respectively. While the study requires a bigger sample size to establish conclusive evidence, researchers determined the medications’ efficacy in raising the possibility of ovulation and pregnancy for those with the condition. 

How Long Does It Take to Get Pregnant With PCOS?

Some instances of PCOS don’t manifest any symptoms, so ovulation and periods can be normal. In this situation, it’s possible to get pregnant within a year or even less as long as you don’t have other infertility risk factors. If you lead a poor lifestyle, smoke frequently, have chronic conditions or are obese, conceiving may take longer and require the help of a fertility specialist. 

Tips to Get Pregnant Fast With PCOS

You can manage your reproductive health and increase the possibility of quick pregnancy with these tips.

1. Eat Foods That Promote Period

Papaya is loaded with vitamin C and carotenoids that induce periods. It’s touted for its anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and antioxidant benefits, making it ideal for a healthy PCOS diet. Citrus fruits, raspberries and beetroot are other alternatives to consider. 

2. Increase Movement

Hormone levels fluctuate during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, aging and menopause. Exercising for at least 30 minutes daily is the most natural method to regulate their volume and boost reproductive health.

3. Get Adequate Sleep

Sufficient rest is critical to overall health. Getting enough slumber can reduce cortisol levels, which may influence other hormones. 

4. Avoid Alcohol and Smoking

Poor lifestyle habits affect your pregnancy possibilities. Give them a permanent pass and change your lifestyle for the better — one that will support your future baby. 

Pregnancy Is Possible With PCOS

The chances of getting pregnant with PCOS aren’t nil. Anyone can conceive, give birth normally and become a mother if they follow their doctor’s advice and live a positive lifestyle. Prioritize foods that promote periods, get enough sleep, engage in physical activities and give up smoking and alcohol. All of these efforts can promote better reproductive health and make conception easier.

Share the Love