What IS PCOS
The polycystic ovarian syndrome is a common hormonal disorder affecting about 10% of the women
In this condition, the ovaries do not produce mature eggs and thus they remain in the ovary and develop into multiple tiny cysts. There may be an increase in the production of male hormone, androgen, which can result in acne and increased hair growth. Some patients have insulin resistance, which means the body does not respond to insulin and hence insulin production is increased. Insulin is the hormone that controls how the food you eat is changed is into energy.
PCOS affects self-esteem and can result in depression and altered body image.
Abnormal MENSTRUAL CYCLE – you may not have periods or have a delay in periods or you may have heavy periods. Lack of ovulation in women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) results in continuous exposure of their uterine lining (endometrium) to estrogen. This may cause excessive thickening of the endometrium and heavy, irregular bleeding.
- Acne – due to an increase in the male hormones you tend to get acne. In fact, if your regular medicines are not working you should think of PCOS.
- Hirsutism – increased hair growth on the face, chest etc. there may be a sudden spurt in hair growth in regions that you don’t want like a moustache, beard etc.
- Infertility – failure to get pregnant. Women with PCOS may face difficulty in getting pregnant. Due to hormonal imbalance, the ovaries stop producing eggs. In addition, the patient may become insulin insensitive, the level of male hormone increases in the body, all these factors cause difficulty in pregnancy. Such patients have usually advised lifestyle modification and given ovulation-inducing medications.
- WEIGHT GAIN leading to obesity
- Patches of thick, dark brown skin on neck, arms etc.
The incidence of PCOS is rising rapidly and it is estimated that currently, about 10 % of women suffer from PCOS.
DIAGNOSIS OF PCOS
There is no single test to diagnose PCOS. Diagnosis of PCOS is based on a combination of clinical, ultrasound and laboratory tests. If there are symptoms suggestive of PCOS you will require
- Ultrasound – it will show the presence of multiple tiny cysts in the ovaries.
- Blood tests to check hormonal levels. These will be FSH, LH, Serum insulin levels, testosterone and DHEAS. You will also need to get a lipid profile done as it is usually deranged in PCOD.
CAUSES OF PCOS
The exact cause of PCOS is not known. We believe that there is a genetic tendency compounded by environmental conditions like increased intake of junk food, lack of regular exercises etc.
LONG TERM COMPLICATIONS OF PCOS
- Endometrial cancer
- Breast cancer
TREATMENT OF PCOS
If you are diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), treatment will depend upon your goals. Some patients are primarily concerned with fertility, while others are more concerned about menstrual cycle regulation, excess hair growth (hirsutism), and/or acne. Regardless of your primary goal, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) should be treated because of the long-term health risks it poses.
Diet – Diet plays a very important role in PCOS and is an essential part of treatment. You should take low carb and low-fat diet. The main part of food should come from proteins like pulses etc. The number of refined carbohydrates in the diet like white bread, white rice should be reduced. Junk food should be totally avoided. Sweetened juice, sugary drinks like cola etc are a big NO.
- REGULAR EXERCISE regime really helps. It has been seen that in obese patients a 10% loss of body weight will really help to control the symptoms of PCOS. The exercise can be in the form of a brisk walk, running, jogging, dance, sports etc and should be a combination of aerobics and strength development
- BIRTH CONTROL PILLS – if the patient is having irregular cycles and does not desire pregnancy, birth control pills are advised. They regulate the menstrual cycle, reduce acne and control excessive hair growth.
- OVULATION INDUCTION AGENTS – Women with a primary complaint of infertility require medicines to ovulate. These may be in the form of clomiphene citrate, letrozole or injectables like gonadotrophins.
- INSULIN SENSITIZING AGENTS LIKE METFORMIN – women who are overweight and have insulin insensitivity will require metformin.
- ANTI ACNE TREATMENT – In case of severe and recurring acne apart from local treatment patient may require suitable hormonal therapy.
- Epilation for increased hair growth
The polycystic syndrome cannot be cured but its manifestations can be controlled and its long-term complication prevented. Stay committed to the lifestyle change it demands and be regular in your treatment.