Fertility Treatment & Tips: Exercise, Dieting May Boost Fertility In Women With PCOS
For women who struggle with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), getting pregnant could be a challenge. However, a healthy diet and exercise can improve the fertility in women who have PCOS, a new study says.
According to Womenshealth.gov, PCOS is the most common cause of infertility among women due to absence of ovulation. Among the underlying problem with PCOS is hormonal imbalance, where the ovaries produce more androgens than normal, which can lead to acne, excessive hair growth, weight problems and problems with ovulation. PCOS affect a woman's menstrual cycle.
Normally, the ovaries where a woman's eggs are produced have tiny fluid-filled sacs called follicles or crysts. As the egg grows the follicle builds up fluid, when the egg matures, the follicle breaks open and release the egg. The egg then travels to the fallopian tube for fertilization, otherwise known as ovulation.
For women with PCOS, the ovary doesn't produce all the hormones it needs for an egg to fully mature, ovulation does not occur. However, here's a good news, every woman can do something to raise her chance of fertility.
"The findings confirm what we have long suspected - that exercise and a healthy diet can improve fertility in women who have PCOS," says study co-author Dr. Richard S. Legro, professor of obstetrics and gynecology and public health sciences at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, PA. Several other studies also associate a better lifestyle such as diet and exercise to increase chances of fertility, Herald Current reports.
The study involved 149 obese and overweight women who were between 18 to 40 years old and were diagnosed with PCOS. Aside from being obese and overweight, those women have no other major medical conditions. They were randomly assigned to take birth controls, change their lifestyle, and a combination of both. After the interventions, the participants were given medication to induce ovulation, HNGN reports.
After the follow-up period, five (10 percent) of those who took birth control pills got pregnant, 13 (26 percent) of those who changed their lifestyle through diet and exercise, and 12 (24 percent) did both. The study also discovered that combining birth control pills with lifestyle medication improves ovulation.
"The research indicates preconception weight loss and exercise improve women's reproductive and metabolic health," Legro said in a press release. "In contrast, using oral contraceptives alone may worsen the metabolic profile without improving ovulation. Lifestyle change is an important part of any fertility treatment approach for women with PCOS who are overweight or obese."
The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolilsm for its Sept. 24 issue.