Is PCOS stopping you from conceiving?

If you have been trying to get pregnant without success you could be one of the 8-10% of women (of reproductive age) who is affected by Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.

Many women are told by their doctor that because of polycystic ovaries they are likely to have difficulties conceiving, but few understand why this is.

The explanation is simple: cysts which form on the ovaries can cause hormonal imbalances (high levels of Luteinising Hormone and androgens) as well as blood sugar imbalances or insulin resistance. Together these factors make it more difficult for ovulation to occur and without ovulation it’s impossible to fall pregnant.

Conventional medical treatments include oral contraceptives like the pill, anti-androgens and insulin regulating medication such as metformin. These forms of treatment don’t restore your health, they just treat the symptoms, often with undesirable side-effects. They don’t remove the underlying cause of PCOS and they don’t help you conceive.

There are lots of natural solutions that can help you without the nasty side effects. At Juno Natural Fertility we use a holistic approach to identify and correct the factors that cause the PCOS, successfully restoring regular ovulation.

To find out whether our homeopathic treatments could help you, come to our seminar on April 12th: ‘How to get pregnant with natural remedies – PCOS. Tickets cost £25 and can be booked online at www.junonaturalfertility.com/seminars or by calling 0845 423 8962. Places are limited, so early booking is advised.

Theta Healing and Fertility

Theta Healing is and energy healing which allows us to explore and release the memories we hold which may be blocking our full potential.  The Fertility Solutions Programme uses Theta Healing and Hypnosis to gently discover and release any beliefs, memories or emotions that may be blocking conception.  The process can also address physical symptoms such as PCOS.

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> Tracy Holloway developed the Fertility Solutions Programme after years of working in the area of fertility.  Tracy has worked as a Hypnotherapist, Psychologist and Theta Practitioner who is renowned in the area of fertility.  She has brought together her rich knowledge and experience to develop the unique programme which explores the well being of the whole person in order to support their reproductive health.

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> Using Theta Healing it is possible to address physical symptoms which may be affecting fertility, for example PCOS, Fibroids, Endometriosis and Sperm motility (to name a few).  It is also possible to address emotional issues which affect couples who are experiencing fertility challenges.  Many of my female clients will talk to me about their grieving each time their period arrives.  They describe their fertility journey as a roller coaster ride. They have hope during the month then the grieving starts as their cycle begins again.  Using the Fertility Solutions Programme it is possible for women to view each cycle as a positive thing, their body is working in the way that will make pregnancy possible at some point in the future, rather than a setback.  Sometimes a simple relieving of stress is enough to support conception.

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> One thing that is important to remember is each couple is unique, their journey is unique and they will conceive in their own time.  In other words it’s best not to compare yourselves with others because everyone’s journey is different.  Using the Fertility Solutions programme it is possible to address the emotional stresses and strains and focus on other areas of your life (enjoying your relationship for example) rather than relying on conception to bring happiness.  By addressing both physical and emotional aspects of fertility it is possible to have your best chance of conception.

What is PCOS and how can it affect my fertility ?

What is PCOS ?

PCOS stands for Polycystic ovarian syndrome. The condition was first medically identified in 1935 by 2 doctors named Dr Stein & Dr Leventhal, and the condition is also know as the Stein-Levanthal syndrome.

The name describes a condition in which women of childbearing age have a hormonal imbalance, that results in polycystic ovaries associated with a variety of other symptoms. The ovaries in PCOS contain many small follicular cysts that do not develop properly.

How common is PCOS ?

The condition is very common affecting about 5-10% of women. PCOS tends to run in families so there may be a family history, but this is not always the case.

What other symptoms & signs are there in PCOS ?

Most of the syptoms & signs of PCOS are attributable to the hormone imbalance. The symptoms & signs vary from women to women and also vary in severity with some women having milder symptoms than others.

Common symptoms in PCOS are:

  • weight problems-difficulty losing weight
  • facial & body hair
  • oily skin & acne
  • irregular or even absent periods
  • erratic ovulation or anovulation
  • difficulty getting pregnant
  • thinning of hair or even male pattern hair loss
  • mood swings
  • depression

What should I do if i think I have PCOS ?

If you think that you may have PCOS it is important to make an appointment & talk to you doctor particularly if you are trying to conceive as PCOS is a leading cause of fertility problems.

The condition does have long term health affects, as women with PCOS have an increased risk of diabetes and ischaemic heart disease, so early diagnosis can also have long term health benefits.

Although the condition is not curable there is much that can be done to manage the symptoms & signs, and to improve your chances of conceiving onec the condition has been identified.

Diet & lifestyle changes can also have beneficial affects on the severity of PCOS symptoms.

Useful resources for PCOS information in UK

Your Weight Could Be a Fertility Issue

Have you considered your weight as one of the possible obstacles to your dreams of having a baby? This isn’t about being fat or skinny; no judgment about your appearance is being made. Your weight can play a significant part in the ability of your body to ovulate, produce quality eggs and maintain a healthy pregnancy, especially if you are extremely underweight or overweight.

You may already have some idea about your weight’s impact on your reproductive system if you have had irregular menstrual periods, the onset of a thyroid condition or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or vitamin deficiencies.  What you may not know is that very overweight or underweight women have a much lower chance of conceiving, even with fertility treatment. As a result, many fertility specialists won’t take on a patient who wouldn’t benefit as much from their help and/or whose unsuccessful treatment would affect their success ratings.

Many clinics will use your weight, or Body Mass Index (BMI), as criteria for accepting you as a patient.  There is no hard and fast rule on this because one athletic woman with developed musculature can weigh more and carry less fat than another woman of similar age and height.  BMI of 19 – 24 is considered normal and 25 – 29 overweight. If either your weight or BMI falls under 19 or above 29, you may encounter a delay in being accepted for treatment, with instructions to lose or gain weight before coming back.  Whether you are still trying to become pregnant naturally, or if fertility treatment is your next step and your weight is a possible issue, here are some steps that you can follow to move forward with your family plan.

Your Attempts to Conceive Keep notes, not only of your weight, but also how often you have a period and how often and when you have sexual intercourse without the use of contraceptive devices. There are books available that provide a structure for tracking essential information for fertility, but any journal or notebook will do.

Identify Your Obstacles See your doctor to identify whether your current weight is a possible obstacle to conception. You must be forthcoming about your pattern of weight gain and loss, your eating habits and any extreme dieting or exercising you have done, even if you find these topics embarrassing.  You may be tested for high or low blood pressure, thyroid function, diabetes, vitamin and mineral deficiencies and the level of oestrogen you are producing.

Eating Disorders Serious eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and extreme compulsive overeating require medical supervision, structured programs and counselling over a lengthy period to ensure and support recovery. Anorexia and obesity can both affect ovarian function adversely and bulimia is linked to PCOS, so pregnancy is unlikely, though not impossible. If you do conceive while battling an eating disorder, it could impact negatively upon the baby’s ability to thrive as well as your own health. Think about everything you eat and drink passing to the baby in your womb, though in a slightly different form. Not only nutrients are taken in by the baby, but also the high calorie/ high sugar and high fat content of your less nutritious food.

Recovery from an eating disorder can be a long and difficult process; it’s not only about what you eat, but also why you eat it that needs to be determined.  The destructive cycle of thought and behaviour has to be broken and relearned in a positive way.  The baby will be dependant upon you and require a fully present parent.

Eating disorders actually require an enormous amount of mental energy, planning the next binge, the next purge (self-induced vomiting) or how to avoid eating without anyone else noticing.  These disorders are nearly always accompanied by some degree of self-hatred. Dissatisfaction with the sufferer’s appearance, social relationships and/or self-belief fuels the fire and that brings on more irrational and dangerous behaviour.

If you think, or know, that you have an undiagnosed eating disorder, don’t waste a minute before you consult a doctor.  I am not minimizing the difficulty in admitting it to oneself; it will take courage and commitment.

Your GP can probably refer you to a specialist medical unit where counselling  and other practical assistance is offered.  There are also many groups where you can meet with people who have experienced similar disorders and receive confidential support.

Lifestyle Changes for Self-CareYour health is vital before, during and after you conceive, carry and deliver your baby.  You can’t breathe a sigh of relief upon conceiving and then let yourself go to pot.  Bad habits don’t disappear overnight, so get working on them immediately.

If your current weight is due to poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking or over-consumption of alcohol, a nutritionist and an experienced personal trainer can advise on necessary changes in your lifestyle.  This is no time for a crash diet or the use of over-the-counter weight-loss or weight-gain drugs or powdered drink mixes. Don’t put all of yourself into a weight-loss or weight-gain scheme just to win the approval of your RE, only to let it all go back the way it had been afterward.  Careless indulgence in bad habits means that you aren’t prioritizing self-care.

How fit you are will also determine how you carry a pregnancy.  Over the nine months, you may be carrying anywhere between 18 and 45 extra pounds, putting extra pressure on your skin, muscles, veins, spine, breasts and joints.  Stretch marks only mar the surface of your body, but varicose veins can result from carrying too much weight and excess blood flow during pregnancy and knee trouble is quite common in obese women.  That’s just during pregnancy.

Then comes the aftermath: life with baby.  Think about how often mothers  have to bend over, crouch down on the floor, get in and out of the car or bus, lift car seats and play cots and balance a baby on one hip.   If you were quite overweight before conceiving, and continue your poor habits, you could easily find yourself 75 to 100 pounds above your optimal weight before you give birth.

Trading One Habit for Another Keep in mind that what you ingest (not just food) during pregnancy and breastfeeding, your baby will too. Do not consider turning to cigarettes, alcohol or caffeinated, artificially sweetened soft drinks to help you avoid eating.  Nicotine and damaged lung tissue stay in your system for a very long time.  Smoking itself can cause low birth weight and nicotine addiction in newborns.  Alcohol could result in your baby being born with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, which could cause low birth weight, developmental problems or epilepsy among other symptoms that could affect him for life. The soft drinks will just fill you up, make you gassy and add no nutrition relative to the volume you consume.  Since you need extra nutrients for optimal health at conception, don’t waste space on junk drinks.

Your Motivation Finding the motivation to change your behaviour should be simple because you already have a goal in mind. You want to become pregnant and give birth to a healthy baby. Use that goal as motivation to change your attitudes and behaviour.  Think of yourself as a healthy vessel for conceiving, carrying and then caring for your child. When you are on the verge of bingeing, skipping a meal or eating junk food, consider how that would impact upon your weight and health and ultimately upon your attempts to conceive.

Your Plan Bad habits take a long time to embed, so they are not going to change over night. If you and your doctor believe that you can make positive weight changes yourself, formulate your own structured plan. Write down your:

  • specific weight,
  • a realistic time frame,
  • a list of quality foods in moderate quantities and
  • the exercise you will do to boost your health and strength
  • other healthy strategies to achieving your goal weight.

Keep track of your efforts and your achievements as you move toward your goal. While there may be other obstacles to conceiving a healthy pregnancy, if you persevere, you will have eliminated weight as one of them.

Lisa Marsh is a qualified life coach in
London, UK, specializing in Fertility and Miscarriage Support. She is dedicated to educating and supporting men and women concerned with reproductive health, infertility, fertility treatment and all forms of family building.

To find out more about Lisa and her work as a fertility coach, visit her blog at  She can be contacted at lisa@yourgreatlife.co.uk  for coaching, article writing or speaking engagements.

Study to analyze link between PCOS and insulin resistance

Just got the link to the doctors lounge from a friend on Twitter, to this study that is going to be conducted at Imperial College London

Understanding the link between Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and insulin resistance is the aim of a new project announced today, funded by the charity WellBeing of Women.

It is known that women with PCOS have a 3-fold increase in their risk of developing type-2 diabetes, where the body does not produce enough insulin or cannot use insulin properly. Insulin resistance is an important factor in the condition, which is the most common female hormone disorder. PCOS affects between 5 and 10 per cent of women and is a major cause of infertility.

The new £97K project aims to identify a defective point on the insulin signalling pathway in women with PCOS. The researchers, from Imperial College London, hope this will enable the development of new therapies which target this part of the pathway, to counter the insulin resistance and the fertility problems that PCOS can cause.

Click on the link to read full article  http://www.doctorslounge.com/endocrinology/news/pcos_insulin_resistance.shtml

‘Infertility anxiety is striking younger women’

Just read this interesting article in the Times online

 The article is from From February 1, 2009

I was 24 when I was first told to “get on with it” if I wanted to one day have children. I’d just been diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), joining a club of about 5% of the female population, and there I was, staring down at my Nikes, with my doctor sitting in front of me, telling me that I might find it harder than most to conceive, and that if I did ever want to, it would be best to get around to it sooner rather than later. And once that had happened, everybody had their tuppence to throw in. There was the facialist who told me she’d “be surprised” if I ever conceived naturally; the friend and new mother who, child smugly nestled on hip, highly recommended I be a “young mum” like her; and all the articles I pored over that preached exactly the same thing. And ever since then, I have been terrified that they might all be right.

Read the full article here http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/families/article5599066.ece