PCOS and Ovulation Kits - a Good Fit?
One of the interventions that many women use to try to become pregnant is an ovulation prediction kit. Such a kit helps the woman to chart her cycle and to predict when fertility will occur each month. If you have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), however, this may not be an option for you. Here's why.
Let's Start with Ovulation
In order to understand what an ovulation kit is, and whether or not it will work for women with PCOS, we have to clearly understand what ovulation is. The menstrual cycle starts when a hormone in the brain causes an egg follicle in the ovary to start to grow. The egg begins to secrete estrogen, causing the lining of the uterus to thicken. Once the follicle is mature, the LH levels increase a great deal, triggering ovulation and releasing a mature egg within the ovary. If there isn't a pregnancy at this point, then estrogen and progesterone levels drop and the lining is shed as menstruation. Then the whole cycle will start again.
PCOS and Ovulation
PCOS is a result of the body's production of excess male hormones. The woman's menstrual cycle and her ovulation are often affected. She may have an irregular cycle, a very long one, or she may not have one at all. In addition, women with PCOS usually have elevated levels of LH. All of this makes it very difficult to predict her ovulation and to become pregnant.
PCOS and Ovulation Prediction
Hormone levels are affected with PCOS, often making the use of ovulation kits very difficult. If women with PCOS do ovulate, it can be very difficult to interpret the chart correctly. Ovulation prediction kits work by detecting LH surges in the body. Some women with PCOS have elevated LH hormone levels, thereby making it very difficult to use these kits.
Can a Prediction Kit Work with PCOS?
If you have PCOS and are having monthly periods, then it is certainly possible that an ovulation kit will work for you. Even if you aren't having regular periods, the kit might still work but it will be more difficult to time the testing. If, however, when you use the kit you get constantly positive results, your LH may be at a consistently high level. This would make the kit an unreliable way to test for ovulation.
How To Use the Kit
If you do go ahead and try to use an ovulation kit with PCOS, you need to pay attention to the length of your cycles. Ovulation usually occurs about 14 days before the next period. If you have a 30 day cycle, ovulation will be around the 16th day. You should begin testing a few days before this so that you are sure to catch your ovulation. If you see a positive result, or a surge, then it means you should begin having intercourse each day for two or three days.
Good luck! If the ovulation kit does not seem to be working for you, or it's not an option since you don't ovulate, there are certainly many other options. Speak to your doctor and find the right plan to help you to become pregnant with PCOS. Good luck!