Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a condition that affects a large number of women and many of them don’t even realize that they have it until they try to conceive. The good news is, you can definitely fall pregnant even with this condition. You may have to get a little help from your doctor or try for a little longer than other couples, but you can carry a healthy baby to full term.

What is polycystic ovarian syndrome?

This condition is nothing more than a change in the hormones that control your menstrual cycle. These include levels of progesterone, estrogen, LH and FSH. The levels of these hormones don’t fluctuate the way they do in a regular cycle, meaning you don’t ovulate or menstruate as often or as regularly as other women.

Why do you struggle to fall pregnant if you have polycystic ovarian syndrome?

The problem with this condition is that your hormone levels aren’t always optimal for your cycle to be normal and regular. These changes can be harmful to the follicles in your ovaries and prevent eggs from maturing.

In some cases, if an egg does mature, it isn’t released from the follicle properly. The follicle can hold onto the egg and form a hardened cyst over it. In both cases, you have no egg to fertilize, which means you can’t fall pregnant on that cycle.

However, with proper medical treatment, you can encourage your body to ovulate and happily fall pregnant. All you need to do is consult your gynecologist to find the best option for your body.

What are the symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome?

  • Lack of menstruation – Essentially your cycle doesn’t complete itself each time because your hormones don’t encourage the correct changes in your body. With no ovulation, there is no corpus luteum to produce progesterone, which thickens the lining of the endometrium. This then means that you don’t menstruate because there is nothing to break down.
  • Acne or pimples – The altered hormone levels in your body can lead to excessive oiliness on your skin, which can lead to acne or pimples.
  • A deeper voice – Many women with this condition have higher levels of testosterone in their systems. This can lead to a deeper, more masculine sound to your voice.
  • Excessive and thicker hair – The changes in your hormones can also have an impact on the hair that grows all over your body. Your pubic hair, leg hair, facial hair and armpit hair can become thicker and darker.

What are the tests to diagnose the condition?

If you experience two or more of the symptoms mentioned above, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor. They will run blood tests to check your hormone levels, specifically progesterone, estrogen, FSH and LH. The other test that should be done is an ultrasound scan of your ovaries. They will be looking for abnormalities in shape caused by hardened cysts.

What are the treatment options?

The usual course of treatment is to go on hormonal contraceptives. These prevent you from ovulating by maintaining levels of the hormones that control your menstrual cycle. This will give your ovaries a chance to heal and recover. In time, your doctor will recommend that you go off the contraceptives to see if your body will now ovulate normally and if your cycle will complete.

There are other hormonal medications that encourage or induce ovulation. These are prescribed if you want to fall pregnant while the first option mentioned is for those who would like to have a regular cycle with the hope of one day having babies.

In both cases, it’s essential that you talk to your gynecologist and have the proper tests run. They will then prescribe medicine to you and stay in contact to see if you are getting the desired results.

It’s important to remember that this is a medical condition and treatment can take a long time and plenty of patience to get to the end result. Routine check-ups are essential as your doctor can run tests to see how you are progressing. You can also assist your progress by leading a healthy lifestyle, exercising and eating right.

Readers’ questions:

What are the risks of falling pregnant with polycystic ovarian syndrome?

It’s important to know that you are at a slightly higher risk of developing conditions such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. You are also at risk of going into labor and giving birth early. However, all of these risks can be easily managed if you are aware of your condition and have regular check-ups with your gynecologist. They will know the risks associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome and know what to keep an eye out for.

Are there any natural ways to fall pregnant if you have polycystic ovarian syndrome?

If you don’t wish to use hormonal medications, there are a few natural options that you can try. Many have had success by drinking a tea made of cat’s claw and yellow uxi.