Understanding the link between PCOS and fertility

As a common risk factor for women struggling with infertility, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) affects between 8-13% of all women of reproductive age.4

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), infertility in women was ranked as the 5th highest and most serious global disability, with the Infertility Awareness Association of South Africa (IFAASA) confirming that as many as one in six couples are impacted by infertility.

Infertility can occur as a result of any number of risk factors like occupational and environmental risks, age, or smoking and alcohol use, and can occur in both men and women. But the most common cause of infertility in women of reproductive age is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).4

What is PCOS?

PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects the ovaries and ovulation and involves reproductive, cosmetic, and metabolic problems with 8-13% of women.4 Its three main features are cysts in the ovaries, high levels of male hormones which result in hyperandrogenism (hair growth on the face and body, baldness, and acne), and irregular or skipped periods.5,6 But remember – just because you might be experiencing some of these features, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re suffering from PCOS! If you are concerned that you might be, it’s always best to chat with your doctor.

What causes PCOS?

At present, there is no known cause of PCOS, but it does seem to have associations with excess insulin in the body,7 and low-grade inflammation that seems to stimulate polycystic ovaries to product androgens, which are hormones that contribute to growth, especially in men.7,8

How is PCOS linked to fertility?

Because PCOS affects women’s hormone levels, it can result in skipped or irregular periods, which can make it harder to fall pregnant.5 While infertility affects between 8-13%4 of women worldwide, many women with PCOS may struggle with fertility due to their ovarian dysfunction, making it a much bigger issue for these women. But, despite the increasing number of people impacted by infertility, it’s still a topic that isn’t openly discussed and carries an unfortunate stigma.

What are the treatment options for infertility linked to PCOS?

As there are many different factors that impact fertility, there are also many different treatment options and recommendations for couples suffering from infertility linked to PCOS, some of which are more invasive than others.

According to 3Sixty Biomedicine’s CEO, Boitumelo Sebambo, in cases where infertility can be linked back to the hormonal imbalances caused by PCOS, patients who make use of products that contain Myo-inositol and D-Chiro-inositol have seen an increase in their ovulation, a reduction in their hyperandrogenism, and in the oxidative stress in their follicular fluid. Extracted from the pod of the Carob Bean Tree, Myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol act as insulin mediators, which means that both of these molecules are involved in increasing insulin sensitivity of different tissues to improve both metabolic and ovulatory functions.2

Harnessing the power of these two molecules in the correct ratio, SalomeTM Fertility is able to help to manage the symptoms associated with PCOS to improve fertility, naturally. “We locally manufacture and base our SalomeTM Fertility product – as well as other products within the Salome range – on herbal extracts which have proven to have limited side effects,” explains Sebambo.

If you are struggling with infertility, and you believe that it might be linked to undiagnosed PCOS because you’re experiencing some of the symptoms like irregular ovulation or hyperandrogenism, the best thing that you can do is chat to your doctor about getting a proper diagnosis, so that you can get proper treatment. With products like SalomeTM Fertility available to help treat the symptoms of PCOS linked to infertility, there’s no need to give up hope, because #YourJourneyMatters.

View all SalomeTM Fertility references here.

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This product may be a complementary medicine and/or not have been evaluated and verified by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority for its quality, safety or intended use. Use of this product is therefore not intended to compensate for diagnosis, treatment, cure, or mitigation of medical conditions and must not substitute the obtaining of medical advice from a registered health professional for any health or health-related conditions.