Lifestyle changes, including weight loss might help against infertility for women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the most common cause affecting the female population’s trouble in having children.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects 5 million women in the United States, causing infertility
- The participants of the study were almost 150 women, between 18-40 years old
- The women were divided into three groups: birth control, lifestyle change, and a mix of both
- 5 of the women in the first group gave live births, 13 of those in the second group, and 12 of those in the third group
PCOS has been described as a condition that causes a woman’s body to produce higher than normal amounts of testosterone and other sex hormones that are naturally associated with male characteristics. It’s typically accompanied by irregular menstrual cycles, acne, weight gain, excessive hair on the face or body, or thinning of hair across the scalp.
The condition is the most common cause of infertility, and affects an estimated of 5 million women only within the United States due to the hormonal imbalance, but can reportedly be ameliorated by a change in lifestyle.
Researchers conducted a 4-month long study on 149 women who were diagnosed with PCOS, between the ages of 18 and 40 years old, and all obese or overweight, before they attempted to have a child.
The participants were separated into three groups: the first who will be given a daily dose of oral contraceptives, the second with women who underwent dieting through exercise, caloric restriction and weight loss medication, and the third group where women were treated with both lifestyle changes and birth control pills.
According to lead researcher of the study, Dr. Richard Legro from Penn State College of Medicine, the results showed significant improvements in the last two groups, especially the women who had seen a combination of the two treatments. They took into consideration weight loss, live births, and ovulation rates.
Ovulation rates were of 46% for the group receiving birth control, 60% for the women who had seen a change in lifestyle, and 67% for the group who had underwent a mix of both. Live births, on the other hand, were of 12%, 26% and 24%, respectively, showing that the lifestyle group presented with better results in conceiving a child.
According to Lego, the study has proven that pre-conception lifestyle changes can greatly improve women’s “reproductive and metabolic health”, as the third group also presented with better insulin sensitivity and lower levels of triglycerides, a common fat found in the blood after taking birth control pills.
Making adjustments in their lifestyle by exercising and achieving weight loss can help obese or overweight women already participating in fertility treatments, and should be a significant and crucial addition for those with PCOS before attempting to conceive.
Image source: womenandwellness.com