Thursday, June 21, 2018

Understanding Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Posted On : February 19,2014

Are you experiencing irregular periods for some time or pain in the lower abdomen?

Have you gained weight unusually over the past few months or are experiencing an acne problem or excess hair growth?

Chances are that you might be afflicted by an endocrine disorder called PCOS which may cause fertility related issues later or in worst cases may even lead to cancer. speaks to Dr Bandana Sodhi, Consultant, Obstetrics and Gynae, Moolchand Women’s Hospital, New Delhi and finds out more about polycystic ovary syndrome.

A condition caused by hormonal imbalance, PCOS or polycystic syndrome leads to formation of multiples cysts in the ovaries. PCOS is a lifestyle disease caused due to hormonal disorder among females which derives its names from the ovaries containing numerous small cysts located along the outer edge of each ovary (polycystic appearance).

PCOS interferes with the menstrual cycle causing either delayed, absent, scanty or occasionally heavy and unpredictable periods.

In almost 50% of the cases PCOS is responsible for creating problems in conceiving. This disease also causes many issues during pregnancy like hypertension and diabetes. In other cases, this disorder can also lead to ovarian or uterine cancer.

In PCOS, a woman would suffer an imbalance in hormonal levels. In PCOS the body does not respond to insulin, resulting in increased sugar levels which itself increases the androgen levels (male hormones), causes weight gain, irregular periods and infertility.

The high levels of androgens prevent ovulation (egg/ovum is not released), causes imbalances in the female hormones, causes periods to be irregular and promotes a male pattern change in the skin which is known as hirsutism where excess hair grows on the face, chest, abdomen or upper thighs. Ovulation does not happen and multiple small cysts tend to develop in the ovaries.

However, the exact cause or trigger of PCOS is not known. Growing number of PCOS cases are associated with today’s high pressure jobs, stress, poor food habits and sedentary lifestyles. While genetics, too, is considered an important factor that leads to PCOS.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is prevalent in women of all age groups, including young girls. This generally goes unnoticed as there is a lack of awareness regarding the same.

How to diagnose PCOS?
Diagnosis is based on a combination of signs and symptoms, blood reports, hormonal assays and ultrasound findings. In some cases women are advised to go through a pelvic sonography test to find cyst in ovaries.

Treating PCOS:
If you have an irregular cycle or a problem while ovulating, then visit a good gynaecologist who if necessary can prescribe ovulation-inducing drugs. The drugs are normally a five-day course that starts on the second day of one’s period. After that, the doctor will do a follow-up to monitor the production of eggs. In severe cases of PCOS, the doctor may opt for a laparoscopic procedure. Sometimes, contraceptive pills and anti-diabetic drugs may also be prescribed.

The first step towards the treatment of PCOS is to reduce weight in a healthy manner.  Adopt a healthy lifestyle as even a slight change in your lifestyle and followed by a healthy diet can do wonders. Eat a lot of seasonal vegetables and fruits and protein-rich diet.  Here are some simple tips you can follow to prevent the risk of PCOS.

• Regular exercise in your daily regimen is a must which can be in the form of aerobics, dancing, yoga, jogging, or simply walking.
• Practice meditation and simple breathing exercises as it helps in relieving stress.
• Daily consume green vegetables as it contains lot of folic acid.
• Consume vitamin C-rich food by eating plenty of fruits like orange, lemon, sweet lime, grape fruit, strawberries etc.
• Decrease the intake of carbohydrate rich food and refined sugar as it causes imbalance of glucose and insulin.
• Include lots of salad and seasonal fruits in your diet as fiber helps in balancing sugar level and removal of excess hormonal level.
• Avoid intake of caffeinated drinks, alcohol and smoking as far as possible.