Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, is a reproductive hormone imbalance that impacts a woman’s ovaries. Due to these hormonal imbalances, a woman with PCOS may have difficulty developing or releasing an egg within the typical cycle time-frame. PCOS, however, is more than just having unpredictability of egg development. It often means infertility. In fact, according to the PCOS Nutrition Center, “PCOS is the most common cause of ovulatory infertility.”
One of the major issues is that many women don’t even know that they have PCOS until they’re trying to conceive. Knowing this, it would probably surprise you that about 1 in 10 women have PCOS. The reason for this is because PCOS is misdiagnosed and hard to identify in many cases.
For example, common physical symptoms of PCOS are acne and excess hair growth (as a result of androgen, a predominantly male hormone overly excreted by women with PCOS). In adolescents specifically, acne would likely be linked to puberty and not to polycystic ovary syndrome. If this individual were to be sent to a dermatologist, their doctor may not be able to diagnose PCOS because they aren’t looking for excessive hair growth in addition to acne. PCOS is often overlooked or misdiagnosed until the person is having difficulty conceiving because the symptoms aren’t looked at as a unit. Other common symptoms include pre-diabetes and ovarian cysts, which are typically identified by a primary care physician and ob/gyn respectively.
Before we continue, we need to let you know that “having PCOS does not mean you can’t get pregnant. PCOS is one of the most common, but treatable, causes of infertility in women” (Womenshealth.gov). Oftentimes, having healthy eggs is not the issue but releasing the egg is. An inconsistent cycle, especially one with missed periods, impacts the frequency or occurrence of ovulation making it more difficult to get pregnant but not impossible. Cycle tracking and a doctor’s involvement can help pinpoint when ovulation occurs and increase chances of pregnancy.
Using a cycle tracker is beneficial to women with PCOS because cycles are unpredictable and oftentimes periods can occur once every 30-60 days or longer. To help regulate periods, women with PCOS may turn to birth control to balance their hormones but…what if you’re trying to conceive?! In this case, it becomes near impossible to know when ovulation day will be. Luckily, with the accuracy of a device like the iFertracker, you can easily detect the ovulation day spike seen in a BBT chart, regardless of how irregular your cycle is. Not knowing when ovulation will occur makes BBT charting a hassle for women with PCOS, considering oral temping is done before anything else every single morning. iFertracker is easy-to-use and convenient— letting women sleep in, temp effortlessly throughout the night, and sync via Bluetooth in the morning.
A Note from the Author:
As of now, there isn’t one, single test to tell you if you have PCOS. If you believe you have symptoms of the syndrome, it’s best to contact your doctor or ob/gyn. Even though there is no cure for PCOS, there are several treatments and behavioral changes that assist with lessening symptoms, such as exercise, a balanced diet, medication, and supplements.
But no matter the treatment, dealing with the polycystic ovary syndrome is challenging and frustrating. Linked with pre-diabetes, weight gain, and infertility, PCOS can take a toll on a woman’s physical, mental, and emotional health. If you are affected by PCOS, be sure to utilize online resources for diet and lifestyle tips, PCOS-friendly recipes, symptom suggestions, and community support. Even when times are tough, remember…you are not alone.