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What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome?

If you’re trying to get pregnant it’s only sensible and responsible to learn about some of the challenges to your fertility. Even if it you turn out not to be affected, checking the possibility that you are helps you eliminate that source of worry, or if you are, you’ve caught an issue early and can address it.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (also known as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, or PCOS) is a big challenge to women trying to conceive. The NHS estimates 20% of women in the UK may be affected – though with so many people undiagnosed, it’s hard to be sure. It’s a condition we are only now beginning to grasp, and while no cure has been developed, more and more treatments and techniques to mitigate the symptoms are becoming available.

Causes

The root cause for polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is still unknown, with scientists continuing to test various genetic and environmental factors. If you’re affected by PCOS, though, your body produces too much insulin, which in turn causes it to produce an excess of Androgen, a male sex hormone.

Your body produces androgen naturally anyway, and it’s vital to your health and wellbeing, but too much of it can serious effects (as can too much of anything!).

Symptoms

With excess quantities of these hormones in your system, your body reacts in lots of different ways. The additional insulin causes you to gain weight more easily, which comes with its own knock-on health effects, while the androgen can cause extra body hair, especially on the chin, back or buttocks – this known as hirsutism.

Women with PCOS are also higher risk of suffering mental health issues like depression and anxiety, though the exact mechanics of how these conditions are associated are still unknown.

Fertility

PCOS has the biggest effect on your reproductive system. The excess androgen in your system leads to a proportion of your eggs not maturing fully, which means you will ovulate more rarely than women without the condition. It can interfere with other parts of your menstrual cycle as well, leading to disrupted, delayed or skipped periods.

It doesn’t make pregnancy impossible, it just makes it more of a challenge, as in order to conceive successfully you have to make sure you’re trying within a tight window around ovulation: only a few days before and one day after.

It makes it vitally important to track your ovulation, to make sure you’re able to try for a baby at the times when you can actually succeed. OvuSense measures the subtle changes of temperature inside your vagina, and can predict when you’re due to ovulate with a day’s notice, giving you an advantage if you’re trying to get pregnant with PCOS.

To learn more about pregnancy and fertility issues visit PCOS