Infertility Week: Diet changes to fight infertility

Diet changes to fight infertility

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - A baby shower for Megan McCrory is a remarkable achievement after thinking for years that she may never be able to have children based on her family history.

She says her sister was diagnosed with PCOS and ended up adopting a child.

Megan learned 15 years ago that she also had PCOS.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a condition that typically leaves 3 clues:

- the cycles are very unpredictable, sometimes very far apart.

- it may also trigger troublesome acne or unwanted hair growth on the face or chin. .

- the eggs may be in the wrong place, as shown by an ultrasound.

Dr. Jennifer Phy is a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine’s Center for Fertility and Reproductive Surgery.

She also trained at the Mayo Clinic, studying PCOS, one of the most common reasons for infertility. She says that in working with a dietitian, a new theory has evolved; that women with PCOS also struggle to process certain foods like grains and dairy products. She began studies on a diet that might improve the odds of pregnancy among these women. She says, “I had some patients really struggling to get pregnant with traditional fertility treatments and I encouraged them, you know, let’s just try. Let’s see what happens by eliminating the grains and dairy. When they did, they became pregnant when the other treatments hadn’t worked. It was such a surprise. it was like a miracle.”

Megan McCrory was diagnosed with PCOS 15 years ago, knowing that it was in the family. She says, “My oldest sister was unable to have children, and was diagnosed with PCOS. She ended up adopting a child.”

However, Megan is now awaiting the birth of her first child, a baby girl.

She is not a patient of Dr. Phy but she, too, was advised to lose weight to improve her odds of getting pregnant, despite PCOS. Dr. Phy has said that her PCOS diet has helped women lose an average of 19 pounds in 8 weeks, improving the odds of pregnancy.

Megan says, “Whenever we found out that we were going to have a baby, it was very surreal. That may be the biggest thing, because having PCOS, you go your whole life knowing that it may not be a possibility.”

The National Infertility Association created National Infertility Awareness Week (April 19-23 this year) to empower women to change the conversation and misconceptions about infertility.

Dr. Phy hopes that women who struggle with infertility will dismiss the effort as hopeless but talk to their doctors to learn what might work best for them.

Megan McCrory is a perfect example of someone who is expecting the unexpected because she explored the possibilities.

Note: for a link to the diet app developed by Dr. Phy and her team at TTUHSC, go to PCOS-diet.com.

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