PCOS and Fertility
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS affects about 10% of women in Ireland and is a leading cause of infertility. It is a condition that is caused by being resistant to insulin – the hormone that controls blood sugar levels. In PCOS, insulin levels can get too high which causes a number of problems. Insulin can trigger the ovaries to produce more male hormones, which leads to some of the signs of PCOS such as irregular (or absent) periods, excess hair on the face and legs, acne and, in some case, difficulty conceiving. Insulin also causes food cravings (especially for sugary or starchy foods like bread and chocolate) as well as increasing weight. Women with PCOS have a classic shape – putting weight on their tummies and having a round face – normally women put weight on their hips and thighs and put extra weight under their chin – creating a ‘long’ face. If you have irregular periods, excess hair and an apple rather than a pear shape, it may be PCOS and it is worth talking to your GP.
Extra weight (link here to weight management page) is one of the main issues experienced by women with PCOS. Normal healthy eating doesn’t always work and women can struggle to lose weight – and can gain weight very easily. Working with a Dietitian can help you to find the foods that suit your body and help to you to manage your weight much more easily.
Women with PCOS can also have some difficulty becoming pregnant. The excess male hormones can stop ovulation from happening fully or at all and, added to that, women with PCOS are more likely to have a miscarriage if they do become pregnant. In saying that, most women with PCOS do have babies, so you are not necessarily destined to be childless if you have PCOS but there is quite a lot you can do to boost your chances of becoming pregnant.
At Eatwell, we work with women who have PCOS to change how they eat to manage their condition. Some women want to lose weight others want to start a family – or both. We can guide you to the right foods and the right balance of nutrients that will help you to get to a healthy weight and help to manage the symptoms of PCOS.