Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition that researchers loosely define as a hormonal imbalance, and is believed to affect approximately 10 percent of women of child-bearing age. The underlying causes of the condition have yet to be clearly defined, but research suggests that the majority of cases come as a result of hereditary transmission. For those who have PCOS, ovulation does not occur in view of hormonal imbalances, or the maturation of the egg requires much more time. The function of the ovaries is disturbed, resulting in the formation of numerous small cysts (polycystic ovaries). Though the symptoms and severity of the condition may vary from case to case, researchers have formed a definitive relationship between PCOS and a decreased fertility. Risks are especially elevated in cases accompanied by obesity and diabetes; two conditions that negatively affect fertility even in the absence of the condition. However, infertility may not result in all cases. If it is determined that PCOS is affecting fertility, there are a few recommended lifestyle changes that can be made in order to make managing the condition easier and even increase chances of conception.
Lifestyle Choices Can Affect or Even Increase the Severity of Symptoms
One of the most critical elements of managing and improving the symptoms of PCOS is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Because every individual is different, it is important to speak with a physician to determine what adjustments need to be made in each specific case. A few specifically-associated factors that can be managed or improved with simple lifestyle changes are examined below.
Benefits of Implementing a Weight Management Plan
Obesity has been proven to have several adverse effects on reproductive health. Not only does it often decrease fertility, but it may also lead to complications during pregnancy. Research suggests that the prevalence and severity of symptoms associated with PCOS are significantly increased in cases where this condition is accompanied by obesity. Other risks elevated by obesity are irregular menstrual cycles that may disrupt or even halt ovulation and insulin resistance which may increase chances of pregnancy complications like gestational and type 2 diabetes. Implementing a plan for weight management when coping with PCOS is one of the most beneficial ways of improving both the symptoms of the condition and overall quality of life. Physicians recommend setting attainable weight management goals and emphasize the importance of maintaining these healthy habits in order to see true improvement. Balanced nutrition is key when managing weight so getting adequate servings of fruits, vegetables and whole grains in addition to replacing items high in fat with healthier alternatives is highly recommended. 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise would benefit weight loss efforts.
Infertile women living with PCOS are encouraged to refrain from smoking. Controlled studies determined that smoking may increase instances of insulin resistance when compared with PCOS patients who do not or have never smoked. This is especially beneficial when undergoing fertility treatments. Quitting is not only beneficial to overall health, but it also helps to ensure that the body is a healthy environment for conception and pregnancy.
Don’t Ignore the Psychological Symptoms Associated with PCOS
Many women experience one or a number of psychological symptoms as a result of living with PCOS. It is important that these symptoms also be properly addressed. Psychological conditions commonly associated with PCOS include anxiety and depression. These psychological conditions may hinder the willingness to initiate or maintain other lifestyle changes.