Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) - FAQ

Frequently asked questions

A: Painful periods are not a common symptom of PCOS. However, PCOS may cause a reduction in menstrual flow and frequency.

A: Yes, women with PCOS often find it hard to lose weight because of factors such as:

  • Frequent hunger and cravings due to insulin resistance
  • High insulin levels that promotes fat storage and weight gain
  • Lack of appetite-regulating hormones such as ghrelin, cholecystokinin and leptin.

A: It can be difficult to detect pregnancy with PCOS, as it causes irregular periods and abnormal hormone levels. If you are taking a home-based pregnancy test, use it 2 – 3 weeks after sexual intercourse to see if you are pregnant.

You can also look out for the usual signs of pregnancy including:

  • Bloating
  • Backache
  • Breast tenderness
  • Frequent urination
  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Higher basal temperature
  • Nausea or food aversion

To confirm your pregnancy, visit your gynaecologist for a blood test.

A: As gluten causes inflammation, it can worsen inflammatory PCOS.

Avoid consuming gluten if you have inflammatory PCOS. Instead, try to consume the DASH diet or Mediterranean diet.

A: There is no clear hereditary link in PCOS, so it is hard to say whether PCOS is genetic or not.

Experts believe that PCOS is caused by a combination of factors, including genes and environmental factors such as stress and diet.

A: There is no conclusive medical evidence that PCOS causes UTIs.

A: Yes, some research has shown that PCOS is associated with stillbirth and should be considered as a possible risk factor.

In general, women with PCOS are at a higher risk for pregnancy and delivery complications.

A: If you have PCOS, you should try the DASH diet or Mediterranean diet. In general, these diets have more whole grains, fresh produce and plant-based proteins. They also tend to exclude sugar, processed food and trans fat.

A: Yes, you can have regular periods with PCOS. This is because mild PCOS does not affect your menstruation and fertility. However, severe PCOS can have a negative impact on your fertility and health.

A: If you are concerned about irregular or missing periods due to PCOS, you may be able to regulate your period by:

  • Avoiding tobacco smoke and alcohol
  • Making dietary changes and consuming supplements
  • Increasing your physical activity if you are overweight
  • Decreasing your physical activity if you are an athlete
  • Reducing stress factors while allocating more time for relaxation

Speak to your doctor to understand how you can regulate your period better.

A: Though it may be more difficult to get pregnant if you have PCOS and irregular periods, you can increase your likelihood by:

  • Adopting a healthier lifestyle
  • Losing weight if you are overweight
  • Considering in vitro fertilisation (IVF)
  • Taking medication to help regulate your periods and reduce insulin levels

Do consult your gynaecologist for further advice.

A: No, there is currently no cure for PCOS.

However, you can manage your PCOS through lifestyle and dietary changes, medication and therapy.

A: If you have PCOS during pregnancy, you should take the following precautions to avoid complications:

  • Monitor your blood glucose and insulin levels closely
  • Stay within the recommended amount of weight gain
  • Take medication to regulate your blood sugar levels
  • Take vitamins and supplements such as folic acid

Do consult your gynaecologist for further advice.

A: PCOS usually becomes obvious when a girl starts her menstruation. In some women, PCOS becomes obvious when there is difficulty getting pregnant or if there is severe weight gain.

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