September marks PCOS Awareness Month, and at the Zita West Clinic, we are in full support of raising awareness of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is a hormone disorder that affects around 1 in 10 women in the UK.
At the Zita West Clinic, up to 15 per cent of the women we see have PCOS, we understand that this can be upsetting, and many clients worry that they will never be able to conceive due to the condition.
Our Doctors have years of experience with PCOS and will support and guide you throughout your fertility journey.
We wanted to answer some of the most commonly asked questions:
1. What are the symptoms of PCOS?
Symptoms vary, and some will experience severe symptoms, whereas some may be mild.
Symptoms may include:
- Irregular or no periods
- Difficulty becoming pregnant
- irregular ovulation, or no ovulation at all
- Depression or changes in your mood
- Oily skin
- Unwanted facial or body hair (hirsutism)
- Thinning hair or hair loss from the scalp (alopecia)
- Weight problems – being overweight, rapid weight gain or difficulty losing weight
2. Will PCOS affect my fertility and chances of getting pregnant?
The hormonal imbalance that PCOS causes interferes with ovulation, and therefore can affect fertility. PCOS can also affect how regular cycles are, meaning there may be fewer cycles in a year and it is harder for a woman to detect her fertile phase.
PCOS is a treatable condition, so there is a chance that you will be able to get pregnant.
3. Do I need to have IVF?
In most cases, the answer is no, especially if PCOS is your only condition.
Of course, a full personal assessment of the couple is needed, but most patients are able to conceive naturally after a diagnosis of polycystic ovaries.
4. Are there any lifestyle changes I can make?
Symptoms can be improved through dietary and lifestyle changes, including:
- Adding more lean protein, fruit and vegetables to your diet
- Avoiding excess caffeine and alcohol
- Do regular exercise
- Get plenty of good quality sleep
5. How is PCOS treated?
A very simple and effective treatment, when it comes to establishing a normal cycle in at least 50% of the cases, has been proven to be Inositol. When Inositol fails, we are likely to prescribe drugs such as Clomid.
6. Will having PCOS affect the outcome of my IVF?
Normally we have the same good results with PCOS patients that we have with all patients. The only additional risk for PCOS patients is an increased risk of hyperstimulation as a result of the IVF process.
In this particular group of patients, we usually start with smaller dosages of stimulation and we carefully monitor these patients throughout the whole cycle. By doing this, we normally achieve a good control on the hyperstimulation with very good results in terms of pregnancy rate.
We are here to support and guide you.
If you’d like to speak to a member of the Zita West Clinic team about your options, please contact us.