Among the many health issues that women grapple with these days, polycystic ovarian disease or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a major concern, especially for women who are still fertile. It is a lifestyle disease in which the ovary becomes enlarged and has small cysts developing in them. It is very important that women remain abreast about the symptoms and causes of this hormonal disorder because it is an ailment that can be avoided if taken care of. September 2016 marks PCOS awareness month and Dr Sheetal Agarwal, the Head of Gynaecology and Obstetrics department from Rockland Hospital, Qutub talks to indianexpress.com about the disorder.
What is PCOS?
The menstruation cycle of a healthy woman involves her ovaries releasing an egg after every 28 days. Sometimes, the ovaries do not release these eggs, which then remain in the ovaries, as a result of which the ovaries become large and bulky. This condition is called PCOS (Poly-Cystic Ovary Syndrome). This disorder is highly seen nowadays in women of reproductive age.
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
*Irregular or anovulatory menstrual cycles
*Sudden weight gain
*Hirsutism or increased male body pattern hair growth in females
*Increased production of testosterone (male hormone) in the stroma of the ovaries.
*Infertility and inability to conceive
*Fall in self-esteem
*Increased stress levels
How is PCOS diagnosed?
This disorder in women is diagnosed through an ultrasound. In addition, on day 2 and day 3 of the woman’s cycle, hormonal profile tests like LH ( luteinizing hormone), FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone), BSH (basal follicle stimulating hormone), oestrogen levels etc., are conducted to confirm the disorder.
How can PCOS be cured?
Though the effects of the disease on the body are tremendous, PCOS can definitely be cured. A healthy lifestyle, regular exercise and a check on food intake coupled with proper medication is all that is required to combat the disorder. Dr Agarwal says, “Lifestyle management and medication can cure the disorder. Regular exercise, reducing the body weight, eating healthy and avoiding junk foods will regulate the cycles and set the menstrual clock of the women back on track.”
The disorder can also be easily rectified through medical intervention — medical management and surgical management. In medical management, the follicles in the ovaries are dissolved over a period of one to two year through oral medicines alone. In surgical management, through the process of laparoscopy, the follicles are drilled and dissolved, in addition to which oral medications are also provided.
According to the gynaecologist, PCOS triggers a vicious cycle. Women who are obese are more prone to the disorder and those who are affected by PCOS are more prone to gaining weight. Which is why, it is important to ensure a healthy and balanced lifestyle.