“I have PCOS so I never will be able to have kids.” This statement, and statements similar to it, break my heart. Some women express their sorrow while in their teens or early 20’s, single, engaged, or years into marriage when they discover that they have been diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). The look or the way they discuss their fertility goes the same: the sadness in their eyes or what you can hear in their voices coupled with the self-defeat that pregnancy will never be in the picture for them, no matter how hard they try.
Here’s the reality: there is a LOT you can do for PCOS. It is not a death sentence to your fertility. I won’t sugar coat it: there is a lot of difficulty in navigating PCOS, the right supplements/medication, diet changes (ugh), as well as many other things that you can do, but it is often not the end of your fertility. I’ve seen it in many of my clients and I’ve experienced it myself. A lot of them have been able to heal, and yes, have been able to have children. So what’s a girl with PCOS supposed to do??
Let’s start with some of classic symptoms of PCOS. Continuous bleeding (or even abnormal bleeding), cervical mucus that never seems to go away, long cycles (more than 38 days), insulin resistance that makes you feel like total garbage any time you remotely eat something with carbs (not to mention the delicious looking ice cream sundae across the way), as well as other side effects like high testosterone that causes hair growth (thicker and more excessive). Not to say you’ll experience all, or even any of these per se, but they can all be symptoms of PCOS (or PCOD).
So that’s the bad news. Here is the good news. Getting your hormones balanced (estrogen and progesterone) by seeing a Napro doctor who specializes in these things, taking supplements such as inositol or others, changing around your diet (paleo, keto, or AIP), exercising, and if needed, potentially looking into wedge resection surgery or medication prescribed by your doctor (like metformin), are all things that you can do to assist your PCOS. Keeping your blood sugar levels maintained, or looking into things like taking DIM (though, as with all supplements, use with caution and only use under the guidance of a doctor) to reduce testosterone levels are some of the protocols I’ve seen women use to navigate and manage their PCOS. Yes, it might mean giving up you food you love, taking bioidentical hormones when you hadn’t planned on it, or even looking into surgery, but the future with having PCOS is often one with hope. While I can’t guarantee your fertility will be what you’re hoping for, I can guarantee that having PCOS does not automatically render you infertile. Reach out to a a FertilityCare Practitioner today to help you start charting and navigating your PCOS!