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Improving fertility in polycystic ovary syndrome

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS often experience fertility problems due to ovarian cysts. These cysts cause an irregular menstrual cycle and problems with ovulation can even cause a desire to have children to remain unfulfilled. There are some treatments available for women with PCOS who are longing for pregnancy. For example, fertility can be improved with metformin or hormone treatment. Research has shown that taking an inositol supplement combined with folic acid can provide even better results than metformin.

Fertility and PCOS

  • What is polycystic ovary syndrome?
  • Fertility problems
  • Improve fertility with inositol


What is polycystic ovary syndrome?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (also abbreviated to PCOS ) or Stein-Leventhal syndrome is a set of abnormalities resulting from the presence of multiple (small) cysts in the ovaries. The presence of these cysts disrupts a number of processes. For example, eggs do not grow or grow irregularly, ovulation does not occur or only occasionally and there is irregular menstruation. The consequence of irregular ovulation is also reduced fertility and therefore more difficulty in having children.Polycystic ovary syndrome is certainly not rare . It is estimated that about 10 to 15% of women suffer from it to a greater or lesser extent. The cause of the condition has not yet been fully unraveled, but it is mainly associated with hormonal abnormalities. For example, in women with polycystic ovary syndrome, an increased production of luteinizing hormone by the pituitary gland is often measured, which increases the production of androgens, which subsequently leads to increased testosterone levels. Under its influence, cysts grow on the ovaries.In addition to problems with fertility, PCOS often causes other problems. It can lead to acne, oily skin, skin tags, excessive body hair, thinning hair and hair loss, increased cholesterol, high blood pressure, pelvic pain, type 2 diabetes and obesity. Women with PCOS also experience depressive symptoms relatively often.

Fertility problems

As indicated, the main problem women face as a result of polycystic ovary syndrome is reduced fertility . Women diagnosed with PCOS often use the pill from early puberty to make their menstrual cycle more regular. Stopping the pill when you want to get pregnant will cause the cycle to become irregular again. The drugmetformin is sometimes attributed to increase fertility . This is a medication that is normally used in patients with diabetes mellitus type 2. Metformin lowers blood sugar levels, which benefits fertility in women with PCOS. A known side effect of metformin is weight loss. 10 to 30% of patients cannot tolerate metformin and often suffer from gastrointestinal complaints such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Taste disturbances also occur in 1 to 10% of users. One can then taste a continuous metallic taste.If metformin does not provide a solution, hormone treatment with clomiphene, follitropin or lutropin can be considered. These hormones mature the egg and promote ovulation. It is given by injection. A ‘side effect’ of treatment with these hormones is an increased risk of twins or multiple births because several eggs can develop simultaneously.

Improve fertility with inositol

An alternative drug that can be used to improve ovarian function and increase the chance of pregnancy is inositol . This is a vitamin-like substance that is often mentioned in the same breath as vitamin B8, but is in fact a pseudo-vitamin. In nature it mainly occurs as myo-inositol. Inositol is important for insulin action, brain function, fatty acid metabolism and bile formation.Multiple scientific studies have shown that taking an inositol supplement can increase fertility in women with PCOS . For example, Italian research among 283 women in 2003 showed that inositol has a positive effect on the functioning of the ovaries ( Gerli, cs, 2003 ). In another study in 2010, 60 women with fertility problems due to PCOS were given a combination of inositol and folic acid. This group was compared with a group of 60 women who received the drug metformin. While only 18.3% of the group given metformin started ovulating again, this percentage was as high as 65% among the group that used inositol. Moreover, 30% of them became pregnant during the research period ( Raffone, cs, 2010 ).Inositol occurs naturally mainly in whole grain products and citrus fruits. It is also available as a supplement. The recommended dose for promoting fertility in PCOS is 4,000 mg inositol , supplemented with 400 mg folic acid .

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