5 Things You Might Be Missing When Trying to Conceive with PCOS
PCOS is one of the most common gynecological and metabolic disorders that has an impact on fertility. It is characterized by long, irregular cycles, insulin resistance, cysts/immature follicles on the ovaries, or high androgen levels. We often get patients diagnosed (or seeking a diagnosis) of PCOS who are off to a great start with helping improve their hormone balance and fertility. Below are a few areas I find most missed with my patients:
The right supplements. There are a million different kinds of supplements you can take for fertility. With PCOS, there are a few specific ones that can make an enormous difference in cycle regulation, blood sugar, and egg quality. Myoinositol powder (with a certain ratio of d-chiro-inositol powder) along with NAC can be wonderful for regulating insulin and balancing hormones. CoQ10 and omega 3 fatty acids can also be a wonderful addition. Vitamin D can boost mood, improve egg quality, and is vital for healthy hormone production. However if you have other things going on like a wonky thyroid, high stress levels and adrenal fatigue, or high androgen levels, it can be hugely beneficial to work with a healthcare professional to create a supplement regimen personalized according to your own individual needs. Here are some of the brands and supplements we regularly recommend at Acubalance for PCOS.
Strength training. We know exercise is good for you. For PCOS, it is extremely important for fighting insulin resistance, improving healthy blood flow, and balancing hormones. However the quality and quantity of exercise is key. High intensity exercises for long periods of time (like HIIT workouts or intense cardio) can aggravate cortisol secretion leading to further hormone imbalance. Stressing your body out with the wrong kind of exercise can make insulin resistance worse, making weight loss harder. Exercising your muscles can alter the epigenetic expression of many genes related to metabolic health. Adding in 30 minutes of strength training a few times per week is wonderful to reduce androgen exercise, promote insulin sensitivity, and balance hormones.
Stress Relief. Like we talked about above, dysregulated cortisol (one of the stress hormones) is a huge impediment to living well with PCOS. High cortisol levels due to dysregulated blood sugar, intense exercise, not enough sleep, or emotional stress can lead to androgen excess and irregular ovulation and hirsutism. All hormones work in a cascade where if one is out of balance, the rest follow. So when our stress hormones are out of whack, so are our reproductive hormones. Getting your stress levels in balance with the right amount of sleep, stress reduction practices like meditation, and the right amount and type of exercise can do wonders for promoting healthy fertility with PCOS. Our clinical director, Dr. Lorne Brown, offers energy psychology sessions to get to the root of your limiting beliefs to improve your health and reduce stress levels. Check out his recent blog post: You are just one thought away from joy and peace of mind.
Acupuncture. Acupuncture is great for increasing insulin sensitivity which means more regular ovulation and better egg quality, regulates ovulation and menstruation, improves cycle regulation when compared to metformin, reduces androgens, improves pregnancy rates, and improves testosterone levels and LH/FSH ratios. More on acupuncture for PCOS and regulating cycles & hormones.
Laser for Fertility. There have been quite a few studies and literature published t in recent years about the benefits of Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) and PCOS. LLLT (also called photobiomodulation), is a technique we employ often at Acubalance to help increase blood flow to the reproductive organs, reduce pelvic inflammation, reduce oxidative damage, enhance mitochondrial activity and ATP production, and improve egg quality. I love adding laser to my treatments for people with PCOS particularly if we are also working with advanced maternal age, poor egg quality, or any IVF or IUI procedures. More on Laser for Fertility.
Struggling with PCOS? Give us a call at 604-678-8600 to schedule an initial consultation or free 15 minute discovery call.
Allison Locke, R.TCM.P, R.Ac, OBAAM, FABORM, RYT
PMID: 23482444, 20590731, 23676106, 28591042