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Path To Fertility Blogger Lisa Rosenthal  

Lisa Rosenthal has over twenty-five years of experience in the fertility field, including her current roles as Coordinator of Professional and Patient Communications for RMACT and teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a class designed to support, comfort and enhance men and women's sense of self. Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association, where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director

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Grateful for Fertility Patients Letting Us In~Monica Moore, MSN, RNC

  
  
  

A Thanksgiving Offering to Fertility Patients

gratitude to fertility patientsPathtoFertility is a team effort. A Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut team effort.  Here's a blog by one of our most beloved team members, Nurse Practioner, Monica Moore. One of the most read blogs in the last four years was a blog that she wrote about how it felt to be "on the other end of the negative pregnancy test phone call". Today's blog is about gratitude. Me, I'm grateful for Monica for putting together her thoughts in such an eloquent and poignant way to share with us all. ~Lisa Rosenthal

*************

 

It’s Thanksgiving week, and I was speaking to one of my sweet and beautiful patients who had just been told that she had no normal embryos to transfer post Comprehensive Chromosome Screening (CCS) cycle.

 

Happy Thanksgiving.

 

Of course, we were both upset at the results, but, true to her character, she accepted the results graciously, even taking the time during this difficult and emotionally charged conversation to thank me and Dr. Hurwitz for our role in her care. Unbelievable that she would think of us when our role lately seems to be only that of harbinger of bad news.

 

First, a little background. (She was asked and gave permission for me to share her story anonymously.) She married late in life, not finding her true partner until she was 39.They quickly realized that they would need help creating their family, so she came in for her initial consult at age 40. Luckily, she was able to achieve a pregnancy as a result of an IVF cycle, and her little boy is now almost 2 and the center of their busy lives.

 

Knowing that she wanted more children, she returned to see us at age 42, and was told that she “had the ovaries of a younger woman,” that is, she had many follicles and blood markers that indicate good ovarian function. She completed her first IVF cycle with CCS and it was found that she had no normal embryos. She wanted to do another cycle right away, but it was financially a challenge as her insurance was not covering any of these cycles due to her age. She was able to ask for a loan from a family member, and completed another cycle, where the embryos made never made it to the blastocyst stage and were unable to be biopsied. The most recent cycle was only able to occur as a result of her taking out a loan against her 401k in order to finance it and, as stated above, no normal embryos.

 

Apparently her “younger” ovaries were deceiving us. They looked younger by clinical markers but were not making good quality, chromosomally normal embryos.

 

What next? This is a smart lady in the medical field, able to easily understand the language of fertility treatment. Dr Hurwitz has reviewed all of the stats and the numbers with her, she knows the chance of achieving a healthy pregnancy with her own eggs is low and, at this point, she and her husband do not want to utilize donor eggs.

 

Problem is that she is a person, not a compilation of numbers and statistics. An amazing, giving person with feelings and desires who is also a great mom. She deserves to have another baby. We discussed her options and she realizes that if she went to a bank to ask for money for an investment, that her “rate of return” would be low in this case. But what is the risk of not trying? How do you quantify that? Would she always wonder “what if?” It’s just money, right? What about the fact that she is using money that she would be using for her existing family (college funds, home repairs) to finance the potential for another child. How does she reconcile that in her decision-making process?

 

At the end of our conversation she asked me the question, “What would you do if you were me? If I was your sister or your friend”? I actually consider her a friend, we have known each other a few years, shared feelings and thoughts and my suggestions are important to her decision-making. I can hear her pain and understand that she doesn’t feel that her family is complete, but I also know the financial and emotional investment that she has made for the past 2 years and see the toll this is taking on her.

 

I told her that I honestly didn’t know (not helpful, I realize). I can’t possibly know what it feels like to have to make this kind of decision, but what I do know is how it feels to be inadequate. All my years of experience and degrees from school haven’t prepared me to make her dream come true. What I can do, though, and what I plan to do, is to help her through this process, regardless of outcome.

 

It takes courage to open up and share feelings and experiences.

 

I will admit that even if we are not experiencing your exact experience, we share your sense of helplessness.  

 

So this message is a tribute to her and others like her who let us into their lives and invite us to be part of their very personal journeys.

 

We are grateful.

 

Monica Moore

~Monica Moore MSN, RNC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Infertility Heroes- Here's Mine for This Week

  
  
  

This may have to become a weekly standard.

 

Who's my fertility hero this week?Infertility Nurse Practitioner, Monica Moore - Infertility Hero

 

That's easy.

 

She's a nurse practitioner, who's been with Reproductive Medicine Associates of CT for many years.

 

She's the person who you ask for help from, get advice from and count on getting ideas without even having to ask.

 

She's the person who comes up with new ways to support patients and then teaches the staff on how to learn those new ways.

 

She's the one who emails you on Sunday because she wanted to share what a patient experienced  and talked to her about the night before. Saturday night, when she took the time out of her private life to speak with a patient who needed help.

 

She's the one who goes to the medical, professional meetings and speaks about how to improve the experience at an infertility practice because of the respect that she has in the professional community. 

 

She's the one who without fail, makes everyone around her feel at ease, even in the most uncomfortable, painful situations. Somehow, she manages these types of situations with grace.

 

While she is a comforting person, she doesn't hesitate to say what needs to be said. Even when it's bad news,  she always delivers the message in a way that feels loving. 

 

Perhaps the part that always feels remarkable is her ability to suspend judgement. She is able to listen and respond without pointing her finger at anyone. She helps each of us do our best and supports the effort without judging the outcome. 

 

Monica Moore is my infertility hero today. She will be physically leaving RMACT, but will continue to work closely with our staff, from a new home. While we will all miss her physical presence, luckily, we will not have to miss her.

 

All of us are looking forward to seeing the new ways that she will create to continue the important work that she does at RMACT. 

 

We hope that her landing in her new home is soft and sweet. And she knows that our hearts and best wishes are with her and her family.

Infertility Nurse Practitioner, Monica Moore, from RMACT

 

 

 

 

Infertility Basics- PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) Month-Tips From Expert

  
  
  

Infertility Basics- PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) Month

It's Labor Day, the unofficial end of the summer.

 

It's also PCOS month. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome month. PCOS is a leading cause of infertility.

 

We'll hear more about it as the month goes on, from many of our medical professionals, including Carolyn Gundell MS (RMACT Nutritionist)PCOS Nutritionist, Carolyn Gundell MS, from RMACT gives help about PCOS, Monica Moore MSN, RNC (RMACT's nurse practitioner). These two professionals, along with our board certified reproductive endocrinologists, are helping women find ways to thrive with PCOS, not simply endure this sophisticated endocrine disorder.

 

Here are a few ways RMACT is offering support during PCOS month:


Come for an interactive wellness seminar on genetics, nutrition, The Fertility Diet™ and fertility secrets for preconception, meal planning & shopping. Healthy lifestyle behaviors will also be addressed.  This seminar will give each couple a nutritional edge before you conceive and health tips to support fertility treatment.


Seminars led by Carolyn Gundell, MS & Monica Moore, MSN, RN PCOS  Expert, Monica Moore RNC, MSN, from RMACT runs seminars about PCOS



Saturday,  September  10th at  8:15  AM    RMACT Norwalk, CT   Free Seminar

Improving Preconception Health, PCOS with the Fertility Diet

Raffle Gifts for PCOS Month




Tuesday  September 20th at  7:00  PM        RMACT Danbury    Free Seminar

The Fertility Diet & PCOS

Raffle gifts for PCOS Month



 

These interactive seminars are helpful to all women who are struggling with infertility, even those without PCOS as they are geared towards enhancing fertility and decreasing the possibility of infertility.

 

Here is a hint and an affirmation for the day from Carolyn:

 
PCOS Tip of the Day:


Regular, moderate physical activity


•    can help to increase insulin sensitivity,
•    can help to regulate ovulation,
•    can help to improve fertility.

Affirmation:
“I’d like to trust in a journey that I don’t understand.”
Anonymous

 

Leading Infertility Program in CT- Offers Patients Support, Education and More

  
  
  

Leading Infertility Program in CT- Offers Patients Education, Support and More

There's barely enough room to list all the goings on at RMACT for August. The response, your response, patients and none patients, has been so positive that we are offering even more.

Read below for what we are offering in August to support people who are experiencing infertility or endocrine disorders.

Some of the seminars are for active patients in the RMACT practice, but most are open to the general public.

RMACTPre-Conception Health & Nutrition Matters
Fertility Seminar Series

RMA of CT is providing interactive educational seminars as part of our comprehensive approach to fertility treatment.  Led by Monica Moore, MSN, RNC  and Carolyn Gundell, MS Nutritionist, this series provides essential health, medical and nutrition information to our patients to increase fertility , optimize maternal health and lay the foundation for a safe and uncomplicated pregnancy and of course, a healthy baby.  All seminars are held at our Norwalk office and require a reservation.  Each topic meets just once.  Seminars are covered by insurance, but please bring co-payment in the form of cash, check or credit card. Active patients of RMACT only.

RMACTPre-Conception Wellness Matters
Health and lifestyle changes made prior to pregnancy help to increase fertility, reduce complications in pregnancy and delivery, and help to improve the health of the baby.   Participants will learn how to optimize their health prior to conception through prevention and management of medical, behavioral, and social risks to a woman’s health and pregnancy outcome.  Prenatal nutrition, environmental concerns, and the health of both partners will be discussed.Active patients of RMACT only.
Saturday, August 6th 8:15am – 10:00am

RMACT

 PCOS & YOU:  Teens to 20’s

An Interactive Group for Young Women with PCOS
Monday Evening July 11th 6:00-7:30 pm

Monday Evening August 8th 6:00-7:30 pm
Location: 898 Ethan Allen Highway

Suite 5   Second floor

Ridgefield, CT (near Danbury line Rte 7/35)

Topic: PCOS – Diagnosis & Beyond

o Did you feel disbelief and confusion when you were diagnosed with PCOS?

o Do you feel that PCOS and stress have taken over your daily life?

o Are you struggling to look good and feel happy?

o Would you like to learn more about PCOS meal planning and exercise?

This peer group will be facilitated by Jane Elisofon, M.S.W. Clinical Social Worker & Carolyn Gundell, RMA Nutritionist
RSVP at the Front Desk or with Justine or Melissa 203-750-7484

http://tbs-demo.com/rmact

Free Admission
Healthy light refreshments included

RMACTI am Pregnant, Now What?
This seminar will discuss the key components of a health-promoting lifestyle during pregnancy–including appropriate maternal weight gain, physical activity, essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals, environmental toxins and risks, and food safety.   A few common concerns and frequently asked questions in pregnancy will be identified along with ideas on how to manage or minimize them with diet and lifestyle–from morning sickness, constipation, anemia and maternal weight, to gestational diabetes and hypertension.  Both partners are welcome to attend. Active patients of RMACT only.

Wednesday, August 10th 4:00pm – 5:30pm

Please call Justine at 203-750-7484 or Soochi at 203-750-7425 to make your seminar reservation.

RMACT

Starting a Family as a Lesbian Couple

Wednesday, August 10th, 6:00-7:30 p.m.
10 Glover Ave, Norwalk, CT

Please join us for a social and information gathering for same sex couples using donor sperm.

This is a chance to meet other couples who are building their families through sperm donation, and to discuss the issues that are unique to same sex couples in their family-building efforts.

This group is free of charge.  It is facilitated by Lisa Tuttle, PhD, clinical psychologist.  If you have any questions, please call Lisa at (203) 852-9099.

Light refreshments will be served.

RSVP to Cori at (203) 750-7492

RMACT

Starting a Family as a Single Woman

Thursday, August 18th, 6:00-7:30 p.m.
10 Glover Ave, Norwalk, CT

Please join us for a discussion group and social gathering for Single Women pursuing parenthood…or seriously thinking about it!

This is a chance to meet other women to talk about the decisions, anxieties, excitement and opportunities that you will face along the way to becoming a mother.

Possible topics may include:
•    choosing a sperm donor
•    talking to friends, family, and co-workers
•    creating a strong support system
•    what do I tell my child?
•    the stress of fertility treatment

This group is free of charge.  It is facilitated by Lisa Tuttle, PhD, clinical psychologist.  If you have any questions, please call Lisa at (203) 852-9099.

Light refreshments will be served.
RSVP to Cori at (203) 750-7492

RMACTRMA’S Norwalk  and Danbury Offices

Ladies Night in Summer Series

Come and meet the terrific group of women that gather monthly to share their stories, feelings, questions and laughs.Experience the relief of talking with other women who understand what you are going through. Build friendships that will be by your side throughout your family-building journey.

General Peer Support Group w/ Lisa & Carrie
Thursday, August 18th @6pm- Norwalk

Thursday, August 25 @6pm- Danbury

This group is free of charge and dinner is included.

It is facilitated by Lisa Rosenthal & Carrie Van Steen. Carrie and Lisa are both former fertility patients and offer the support and suggestions many of our patients are looking for and really need.

If you have any questions, call Carrie at 731.2520 ext 289. Or email her at cvansteen@rmact.com
RMACT


Fertile Yoga is Ongoing- Please check events calender for dates

Yoga, meditation and deep relaxation can help men and women experiencing the challenges of infertility. Yoga can help couples relax, and relaxation can help one make more satisfying decisions, communicate more clearly with their doctor, and sustain treatment with a more positive perspective.

 

We will be offering free yoga classes to our patients. The classes will be on-going and you may come every week or once in a while, whichever suits you. Come alone or bring your spouse, partner, friend of family member. In Norwalk, we will spend the first half hour as an informal peer support group, chatting and keeping in touch with one another.

 

Please wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing. Bring a yoga mat (bought easily and inexpensively almost anywhere including TJMaxx, Target, Walmart, etc.), a bottle of water and two pillows that can easily have the pillow cases changed. . Class is at 9:30 am so please, no food after 8:00.

 

Classes in Norwalk will begin at 10:00. From 9:30-10:00, we will have a peer support group meeting where there will be a chance to share experiences, lend support and find comfort from those experiencing similar feelings around the challenges of infertility. You are always welcome to join us at 9:30 or at 10:00.

 

Classes will be led by Lisa Rosenthal RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher). Lisa is a former fertility patient, who also worked for over 17 years as a national patient advocate for couples going through infertility. Lisa trained with Lotus Garden for her 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher, through Yoga Alliance. Lisa is uniquely qualified to understand the specific stresses and challenges that couples trying to conceive encounter. The class will be designed for women and men with all different diagnoses, being mindful that stress reduction is a major component to these classes.

Classes are Free

RMACT

Fertility Specialists In Fairfield County Offer Nutrition and Fertile Yoga

  
  
  

Friday text

Big weekend at Reproductive Medicine Associates of CT, starting with a seminar especially for those who are trying to conceive and are either in fertility treatment or are thinking about it. Carolyn and Monica are a dynamic team, offering helpful, specific guidance about how to make choices that will support your efforts to conceive.

 

Join us for an interactive nutrition discussion on

  • The Fertility Diet
  • Fertility Secrets to Meal Balancing
  • Reading Food Labels
  • Male and Female Body Composition

Fertility Success: Nutrition & Lifestyle Tools

 

Led by Carolyn Gundell, RMA Nutritionist and Monica Moore, MSN, RNC, we will also discuss how our lifestyle choices-from activity and sleep to stress- affect fertility.

 

Please visit our website or call to confirm date, time and/or location as they are subject to change.

 

8:15-9:45 in Norwalk

Please call Nina to reserve a seat at 203-750-7484

Free Admission


Followed by Fertile Yoga in Norwalk, Prenatal Yoga in Norwalk and Fertile Yoga in Brookfield.


Peer support group from 9:30-10:00, in Norwalk and then Fertile Yoga from 10-11:00, at 20 Glover Avenue.

 

If you haven't tried Fertile Yoga, make this the weekend to do so, I"d love to see you there! If fertility treatment or just dealing with infertility issues are making you feel tense and stressed out, come join us in the relaxation and guided meditation of Fertile Yoga.

 

Want to take a stroll afterwards? Join me from 11-11:30 for a walk outside, adding step to our day and chatting as we do so.

 

Prenatal Yoga- 11:45-12:45- whether you are just a few days into your pregnancy, ready to return to your OB/Gyn or farther along than that, please do join us for prenatal yoga. A class designed for those of you who may have had trouble conceiving or bringing a pregnancy to term.

 

For our Danbury and New York patients, Fertile Yoga meets at YogaSpace in Brookfield CT, from 5:15-6:30. 777 Federal Road (Route 202) in Brookfield.

Nutrition & Lifestyle Tools for Fertility Success

  
  
  

Monday Text

Reproductive Medicine Associates of CT is offering a seminar, tonight, in Danbury.We are going to learn about how to optimize our chances of conception in ways that we can actively participate in. We'll look at how our lifestyle can positively effect our fertility. We'll see if there are some changes and choices that we can make that might be healthier and we'll learn that our lifestyle can make a difference. Come join us!

 

Spring into a healthy and fertile lifestyle with knowledge learned in this seminar, led by Carolyn Gundell, RMA Nutritionist and Monica Moore, MSN, RNC.  Come join us for an interactive nutrition discussion on The Fertility Diet, fertility secrets for meal planning, and shopping for fertile foods. We will also discuss how lifestyle behaviors, such as activity, sleep and stress can affect fertility.

Danbury:             Monday March 21st 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

                           67 Sand Pit Road, Suite 300, Danbury, CT

 Norwalk:              Saturday March 26th 8:30 AM – 9:45 AM

                           10 Glover Avenue, Norwalk, CT

 Please call Nina to reserve a seat at 203-750-7484

 FREE ADMISSION

* Please visit our website or call to confirm date, time and/or location as they are subject to change. 

Pregnancy After Infertility- How to Move On

  
  
  

Tuesday text
We’ve been talking about getting pregnant at RMACT (Reproductive Medicine Associates of CT) a lot lately.When you are with a top fertility program it happens. Patients get pregnant.Pregnant belly You stay with us for a while but sooner than later, you transfer back to your OB/Gyn (Obstetrician/Gynecologist). Sometimes the transition is smooth as silk. Sometimes it is not.

 

When you are used to seeing your doctors or fertility team 2 or 3 times a week and you then go to seeing your OB/Gyn once a month, it can be a bit startling. Monica Moore, MSN & RNC, our nurse coordinator, will be addressing that in this blog soon.

 

We  want to address a different part of moving on after you have an established pregnancy. Pre-natal yoga. RMACTis being gracious enough to offer up the space for our patients or any students who may feel perhaps more vulnerable than other pregnant women about going to a typical class. Lisa Tuttle, PhD, our mental health professional at RMACT, reminded me recently, that it is most typical that our patients, YOU, go on to have healthy, normal pregnancies and babies.

 

We  also know that our patients  aren’t always so sure that’s what’s going to happen when they  get pregnant. So we want to make the landing softer with our transition programs.

 

Pre-natal yoga will be a series of classes offered to our patients who have had positive pregnancy tests and feel ready to leave Fertile Yoga. For some of you that may be five minutes after you have that positive pregnancy test. For others, it may be several weeks before you move on.

 

Here’s how it will work. Pre-Natal Yoga will be offered from 11:45-12:45 at 20 Glover Avenue, same location as Fertile Yoga. Classes will be sold in packages of four week sessions for forty dollars per session, ten dollars per class. If you are interested in more details or would like to take this class, please leave a comment on this blog. The comments come directly to me, they will not post automatically, nor will I post them.

 

For those of you ready to join the pre-natal class, rest assured that my yoga training contained extensive information about pre-natal yoga and I’ve taught many classes in this area over the last three years. I’ll bring the same gentle approach to pre-natal classes that I’ve brought to Fertile Yoga, with more emphasis on safe movement.

 

For those of you not ready for pre-natal yoga, please do join us in Fertile Yoga. The pre-natal classes were created because of the need, because of the pregnancies occurring. They do happen, and not only to everyone else. There may very well be a pregnancy waiting for you in the future.

 

When that happens, we are here to help you in those vulnerable next steps.

 

 

Comfort with Your Fertility Team

  
  
  

Thursday text
Finding the miraculous in the familiar and ordinary. I’m about to go visit San Francisco. It will be the 48th visit there. Uh huh, at some point, I started to keep track, because, well, it started to be almost funny. We lived there for a year while my father did his fellowship; that was when I was in Kindergarten. Then family and close friends moved there and there was American Express Student Vouchers. Four times a year, I could fly round trip for $99. So I went to San Francisco four times a year for four years. It was like going to a second home.

 

Strange how my brain makes connections. Sorry to drag you along behind me on some of those voyages. I started writing because I’m sitting in the airport, on the only clear day of the week (so happy, no snow today!) and here’s where my brain went. To you. Yes, really.

 

Reproductive Medicine Associates of CT as a second home? I know what you’re thinking. I really do. The second home that you never wanted to be in, that you desperately want to be done with. I hear from you, though, over and over again, how hard it is to leave. How the RMACT team becomes family, offers support, help, medical information at almost any time, superb high tech protocols and more. How hard it is to leave pregnant, and not have the reassurance every few days that everything is ok, that the pregnancy is progressing well, thriving.

 

Monica Moore, our nurse practitioner extraordinaire, is taking this on. She is writing a blog for us, published soon, about transitioning to your Obstetrician (OB/Gyn). Lisa Tuttle, PhD, is tackling this as well, in both a blog here at some point as well as speaking directly to other doctors. In addition, RMACT is creating a presentation, being offered by Dr. Tuttle along with one of our wonderful nurses, which will help to ease the transition from our practice to your OB/Gyn. That presentation will be offered once a month to our patients that have had a positive pregnancy test or are ready to transition to their OB/Gyns.

 

I think this is where the familiar and the miraculous do meet up and get cozy. To an OB/gyn, they are familiar with pregnancy. It is part of their ordinary day. To you and I? It is a miracle. A miracle that we barely dared to hope for or believe was really true. And how do the familiar and ordinary meet the miraculous?

In an OB/Gyn’s office. Of course they are familiar with pregnancy. We want them to be. We want them to know all the in’s and out’s, and have this be so familiar that it’s almost ordinary. But talk to your OB’Gyn about the miracle that it is to you and you will find that it is for them as well. Being an OB/Gyn is not an easy road. Lots of time spent on call- having to be available in the middle of the night, for the whole night. Ob/Gyn’s don’t do what they do because of the great hours. And I won’t even mention malpractice rates. They do it because ultimately as familiar as birth and pregnancy are for them, they also understand it’s a miracle.

 

One more thing. On January 29th, from 11:45-12:45, I will be offering the first ever Fertile Yoga Pre-Natal class at 20 Glover Avenue in Norwalk! RMACT is very excited to be able to offer their space for this very special class. Details will be following in the coming week.

Monica Moore MSN RNC, Top Fertility Nurse Speaks About PCOS

  
  
  

Wednesday text
PCOS, polycystic ovarian syndrome, is a common, but confusing endocrine condition. It is characterized by menstrual cycle irregularity, absent (anovulation) or infrequent ovulation, and an excess of androgens (male hormones) that cause acne, unwanted facial hair growth and hair thinning. It also predisposes that people who have it to diabetes, high cholesterol, and other risks. Although PCOS can’t be “cured”, it can be managed by making some simple lifestyle changes.

As stated above, PCOS is very common, about 5-10% of women who are of reproductive age, have it. What is now known is that PCOS is a condition caused by insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can lead to abnormally high levels of circulating blood glucose (sugar) which can lead to serious health problems such as type 2 diabetes, elevated cholesterol and high blood pressure.

I, like many other patients with PCOS, saw multiple practitioners to treat my symptoms. I saw a dermatologist for my skin; a GYN due to missed periods and had laser hair removal. When I wanted to attempt pregnancy, I saw a reproductive endocrinologist who did a vaginal ultrasound and showed me the multiple tiny cysts on my ovaries which are characteristic of PCOS. When I was given  this diagnosis, I was initially disheartened. I didn’t want to be told that I would have to deal with this disease for the rest of my life. I then realized that it was actually a relief to have a name to the symptoms that I was experiencing, and I set about reading as much as I could about PCOS.

Fast-forward 10 years,  when I decided to become a fertility nurse. I now know, and try to explain to patients who have PCOS, that I would much rather have this diagnosis than many other infertility diagnoses. One reason is that it is well-known that anovulation is one of the easiest infertility factors to treat.  Many patients with PCOS get pregnant with minimal fertility treatments. In addition, most of the infertility factors, such as blocked fallopian tubes, fibroids or endometriosis, cannot be improved by lifestyle changes. I have found that this can cause a sense of helplessness and frustration in the patients who experience them.  The negative consequences of PCOS, on the other hand, can be somewhat lessened by employing certain, reasonable strategies, enabling patients to be proactive in their own care.

Approximately 70% of people with PCOS are overweight and the condition itself makes losing weight even harder than it already is. One reason is that the hormones which regulate hunger and fullness are imbalanced. Someone with PCOS might still feel hungry after a regular-sized meal, for example. Also, people with PCOS crave carbohydrates, usually simple carbs such as bread and sweets, which signal the pancreas to release high levels of insulin and the cycle perpetuates itself.

On a positive note, studies show that even a modest weight loss can effectively lower the risks of the serious medical conditions and can alleviate some of the PCOS-related symptoms listed earlier. A weight loss of just 5% of your current weight will go a long way towards restoring ovulation and your menstrual period.  If  you are not attempting pregnancy, going on certain birth control pills can help to control the excess androgens in your system. They may help acne resolve and prevent new body hair from growing. They will not, though, get rid of existing body hair, but many people have success using lasers or electrolysis for this. Some patients require medication to increase their body’s sensitivity to insulin.  It is called metformin (or glucophage) and is only prescribed if you have insulin or sugar problems- it is not a wonder drug that makes PCOS go away.   Whether you  need this medication or not, here are some simple things that you can do to improve the quality of your health and improve the chances of conceiving:

1) Meet with a nutritionist who specializes in PCOS or insulin-resistance, or attend a nutrition seminar. People with PCOS need to eat differently than others, since their hunger signals don’t work properly. There are easy ways to improve your diet, such as eating small meals frequently, and assuring that each meal contains a healthy mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and “good” fat component.  A nutritionist will help you plan your meals and read labels to find healthy food choices.

2) Exercise. Don’t be daunted by the need to exercise for long periods of time every day. Even short, frequent sessions of exercise can be helpful. Try to incorporate activity  in your daily life, such as walking to an employee’s desk instead of sending an e-mail or walking outside with a pet instead of just letting it outside into your backyard. Some researchers suggest that the amount of inactivity daily is just as important as the amount of activity, so trying to move around often can help. Find an activity that you like and is fun, such as dance classes or a dance video that you can do at home.   Try to make “appointments” to exercise, such as a class you pay for, or plan on meeting a friend at the gym.

3) Find ways to manage stress. Your body responds to stress by releasing a cascade of hormones. One of these is cortisol, which can lead to abdominal fat. The other is epinephrine, which triggers the liver to release glucose into the bloodstream to be used for emergencies. When there is no emergency, this glucose remains and prompts the pancreas to release insulin. Join a support group. Try to incorporate some form of a mind-body approach in your every day life. For some people, that can be yoga, acupuncture, acupressure, Reiki or just meditating on your own. Even adopting a sense of mindfulness can help, such as really noticing your food or reflecting on how beautiful a sunny deal feels or a fall day smells..etc.

4) Get more sleep! Lack of sleep can increase the signals for hunger and increase your appetite.  The National Center for Health Statistics found that obesity was much more common in people who got less than 6 hours of sleep per night.  There are some resources available, such as your local hospital’s Sleep Clinic, which can assist you in obtaining good-quality sleep.

5) Comprehensive care for PCOS is paramount. This condition is multi-faceted and may require the participation of multiple health-care providers, such as your OB/GYN, dermatologist, reproductive endocrinologist and internist, but this can also lead to fragmented care in which one physician is not aware of what the other is doing.

Most importantly, realize that the diagnosis of PCOS if surmountable. Small, manageable steps can make a big difference!

Why is September PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) Month?

  
  
  

Tuesday text
It’s PCOS month. For those of you unsure of what PCOS stands for, it’s Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. It’s a very common endocrine disorder that affects millions of women in ways that are far reaching and sometimes confusing. It doesn’t mean that you will not have a baby or not become pregnant, but it can mean that it will be more difficult or that you will need some help.

PCOS is not always identified easily by doctors. One can have PCOS like symptoms that mimic other disorders. Sometimes PCOS can be easily diagnosed by physical, visible markers and sometimes it cannot.

One aspect of PSCO is that it is one of the causes of infertility that you, as a patient, can have a significant impact on. Responsible exercise and eating with PCOS can make real differences in terms of outcome of fertility treatment, health of pregnancy and health in general.  

Tomorrow’s blog, by RMACT’s Nurse Practitioner Monica Moore, M.S.N, R.N.C. is an overview of what you might expect if you have PCOS symptoms or have been diagnosed with PCOS.Monica Moore, MSN & RNC

Monica was recently interviewed by Fertility Authority as Nurse of the Month. Here’s a small piece of what she had to say:

“You can’t ignore food,” says Moore, who is also the nurse liaison with the on-staff nutritionist at RMA of Connecticut. As a result, many of the patients she works with have a relationship with the nutritionist as well. Moore may, for example, consult with a patient who needs the nutritionist’s help to lower her BMI. Or a woman with polycystic ovaries may consult with Moore after they’ve seen the fertility doctor, to talk about ways to relieve stress and look at other non-medical alternatives they can do in addition to their treatment. (Because she’s a nurse practitioner, she can consult with patients one-on-one.)

Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut is hosting the following seminar to join in the recognition of PCOS month.

Living and Thriving with PCOS
Led by Carolyn Gundell, MSCarolyn Gundell, MS and Diana D’Amelio, RPA-C, this seminar will focus on the underlying causes of PCOS, its impact on physical and emotional health and how weight and activity can affect hormone and insulin levels as well as how they assist in weight management, reduce cholesterol levels and help to increase fertility.
Saturday, September 25, from 11-12:30

In October, Carolyn Gundell, MS, will be leading Grocery Store Tours in both Norwalk and Danbury, specifically designed to help you make healthier choices when shopping.

For the remainder of September, we will be posting a blog on PCOS on both Tuesday and Wednesday. Please let us know if there is a specific aspect that you would like addressed. Questions that you have can be answered. All comments that you make can be anonymous, if you so choose.

 

 

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