Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) & Intimacy: Part Three: Living with PCOS, Common Questions & Intimacy

Being diagnosed with PCOS can causes many sudden life and lifestyle changes. It can also cause a disconnect from the self with the numerous body changes that occur, both physically and mentally.

One of the best ways to begin to relieve some of your PCOS symptoms is to lose any extra weight and work to learn how to exercise regularly. Even the smallest amounts of weight lost can help to re-regulate hormone levels which can help to regulate your menstrual cycle.

If you are struggling with excess hair growth or acne hindering your confidence, cosmetic treatments or working with a dermatologist might help.

Common Questions about PCOS

These are some of the more commonly asked questions about PCOS.

  • Is polycystic ovarian syndrome genetic?
    • There are still numerous research studies being conducted to prove or disprove the link. There have been some studies that returned data suggesting there is a link.
  • Can I get pregnant with PCOS?
    • Yes, you can get pregnant while having PCOS. PCOS can make it very challenging to conceive and put you at risk for certain pregnancy complications. Your doctor will work with you upon a positive pregnancy test to determine the best outcome for your situation.
  • What hormones affect PCOS?
    • Females with PCOS have a hormonal imbalance that disrupts the menstrual cycle, ovulation, and possibly conception. Hormones are an intricate part of the female body make-up and the reproductive system relies heavily on homeostasis. The hormones that play a role are:
      • Androgens (testosterone and androstenedione)
      • Luteinizing hormone
      • Follicle-stimulating hormone
      • Estrogen
      • Progesterone
      • Insulin
  • What is the difference between PCOS and endometriosis?
    • PCOS and endometriosis are both linked to ovarian cysts and infertility but are different conditions. Endometriosis is a condition where the lining of the uterus grows in other places like your ovaries, vagina, or fallopian tubes. It can cause extreme pelvic pain or severe menstrual cramps. Females with PCOS have irregular periods, unpredictable ovulation, and many other physical side effects, including pain.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and Sexual Intimacy

Sexual intimacy is a vital part of human life. Sexual intimacy helps us in various ways, from burning calories, reducing cardiovascular risk, improving memory, boosting the immune system, and even science tells us how good it is for our mental health. Sex and intimacy do not always come easily for those females struggling with PCOS.

PCOS is known to alter and affect libido and sexual satisfaction. Infrequent periods, hair growth, acne, and weight gain are some of the tell-tale signs of the condition. The physical and mental changes can alter a female’s life. If you are having trouble being intimate with yourself or your partner, talk with your medical care team to address these issues. There are many options for reclaiming your intimacy needs.

PCOS and the Sex Drive

Polycystic ovarian syndrome affects the sex drive due to the side effects. They are:

  • Body Image issues. For female, intimacy and sexual are often hinged on their self-image, body image, and overall mental outlook. These issues often cause issues for many:
    • Loss of femininity
    • Feeling less sexually attractive
    • Self-consciousness and dissatisfaction with appearance
  • Hormonal Contraceptives. For many females, hormone treatment works well to ease the symptoms of PCOS. For others, it also hinders their libido and sexual desires, while lowering their overall sexual satisfaction. Know there is a chance with hormonal contraceptives that your libido could be affected.
  • Fertility problems. PCOS is the leading cause of fertility in females, and certain conditions like obesity exacerbate the problem.
  • Hormonal imbalances. Females with PCOS often have high androgens, which can lessen sexual desires and drive. Other females face dyspareunia, or pain with sexual activity, and anorgasmia- the loss of the ability to reach climax.
  • Irregular periods. The hormone imbalance caused by PCOS creates irregular cycles and ovulation. Most female struggle to track their cycles or know what to expect. Some females experience bleeding in between periods or with penetrative sexual intercourse. Others might bleed heavily for weeks at a time without medical intervention.

What can be done to improve intimacy?

  • Manage your PCOS: Losing weight through diet and exercise and changing other lifestyle factors can reduce PCOS symptoms and normalize your menstrual cycle.
  • Avoid comparisons: The habit of comparing yourself to others (whether online or in person) can actually increase body dissatisfaction. People come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s important to work on your self-love, self-acceptance and confidence.
  • Build your sexual confidence: Pay attention to your feelings and needs. Explore your sexual interests and communicate your sexual desires with your partner.
  • Seek emotional support from your partner: Women with partners who are critical of their partner’s appearance are more likely to have a negative body image. A partner who understands your needs to feel desirable or loved boosts your sexual confidence, which can lead to higher relationship satisfaction.

If you are suffering from the intimacy and sexual related side effects of polycystic ovarian syndrome, reach out to your medical care team for an evaluation of your medical care plan and treatment. Or reach out to one of our Reclaiming Intimacy specialists for tips of how to restore your libido and sexual function with holistic therapies and devices.

Resources Used:

Reclaiming Intimacy



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