Baby Hints & Tips

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)

What is PCOS?
Tips from other mums who have experienced PCOS

(Medical disclaimer: Tips provided need to be considered in conjunction with medical advice. For immediate concerns, please contact HealthDirect (Australia wide) ph 1800 022 222 – to talk to a registered nurse 24hrs a day, and in emergencies call 000.)

What is PCOS?

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal imbalance occuring in 12-21% of Australian women of reproductive age.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) PCOS is diagnosed when you have 2 of these 3 conditions:

  • increased androgens (male hormones)
  • anovulation (irregular periods)
  • polycystic ovaries – cysts on the ovaries (detected through ultrasound or laprascopically)

Potential symptoms of PCOS

  • Change in periods (no periods, irregular periods, or heavy painful periods)
  • Irregular ovulation (difficult to become pregnant)
  • Excessive facial and body hair
  • Thinning of hair on the scalp
  • Easy weight gain, especially upper body

PCOS increases your risk of:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Depression (partly related to weight gain, increased hair growth etc)
  • High blood pressure
  • Sleep apnoea
  • Thickening of endometrial wall (may lead to increased cancer risk)
  • Fatty liver disease

Early diagnosis and management can minimise these risks. It is recommended that women try to conceive at an earlier age if they have PCOs.

The first line treatment is weight loss and regular exercise, which can improve reproductive chances, heart risks, diabetes risk and depression. Other options include medications such as oral contraceptives (may increase your risk of diabetes and increased risk of clots), metformin and clomiphene (Clomid) which are prescribed by specialists


Tips from our mums: Ladies with PCOs, what kind of things did you do to try to have a baby?

  • We weren’t trying but I lost 5% of my weight at the time which wasn’t much and that seemed to do the job in returning my periods to normal. So I decided not to take the pill for a little bit so my body could have a break and woops got pregnant in the first month of not having it. Now due in 5 weeks and couldn’t be happier. Could be something as simple as loosing weight or being put on fertility drugs to help u. Google it and there are many different ways it can be treated.
  • Exercise and healthy eating. We tried for 6 months then I ate healthy for 3 weeks and bam
  • I was told it could take IVF to fall pregnant when I was diagnosed with PCOS, I lost about 50kgs and fell first try!!! I’ve read that loosing even 5% of your body weight can reverse the effects of PCOS. I was also prescribed metformin to help regulate blood sugar levels, I stopped taking it once pregnant and haven’t started again since having bubs.
  • You need to stick to a low GI diet and try and keep your weight down, also track your ovulation because if your anything like me your periods are probably all over the place. About 8 years ago I had all the tests done including having my ovaries “golfballed” and I’ve also had my tubes unblocked I’ve also been on metformin and none of that worked for me so I stopped it all and just tracked my ovulation and lost a bit of weight and I fell pregnant with my first bub and 2 years later I fell pregnant again, I’m starting to think that maybe next year I’d like another one but if it happens that’s great but if it doesn’t that’s ok too. Goodluck and baby dust to you ?
  • I have heard like the above case falling pregnant after weight loss, it is a simple as that.. unfortunately its not that easy for some of us to lose weight.. a lot of us have insulin resistance and just cant.. i would suggest first going on metformin for 6 months or so and see if you can lose weight that way so you can see if that will help.. unfortunately not evey1 can hack metformin it can make people very ill.. I couldn’t! I got referred to a specialist in Adelaide as I also live in a small town he told me i dont ovulate on my own and he eventually put me on clomid i did a few rounds with him with no success, i later got referred to Repromed @ dulwich where we did a few more cycles i finally conceived on 200 mg clomid unfortunately i m/c at around 6 weeks… we then went onto IVF which went very wrong first cycle and I had to have an op and during that i had ovarian drilling then after that we did another IVF cycle and we got success.. I’m now 8 weeks 🙂
  • I did 10 mths of Clomid with no success as I don’t ovulate at all, then had the ovary drilling operation ovulated once and got pregnant first try after the op then when my bub was 13mths old we decided to try again and got pregnant first try with no help!
  • Weight loss surgery. was the only thing that worked for me. My BSL’s were perfect within hours of surgery. 11 months and 40 kg down I fell pregnant, not even trying. My surgeon has everyone on the pill for the first 9- 12 months because becoming pregnant soon after surgery is common, but not recommended to ensure you have your diet sorted.
  • For me changed to good old fashion healthy eating bike ride each day helped me to loose about 9kg. Around this time had blood tests done by GP which initially showed i wasn’t ovulating but then showed i was but much later than ‘normal’ right at end of my cycle. By knowing when i was ovulating and weight loss helped me get my know 5 month old. Get your GP to send you for bloods to see if and when you ovulate.
  • I also lost some weight not a lot though (probably 7 ish kg) and needed clomid, took 3 cycles upping the dosage each month finally ovulated on the third month and fell straight away, now have a beautiful 5 month old baby boy.
  • I had always been regular as was on the pill since young but had still managed to in the last 10years have some unplanned pregnancies only realised when resulted in miscarriages. I had some weird lower stomach pains about 6years ago & when sent for an ultrasound they found cysts all over my ovaries. I was then basically told it was the reason I always struggled with bad skin & my mid-section but not to worry about it all, however I would most likely need IVF to conceive. Late 2010 I had one cyst get particularly big (the size of a peach plus 2 that were 3cms each) & discovered from talking to a naturopath that insulin feeds the cysts. I also was told there were cases where following the csiro guideline diet had caused PCOS to go dormant. I was already reasonably fit from playing netball so basically I began to eat like a diabetic, cut down wheat & gluten, took the recommended supplements & tried to buy organic fresh food… I not only lost a few kilos (went from a size 12 to a 10) & had the cysts ‘shrink’ but before I knew it we found 4months or so.later I was pregnant when we weren’t even trying! My little man is 9months old today 🙂

What are your best tips for trying to conceive with PCOS?

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