How do I track ovulation with PCOS?
Ovulation tests can be the best way to determine when you're ovulating. They measure LH levels in urine, which rises approximately 36 hours before ovulation. In general, ovulation testing should start 17 days before your next period is due and you should continue testing until you have a positive reading. However, with irregular cycles it can be more difficult to establish when to start testing. Check the shortest cycle you've had in the past 6 months and base your testing on that cycle length!
If you've had particularly long cycles, it can be time-consuming and difficult to test for ovulation. You may want to get multipacks of ovulation test strips - a more budget friendly way to track ovulation.
*If you are receiving persistently positive results, it most likely means that your LH levels are abnormally elevated due to your PCOS. In such a case, the ovulation test may be unreliable.
What if I'm not ovulating?
Many women with PCOS are found to have an imbalance in their hormone levels. This can include having elevated levels of luteinising hormone (LH). A surge in LH will often trigger ovulation, but elevated levels of LH throughout the menstrual cycle can disrupt the normal function of the ovary and cause a lack of ovulation.
How can I improve ovulation?
Certain lifestyle changes can promote weight reduction, improve PCOS symptoms and improve ovulation.
Some medicines can be prescribed by your doctor to improve ovulation like metformin, clomid or letrazole.
A laparoscopic procedure could help restore ovulation in women who have not responded to medication.
How do you decide what is right for you?
You will be able to discuss the different treatment options with your doctor who will help outline the risks and benefits of each option. There are several things they may take into consideration when determining the best treatment type, most importantly the reason for seeking treatment:
- Irregular cycles
- Acne and skin changes
- Weight concerns
- Trying to conceive
- Wanting to conceive in the future
Some types of treatment can have an impact on your fertility so it's important to be open with your doctor about any plans to conceive now or in the future, so the best treatment type can be prescribed for you.