PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, and also known as Stein-Leventhal Syndrome) is a common disorder affecting almost 10% of women between the ages of 18 and 44. As it is a hormonal endocrine condition, there are imbalances in the hormone system, typically an increase in testosterone and androgens. Symptoms can include cramps, bloating, hirsutism (facial hair as well as hair on other parts of the body), acne, missed periods, irregular periods, weight gain, and sometimes hair loss.
When PCOS is moderate to severe, it can effect one’s ability to conceive. The good news is that making simple lifestyle changes can decrease symptoms and increase one’s ability to ovulate. The two main changes? Exercising and losing weight, if one is overweight. Even if a woman with PCOS chooses to do fertility treatments, this will increase their odds of conception, improve metabolic health, and will enhance their preconception care so that they have a healthier and easier pregnancy.
The concept, although not foreign, can be overwhelming for people. The best way to begin is to take small, doable steps. Short term goals that are sustainable will help with a long-term lifestyle change that will inevitably start to feel right for the individual, become habit, and result in great health. Even when compared to using certain medications alone, which can make PCOS worse in the long run, exercising and losing weight for overweight women could be potentially the key for conception.
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