The Role of Lifestyle Modification in PCOS

If you’ve been recently diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), you may feel overwhelmed, confused, and upset. It’s a serious problem that impacts many people. Fortunately, you might find relief in a few simple modifications to your lifestyle. 

We’ll take a look at some lifestyle changes that may help, as well as provide some background on exactly what PCOS is and how lifestyle modifications help.

What is PCOS?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that is commonly found with women who are in reproductive age (between 12 and 51 years old). The condition affects one in ten women, most of which discover that they have it in their 20s and 30s. Many women find that they have PCOS after reporting issues getting pregnant. 

This may initially present itself as either prolonged menstrual periods, or infrequent menstrual periods; however, PCOS has also been associated with infertility issues caused by a woman’s failure to release eggs. While this doesn’t automatically mean that someone with PCOS can’t get pregnant, it may minimize the chances of getting pregnant. 

The exact cause of PCOS is unknown but we do know that it is associated with a higher risk for obese women. Genetics also play a role in PCOS, causing a higher release of androgens, or male hormones. In addition, PCOS is associated with higher levels of insulin, which may contribute to insulin resistance. 

Symptoms commonly start around the time of a woman’s first menstrual period. Alternatively, it can be associated with significant weight gain later in life. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent some of the long-term health complications—which include heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Some other possible complications of PCOS include miscarriages, gestational diabetes, sleep apnea, depression, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, abnormal uterine bleeding, or endometrial cancer. 

How Can Lifestyle Modification Help?

As of now, there is no cure for PCOS, but a doctor can help you determine a treatment plan to properly manage the symptoms. Minimizing symptoms is important because it can help you reduce your chances of developing heart disease or diabetes. 

One of the biggest risk factors of PCOS is obesity, which has also been linked with worsened complications of the disorder. That said, lifestyle changes can be adopted to help to manage the symptoms of PCOS, improve your chances for a healthy pregnancy, and minimize the risk for serious complications later in life.

Lifestyle Changes for PCOS-Sufferers

Fortunately, there are some simple lifestyle changes you can make to minimize your risk of the health complications that are normally associated with PCOS.

  1. Reduce sugars and carbohydrates

Insulin resistance, where someone can’t process insulin effectively, is commonly reported with people who suffer from PCOS. Insulin is the hormone that’s responsible for breaking down glucose (sugar) to turn what we eat into energy to power the body. 

To help support our body and its ability to keep blood sugar at a healthy level, we can jumpstart the process by reducing the amount of sugar (carbohydrates) that we consume. While there are many healthy sources of carbohydrates, like lean meats, high fiber grains, and fruits and vegetables, it’s important that we tackle some of the unhealthy carbohydrates many of us commonly consume. 

We should limit the amount of refined carbs we eat. These are commonly found in white breads, potatoes, sugar, and rice. In addition, we should avoid processed foods that are high in carbohydrates, like sugary cereals, cakes and cookies, and crackers. In addition, it’s a good idea to minimize or completely avoid drinks with a high sugar content, like soda or juice. 

  1. Exercise regularly

Further supporting the body’s ability to properly process insulin, regular exercise can help someone build muscle mass and burn calories. In turn, this helps the body to continue processing insulin like it should. 

Additionally, exercise can also help lower certain hormones that may play a role in PCOS symptoms, like testosterone. 

  1. Manage weight 

Being overweight has been associated with an increased risk for developing PCOS as well as an increased severity in some of its associated health problems. In fact, many people who suffer from PCOS are overweight, which can lead to a higher risk of infertility, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and many other health problems. 

A healthy diet and regular exercise is a good way to manage your weight. In addition, talking to a dietitian can help you to create an appropriate diet for you and your needs. 

Final Thoughts on Lifestyle Modifications and PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome affects many of us. In the US alone, there are about five million women who have PCOS, many of whom develop other long-term health complications as a result. 

The silver lining is that you can take your health into your own hands by making some simple lifestyle modifications. Not only can they reduce your risk of some of the serious health conditions associated with PCOS, but they can also help you live a happier, healthier life. 

What Should You Know About Skincare During Pregnancy?

When you discover that you’re expecting, you can expect a lot of changes in all aspects of your life, and this goes for your skin too. 

It’s likely that you’ve heard the common phrase, “you’re glowing” and while it’s not always the case, you may notice some positive changes to your skin. However, it isn’t all shiny skin when it comes to a pregnancy, there are also some less ideal aspects—namely, a few ingredients that you should avoid. 

To give you a better idea of what you should know about skincare during pregnancy, we’ll elaborate on some of the changes you can expect, as well as some skincare ingredients to avoid.

Skin Changes to Expect During Pregnancy

If you’re someone who’s experiencing a pre-motherhood glow, congratulations! What exactly causes pregnancy glow? Well, there are a few different factors involved. 

First, you’ll experience some changes in hormone levels, which might cause the glands on your skin (primarily your face) to secrete more oil (sebum). Combine this with an increased blood volume (meaning more blood flowing to your skin), and your face will look slightly flushed, slightly oily, and absolutely glowing. 

There is one downside to the pregnancy glow, however. An increase in oil on your face combined with a fluctuation in hormones may make the perfect conditions for acne. 

Alternatively, your mama-to-be skin changes may include developing skin that’s dryer, which could end up either exacerbating OR providing relief if you suffered from preexisting skin conditions like rosacea, eczema, or psoriasis. 

There is also a rare condition called melasma (chloasma) to be aware of. Also known as “pregnancy mask,” this condition is a type of hyperpigmentation where tan or brown patches appear on the face. While they can also be on the upper shoulders and chest, the patches are more likely on the face (hence the pregnancy mask nickname). 

Melasma shouldn’t be a cause for concern, and it typically goes away on its own after the pregnancy. If you end up having it for an extended period of time, you can try certain prescription creams.

Either way, it’s recommended that you avoid your exposure to sunlight if you notice melasma, as it could intensify the darkening on your skin. That said, it’s best to wear sunscreen at all times (SPF 30 or higher) to minimize your risks of intensifying the hyperpigmentation.

Safe Skincare During Pregnancy

If there’s one piece of advice that you should take away from this article, it’s that it’s always better to err on the side of caution. While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ensures safety for certain uses and product labeling, skincare and cosmetic products can be sold on the market without FDA approval

In addition, there are a few ingredients that you should avoid entirely.

Ingredients to Avoid 


Retinoids, also known as vitamin A, are essential for healthy skin, eye, and immune health. It’s likely that you’ve found retinoids in certain skincare products, particularly those designed to work as an anti-aging cream. 

Retinoids are generally successful at reducing fine lines (and can even reverse acne), but high doses have been linked to birth defects. While it’s recommended that pregnant women avoid all retinoids, prescription medicines like Accutane and Retin-A are considered to be the most dangerous. 


Ironically, hydroquinone is a medicine that can help correct hyperpigmentation (like melasma or chloasma). However, while scientists still haven’t found a link between congenital defects and hydroquinone, the body absorbs a significant amount of the compound and so, on that basis alone, health care professionals generally urge pregnant women to avoid it all together. 


While it may be strange to even consider that formaldehyde (a known carcinogen and component of embalming fluid!) could be found in your favorite skincare products, it’s certainly a possibility. 

While formaldehyde itself is not used as much as it was in the past, some chemicals are commonly found in cosmetics that release formaldehyde and can have a similar dangerous effect. Formaldehyde, and these other chemicals, can be associated with miscarriage and infertility.

Chemical sunscreens

Protection from UV rays is important, especially while you’re pregnant, but there is, unfortunately, an ingredient in most sunscreens that should be avoided. Oxybenzone is used as the UV filter in sunscreen, but it’s also been associated with a range of adverse health and environmental effects. 

The endocrine-disrupting chemical has been associated with changes to lactation, fetal damage, neurological conditions, Alzheimer’s disease, and hormone disruption. 

If you’re heading out in the sun, choose a safe sunscreen, like one made with zinc. 


Phthalates are another type of endocrine-disrupting chemical that is commonly found in beauty products. While phthalates haven’t been studied extensively in humans, it’s been known for quite some time that they can cause hormone and reproduction dysfunction in animals. 

Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics is looking into the substance to determine if endocrine disruption from phthalates can negatively affect reproductive health. While there aren’t any conclusive results yet, to ensure the safety of yourself and your baby, you should avoid phthalates in skincare products, which is commonly found as diethyl phthalate (DEP). 

High-dose salicylic acid

Commonly found in face peels, oral medications, and acne treatments, salicylic acid has anti-inflammatory capabilities that are good for our skin, but should be avoided during pregnancy. If you’re taking a lower-dose OTC salicylic acid treatment, it might be okay but you should always check with your doctor first. 

Success Rate

Generally speaking, IVF is successful. A recent study put its success rate at just under 30%, which is actually pretty similar to a natural pregnancy cycle with a fertile man and woman. As could be expected, if a couple repeats the IVF treatment cycle, they’re more likely to end up with a healthy pregnancy. 

Final Thoughts on Pregnancy and Skincare

Unfortunately, your skin brings about some additional concerns when you’re expecting. While it may seem like there’s a lot that you have to avoid to keep your baby safe, we’re also living in a time where many good alternatives are available. Now, more than ever before, there are pregnancy-safe skincare brands that have designed their products with you and mind. Stick with those for healthy skin and healthy pregnancy.


What to Expect During an IVF Journey ?

There might not be another process that is simultaneous as nerve-wracking and exciting as an In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatment. If this is something you or a loved one has been considering, it might be helpful to know all of the ins and outs so that you can make a more informed decision about what’s right for you. 

That being said, this article will provide a general overview of the IVF process, while also discussing safety and cost considerations, as well as what success rate can be expected.

IVF: An Overview

What exactly is IVF? You can understand in vitro to mean “in the lab.” 

Essentially, this means that several eggs are taken from the woman (via a transvaginal ultrasound-guided needle) and they’re combined with sperm cells (collected after masturbation) in a petri dish. After some time, the eggs will become fertilized (i.e. conception will take place) by the sperm. Once this successfully takes place, the embryo is transferred into the woman’s uterus. 

The specific process will depend on the health and fertility of both the man and the woman. Some other treatments may be involved to ensure the health of both the eggs and the sperm. In most cases, however, a woman will be on fertility drugs so that she produces more than one egg every month. While just one egg is normal for a woman (sometimes two), these drugs will stimulate the ovaries to produce at least a dozen eggs—all of which are collected for the IVF process. 

An IVF treatment is a medical procedure that typically follows months or, more likely, years of other, unsuccessful fertility treatments. For most people, IVF will be a promising option after years of unsuccessful pregnancy attempts and fertility tests that indicate that a natural pregnancy is unlikely. 

However, some other situations may also be commonly associated with IVF treatment. These include: male infertility (severe cases); blocked fallopian tube; use of an egg donor; or when a gestational carrier or previously cryopreserved eggs used.

While every situation and clinic will have some slight variations, there are some different steps that are typically involved.

    1. Consultation: An endocrinologist (infertility specialist) will review medical history and recommend routine testing.
    2. Baseline ultrasound and bloodwork: The pelvic organs and ovaries will be evaluated to ensure that it’s safe to begin ovarian stimulation.
    3. Ovarian stimulation: Fertility drugs will be administered, which encourages more egg production in the woman. 
    4. Oocyte maturation: The oocytes (eggs) will need to reach a stage in which they’re healthy and ready to be retrieved. 
    5. Egg retrieval: Mature eggs will be harvested from a woman’s ovaries.
    6. Fertilization: The eggs are combined with healthy sperm in a petri dish, and if everything works well, fertilization (conception) will take place.
    7. Embryo transfer: Once the egg has been fertilized, it will be transferred to the woman’s uterus.
    8. Two-week wait: The luteal phase, between days 15 and 28 of a menstrual cycle, will determine the success of the embryo transfer.
    9. Pregnancy test: A pregnancy test is administered after two weeks to determine if there is a healthy pregnancy.

Safety Considerations 

Most healthcare professionals agree that IVF is, for the most part, safe. However, it is a medical procedure and all medical procedures come with risks. 

For instance, side effects like pelvic infections, discomfort, and cramping may be reported after the egg is retrieved from the woman. In some cases, side effects may be serious and include ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), kidney failure, or blood clots.

When the embryo transfer takes place, mild cramping may also happen. In rare, serious cases,  infection may occur. 

While not always a safety concern, IVF is commonly associated with multiples (i.e. twins, triplets, or more). Multiple pregnancies can end up producing additional risks to the mother.


Cost is one of the main barriers for people who are considering IVF treatment. This is because, in almost all cases, IVF is not covered by insurance. In fact, it’s estimated that only 25% of people who seek IVF treatment are actually able to afford the process. 

When all is said and done, all of the consultations, tests, ultrasounds, procedures, and appointments with doctors add up to about $12,000 and $15,000. And this is just the price per cycle. For couples who end up repeating the cycle, they could end up paying a significant out-of-pocket average. 

Unfortunately, getting an egg donor, assisted hatching, or using any other technologies like PGT or ICSI end up making the treatment significantly more expensive. 

Success Rate

Generally speaking, IVF is successful. A recent study put its success rate at just under 30%, which is actually pretty similar to a natural pregnancy cycle with a fertile man and woman. As could be expected, if a couple repeats the IVF treatment cycle, they’re more likely to end up with a healthy pregnancy. 

While there are some factors that play a role (i.e. age, the reason for the infertility), a birth rate of 65.3% has been reported for several, repeated IVF cycles over a two-year period.

Final Thoughts

We hope that this answered some of your questions about IVF. If you’re going through the process, we wish you all the best!