Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a metabolic disorder in which the male hormone (androgen) is elevated which prevents your ovaries from releasing egg monthly (ovulation) which causes irregular menstrual cycles. Multiple small follicles accumulate in the ovary, and they can’t grow to a size that would trigger ovulation which leads to hormonal imbalance. PCOS is very common- up to 15% of women of reproductive age group have it. The prevalence of PCOS in India is increasing. Most patients complain of irregular periods, excessive hair growth, acne, weight gain or difficulty in losing weight and some women also complaints of thinning hair (male pattern baldness), skin tags and darkening of the skin in the folds of the neck, armpit, groin etc. If left untreated PCOS can lead to serious health issues like diabetes, cardiac diseases, sleep apnea and endometrial cancer. It can also lead to infertility and the risk of miscarriage. A sudden increase in the incidence of PCOS is because of lifestyle changes like sedentary lifestyle, stress, unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise. Only 5-10% of cases are genetically transmitted, and the rest are due to obesity and poor lifestyle. According to Dr Nikita Gynaecologist at Chicnutrix, PCOS can be controlled at an early stage through early diagnosis and correct treatment.
PCOS is diagnosed based on your symptoms, physical examination, blood tests and pelvic ultrasound. Women or adolescent girls suffering from PCOS are given oral contraceptives to regulate the menstrual cycle and protection from endometrial hyperplasia, it is the first-line treatment option for PCOS patients. For excessive hair growth on the face or other body parts, epilators, waxing and laser therapy are recommended. For weight loss- diet, exercise and weight loss medications are given. Weight loss surgery is also available for severely obese women with PCOS. For insulin resistance tablet metformin is given, it helps in restoring ovulation and weight reduction. For infertility, ovulation induction with clomiphene citrate and letrozole is recommended.
While there's no permanent cure for PCOS, there are various approaches to managing its symptoms, and one avenue worth exploring is the use of supplements. Supplements with Inositol, Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin D, and N-acetylcysteine (NAC) have shown a potential to improve insulin sensitivity in individuals with PCOS. Stress is also a major factor for hormonal imbalance so cognitive behavioural therapy, deep breathing, meditation, and yoga are recommended to promote relaxation and stress reduction.
There are three important formulae for a healthy life and managing PCOS- Eat healthy, move your body and be happy!