A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism suggests that women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is the most common cause of female infertility, could have more chances to get pregnant if they keep a healthy diet and exercise.

Women whose hormones, such as testosterone, are out of balance could suffer of polycystic ovary syndrome that provokes infertility, pelvic pain, excess hair growth, weight gain, acne, and irregular menstrual periods. However, this new study proves that these effects can be reversed if women maintain a healthy lifestyle.

“The findings confirm what we have long suspected – that exercise and a healthy diet can improve fertility in women who have PCOS,” said study co-author Dr. Richard S. Legro, professor of obstetrics and gynecology and public health sciences at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, PA.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, between 1 in 10 and 1 in 20 women of childbearing age suffers from PCOS. The condition currently affects up to 5 million women in the United States. Photo: Spice4Life

For four months, they examined 149 overweight women with PCO (ages between 18 and 40), who were randomly divided into three groups. The first group was prescribed with birth control pills, the second was ordered to keep a healthy lifestyle by doing exercise and dieting, and the third group was asked to do both.

To treat this syndrome, women are prescribed birth control pills, which are also known to increase fertility. On the other side, overweight or obese women generally are in major risk of suffering both PCOS and infertility. That is why, for this study, researchers compare different intervention for PCOS- including the birth control pill and weight to see the impact they had on fertility.

Results were clear in their answer. Among the first group, 5 of the 49 women gave birth, while in the second and third group, 13 of 50 and 12 of 50 respectively had children.

Combining birth control pills with a healthy lifestyle proved to be a good way to increase fertility. However, doctors suggest not to only take pills for it can reverse the effect.

“The research indicates preconception weight loss and exercise improve women’s reproductive and metabolic health. In contrast, using oral contraceptives alone may worsen the metabolic profile without improving ovulation. Lifestyle change is an important part of any fertility treatment approach for women with PCOS who are overweight or obese,” Legro added.

Nevertheless, there is still an open question for women with PCOS who are not obese, since the study did not take them as an instrument for the research.

 Source: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism