Hormonal imbalance can affect males and females. Risk factors are poor diet, stressful lifestyle as well as the declining popularity of the physical activity, as a result, more and more men and women develop hormonal imbalance regardless of age. The effects of hormonal imbalance become severe and harder to treat as one grows older. Since the symptoms develop gradually, it is difficult to diagnose initially, until the hormonal imbalance turns out to be serious and leads to ailments or health complications such as PCOS (affects women).
What is PCOS?
It is an endocrine disorder. The endocrine system involves various glands which release hormones responsible for many important body functions, for example, the ability of the body to convert calories into energy. Additionally, it influences how the heart beats and the ability to conceive. In PCOS, the sex hormones like progesterone and estrogen are out of balance.
Signs and symptoms of the disorder range from one woman to another; if ten females with the disorder are put together and requested to list down their symptoms, higher chances are that the signs will be different. Some will complain of obesity or weight gain, but others are actually lean. A number of them will experience hair falling out, but others will say their hair is growing at a speedy rate and in rare places. A good number may have polycystic ovaries while the rest will not have a single ovarian cyst. In short, the signs of the ailment are totally different from one female to the other. However, the main symptom that is similar in every woman is irregular or absent periods. Polycystic ovary syndrome is a troublesome condition and if the treatment such as Letrozole for PCOS isn’t given early, it can cause health complications like:
- Heart disease
- Uterine cancer
- High blood pressure
So, early diagnosis and taking Letrozole may help in controlling the signs and symptoms to curb long-term problems.
Letrozole and PCOS
Letrozole isn’t a cure for PCOS; it only improves the symptoms and prevents or minimizes the occurrence of health conditions listed previously. Irregular periods and ovulation are signs of PCOS as earlier indicated, most of the times when a couple has tried to conceive for a one year if below the age of 35 years and for six months if above 35 years. The next action is to visit a fertility expert, during the physical examination; it’s when PCOS may be diagnosed and can be the cause of the inability to conceive for the couple and this is when the physician prescribes Letrozole for PCOS.
But what is Letrozole? It is an aromatase inhibitor which works by preventing the conversion of androgen hormone to estrogen hormone; it inhibits estrogen synthesis. It is available in 2.5 mg strength. The FDA has approved the medication for the treatment of cancer; however, doctors prescribe the drug after Clomid has failed to restore ovulation in women with PCOS or they can’t tolerate the side effects of Clomid. Medics believe Clomid takes a longer time to clear from the system when compared to Letrozole, hence can have adverse effects on the lining of the womb and the cervical mucus, yet they have critical roles in fertilization and pregnancy.
The starting dose of Letrozole is 2.5 mg to induce ovulation, which is given on the third day or the fifth day of the menstrual cycle and taken for five days consequently. If there isn’t positive response, the fertility specialist may increase the dose to 5 mg or 7 mg taken daily. As a result of the drug, levels of estrogen are suppressed because Letrozole inhibits the aromatase enzyme. In response, the pituitary gland increases the production of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), which leads to the development of mature follicles in the ovary and ovulation takes place. This process is referred to as ovulation induction. So, ovulation is regulated and chances of conception become high. The physician may order blood tests or ultrasounds to be done to determine when one is about to ovulate.
The medical care provider may recommend using Letrozole and intrauterine insemination together to better the chances of achieving a pregnancy. The two have been successful and helped many fulfill dreams of becoming parents. If a woman is insulin resistant, it means her cells aren’t making use of the insulin hormone available and the high blood sugar levels may accumulate and a woman may be in a state of pre-diabetes. In pre-diabetes, the sugar levels are high, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes, in such a scenario, Metformin may be prescribed to lower blood sugar levels.
While on the Letrozole drug for fertility, one may encounter side effects such as:
- Weight gain
- Muscle or bone pain
- Hot flashes
It’s crucial to note that the medication shouldn’t be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Before the doctor puts you on Letrozole for PCOS, a pregnancy test is done to rule out pregnancy. Once you conceive while on the drug, inform the medical care provider since you have to stop taking it.
Other Ways to Improve Symptoms of PCOS
Apart from taking Letrozole to induce ovulation, the fertility expert will advise a patient to do the following:
- Lose weight – a majority of the women are overweight or obese, thus, losing some pounds is likely to aid in balancing out your hormones and regulates the menstrual cycle and ovulation. Take note, obesity can lead to infertility. Find out if you have a healthy weight by calculating body mass index (BMI). A normal BMI ranges between18.5 to 24.9.
- Engage in regular physical activity at least five times per week to get to the normal BMI. Even though you aren’t overweight, exercise is important for the general health. Nevertheless, exercise in moderation and don’t go below the normal BMI.
- Eat healthy foods rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and dairy products but with low fat. Bear in mind water consumption is vital as well.
- If a smoker, it’s the time to consider quitting. Think of this: females who are smokers have elevated levels of androgens than those who don’t smoke.
You have the relevant information on PCOS and Letrozole as well as the natural remedies which can be beneficial in relieving signs and symptoms of PCOS.