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Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, most commonly known as PCOS, is the most common hormonal endocrine disorders and causes of infertility in women. Worldwide, 5-10% of women face problems with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).. In fact, in a study, it has been observed that the trend in PCOS cases in India is about 1 in 5 women, largely in the age group of 15 to 30 years. The cause of PCOS is not clear, although evidence suggests a genetic link to the disorder.
Obesity, acne, hair loss, breast pain, abnormal painful periods, infertility, and diabetes are some of the common symptoms of PCOS. These symptoms are mainly caused by increased levels of androgens. These hormones, called "male hormones”, include testosterone, DHT, androstenedione and DHEA. If you are suffering from PCOS, you might experience weight gain and even obesity at some point, starting from attaining puberty.
All cystic diseases of ovaries are not PCOS. Likewise, not all cases of cysts in ovaries manifest with symptoms. Clinically it is diagnosed as PCOS only if multiple cysts in ovaries are accompanied by the commonly associated symptoms.
While pregnancy is often seen as a natural cure, diet, along with exercise to keep your weight under check is also recommended as an effective line of treatment. Nutritional and hormonal supplementation may also help immensely.
There are a variety of treatments that are available to treat the problems of PCOS. It is customized to each woman based on the symptoms, health problems, and the need for her to get pregnant.
The solution is diet, exercise, nutritional supplementation, and maybe hormonal supplementation. Surgery is considered only as the last option.
If you are not considering pregnancy at this stage, under guidance from an OB/GYN, you could find combined hormonal birth control pills as a long-term treatment in women with PCOS. Combined hormonal pills contain estrogen and progestin. These birth control pills regulate the menstrual cycle, reduce hirsutism, acne, and decrease the risk of endometrial cancer.
If you are afflicted by PCOS, it is recommended that you follow a diet low in glycemic index, calories, and fat with plenty of vitamins, minerals, and protein. You should always check your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) and keep your diet proportional to your body’s requirement. Do not crash diet as it can be very counter-productive. If you would like to customize your food, please contact a dietician who can further help you, depending on multiple factors and investigations.
It is best to detect family history early, accept it thoroughly, and work towards maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It advised that parents of girls from the age of 12 years onwards should encourage them to maintain an active lifestyle and focus on healthy eating.
PCOS by itself is not life-threatening, but it’s effect on the body like insulin resistance might lead to an increased risk of early onset of diabetes mellitus, stroke, and cardiovascular disease. PCOS is also be linked with uterine and endometrial cancers.
PCOS is not a life-long problem. You can easily manage PCOS with diet and exercise. Moreover, pregnancy is generally considered as a natural cure, meaning you can be free of cysts and symptoms associated with it. However, it does not guarantee that there would no relapse.
You must understand that PCOS is a “condition” and not a disease. So it can be easily treated, and the symptoms can be controlled. If left untreated, it can lead to serious health issues. Hence, it is essential to look out for symptoms of this condition and treat it as soon as possible.
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