What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD) is a condition in women of reproductive years that can cause infertility, irregular and painful cycles, acne, Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and other problems. Women who have PCOS have ovaries that do not function normally and they do not have normal ovulations. The causes of PCOS are disputed. "Having polycystic ovaries puts women at risk for infertility, abnormal cholesterol levels, diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, thrombosis, and cancers including endometrial, ovarian and breast cancers." (Dr. Thomas Hilgers)
My doctor has me on the pill for PCOS and says that it's being managed.
PCOS is commonly associated with a hormonal imbalance. The pill uses synthetic hormones to trick the body into thinking that it is pregnant, which interferes with a woman's natural hormone production and shuts down her ovulation. One unintended effect that this has is to alleviate many of the symptoms of PCOS. Unfortunately, woman with PCOS who take the pill to manage their symptoms find that their symptoms return when they stop using the pill. This is especially frustrating and sad for many women who stop using the pill only to discover that they have infertility. The pill does not cure PCOS.
Does PCOS present any unique challenges?
There can be unique challenges in using NFP for women who have PCOS because they often have irregular hormone patterns. The hormonal defects in women with PCOS cause little to no basal body temperature shift and unusual mucus patterns which makes these women unable to use the sympto-thermal method. Women with PCOS find that "ovulation sticks" that measure estrogen and LH hormones are often unreliable due to their chronic elevated levels of estrogen and their anovulatory cycles.
What can I do about my PCOS?
Two methods of natural family planning specifically address Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. The Billings Ovulation Method and the Creighton Model FertilityCare System can be used by women with PCOS. Please follow the links for each method to learn more about how they manage PCOS.