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      Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

As a famous saying goes ——–“ Excess of anything is bad”, here in the disease called PCOS, we would see how this saying holds true —— — PCOS is the commonest endocrine disorder in women of child bearing age. It often begins in the teenage years. 

1-What is PCOS? Who gets it ? –if your hormones don’t work in the normal way, your ovaries might make too many eggs. These eggs turn into many cysts. The cysts are like little balloons filled with liquid. And there are elevated androgen (male hormones) levels  too.

2- What are the signs of PCOS? PCOS signs and symptoms often begin soon after you first begin having periods ( menarche). In some cases, PCOS develops later on during your reproductive years, for instance, in response to substantial weight gain.

Signs & symptoms vary from person to person, in both, type & severity. To be diagnosed with the condition, your doctor looks for atleast two of the following :-

Usually, women with PCOS have irregular menstrual periods. After a while, some women stop having any periods or have scanty flow –

Women with PCOS may have trouble getting pregnant.

About 70% of women of PCOS have extra hair growing in the sideburn area of their face and on their chin, upper lip, nipple area, chest, lower abdomen and thighs. They may get acne. About half are obese. Some women with PCOS have no signs at all.

3 – What causes PCOS? – Doctors don’t know what causes it – but these factors likely play a role:-

a)- If you have PCOS, you may have a problem with the way your body uses blood sugar (glucose). Because of this problem, the harmones that control your ovarian and menstrual periods can become abnormal.

b)- There might be low- grade inflammation in the body again causing altered blood sugar utilization and cholesterol accumulation in blood vessels (atheroscelerosis) leading to cardiovascular disease.

c)- It may be hereditary too. If your mother or sister has PCOS, you might have a greater chance of having it, too.

d)- New research shows that excessive exposure to male hormones (androgens) in fetal life may permamently prevent normal genes from working the way they are supposed to, leading to factors causing PCOS.

4- Does PCOS cause long term problems ? – If you have PCOS, you are more likely to get high blood pressure or diabetes. This means you have a greater risk for strokes and heart attacks.

Because of irregular menstrual periods, women with PCOS are more likely to be infertile (Unable to get pregnant). If you do get pregnant, risk of gestational (Pregnancy – induced) diabetes or hypertension is very high. They may also have higher risk of cancer of uterus or breast.

5- How can a doctor tell you that you have PCOS:- This is no specific test to definitively diagnose PCOS. The diagnosis is one by exclusion. Your doctor will look at all your signs  symtoms of PCOS. Blood tests that measure your hormone levels are the lead help. Additional blood tests like complete lipid profile & (Glucose tolerance test) GTT might be considered

An ultrasound exam, (per-abdomen/ trans-vaginal) can show if you have cysts in your ovaries.

6- How is PCOS treated- PCOS treatment generally focuses on management of your individual main concerns, such as infertility, hirsuitism (excessive hair growth), acne or obesity.

a)- Firstly Schedule regular checkps – It is easy for the doctor then to regulate your doses, see the response & prevent from long- term complications.

b)- Lifestyle modification – Which is most important ! Diet control & exercises is the first thing your doctor would recommend you, especially if you are obese because obesity makes this disease worse.

c)- Drugs – Medicines can help with your menstrual cycle, abnormal hair growth & acne. If you have diabetes or high B.P, they have to be treated. If you want to have a baby, there are medicines that may help you get pregnant.

d)- Surgery – In case you are unable to get pregnant by mere medication, laparoscopic ovarian drilling is a promising option.Your doctor can help you determine if you’re a candidate for this type of surgery.

7- What you can do today ?

a)- Write down any symptoms you’re experiencing   Include all of your symptoms even if you don’t think they’re related.

b)- Make a list of any medications, vitamins & other suppliments you  are taking doses & how often you take them.

c)- Visit you family doctor/ gynaecolosist (with a family member or close friend

if possible)- lot of information given to you at your visit might be difficult to remember.

d)- Ask all questions that come in your mind – regarding the disease.

Although PCOS is not completely reversible, there are a number of treatments that can reduce or minimize bothersome symptoms. Most women with PCOS are able to lead a normal life without significant complication and the first step to prevent or get rid of this disease is to remain fit.


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