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PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)- DID YOU KNOW?

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PCOS, short for polycystic ovarian syndrome is a disease we keep hearing about now and then. Recent studies show that 1 in every 5 women in India suffer from PCOS. This, as you can see is a very high number which calls for more awareness of this disease which can be easily controlled by diet and lifestyle changes.

What is PCOS?

PCOS is a condition associated with hormonal imbalance in the women of reproductive age group. In this condition there are many cysts which develop in the ovaries thus hampering ovulation and leading to infertility. Also, there is increased production of male hormone (testosterone), insulin resistance and all these collectively causing an array of symptoms in the patients.

PCOS is one of the most common cause of infertility in women. There is no specific etiology but studies have shown that genetics may play a role.

What are the signs and symptoms?

  • Irregular periods; heavy cycles or irregular gap between the cycles.
  • Abnormal hair distribution like on the face (hirsutism), chest, inner aspects of the thigh.
  • Thinning of hair and male pattern of baldness.
  • Acne.
  • Weight gain and difficulty in losing weight.
  • Mood swings, anxiety and depression.

What may go wrong with me?

  • Diabetes mellitus.
  • Infertility
  • Gestational diabetes or pregnancy induced hypertension
  • Sleep apnea
  • Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis — a severe liver inflammation caused by fat accumulation in the liver
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Endometrial cancer

How is this disease diagnosed?

  • Serum Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)
  • Serum Luteinizing hormone (LH)
  • Serum Estrogen
  • Serum Progesterone
  • Serum Testosterone
  • Sex hormone binding globulin.
  • Anti Mullerian hormone (AMH)
  • Androstenedione

OTHER BLOOD TESTS:

  • Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH)
  • Lipid profile
  • HbA1c
  • Serum Insulin levels

On ultrasonographic examination, there will be presence of many cysts in the ovaries. Although, definite criteria for diagnosis of PCOS is not established and combination of clinical, radiological and pathological findings helps in coming to the diagnosis.

Is it treatable?

Like with every other lifestyle disease, simple changes in our daily life can make this disease non-existent in our body. Doing regular exercises and keeping an eye on our carbohydrate and fat intake takes care of the disease wonderfully. Exercise keeps the hormones in balance and keeps the excess fat out of our body, which is responsible for the production of testosterone. Other options for symptomatic relief include:

  • Oral contraceptive pill to regularize the cycles
  • Cosmetic laser therapy for hirsutism.

Can I prevent its occurrence?

Unfortunately, there is no way of preventing PCOS. But one can prevent all its complications like diabetes and heart diseases by keeping a healthy lifestyle.

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