With September marking PCOS Awareness Month, women are being encouraged to understand the symptoms.

Some 70 per cent of women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) don’t know they have the condition, according to research by Verity, the UK PCOS charity, but, left undiagnosed and unmanaged, it can impact fertility and increase the risk of diabetes and other metabolic conditions.

Verity is launching PCOS Awareness Month in September to create awareness of the condition, which disrupts the hormone balance in a woman’s body, impacting mood and making it difficult to maintain a healthy weight. And in support, Bourn Hall has hosted a free webinar, PCOS and Fertility, to give practical advice on how women with PCOS can improve their chances of conceiving.

Bourn Hall fertility expert, Dr Arpita Ray, comments that about a third of women struggling with infertility have a hormone imbalance that impacts their ovaries and prevents the release of one mature egg each month, reducing their chances of becoming pregnant.

Dr Ray advised: “A healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) of between 18.5 and 24.9 increases the chances of pregnancy, but this can be difficult to achieve by women with PCOS. Supporting these patients and their partners with a rapid diagnosis and the right information about nutrition and lifestyle can take them closer to achieving their dream. Seeking advice while they are younger and more fertile gives greater options for treatment.”

Nutritionist Angela Attwood sees many women with PCOS.

“The women I see are often feeling very down and upset about their weight. Diet can help to balance the blood sugar level, and this can have a huge effect on their hormones, how they feel and their energy levels. It is not just about reducing portion size, but also changing what you eat and when you eat it.  These become habits that can have lasting health benefits,” she explained.

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