PCOS Awareness Month 2022: Facts To Know About PCOS
The best PCOS treatment is a multi-faceted approach that includes dietary and lifestyle changes, medications, and supplements.
Written by Tavishi Dogra|Updated : September 16, 2022 6:17 PM IST
PCOS Awareness Month 2022: The origin of PCOD is never known to anyone, yet it is on a steep rise among Indian women. PCOS Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a hormonal imbalance in women or girls once they reach sexual maturity. The hormonal disorder affects 1 out of 5 Indian women and has become a leading cause of concern. Affecting women in their childbearing age, PCOD is considered one of the most common causes of female fertility because the body begins to produce male hormones known as androgen in excess. Due to the same, the afflicted person experiences irregularity in their periods, including heavy flow, late arrival, prolonged periods, etc. Besides this, PCOD also psychologically impacts women; surprisingly, almost 15% of women never want to talk about PCOS, and more than 4.5% consider it taboo. As a result, the hormone imbalance makes the patient depressed, irritable, and excessively moody.
Talking about the adverse impact of PCOS symptoms, Dr Mansi Verma Gynaecologist, Veera Health, said, "PCOS was always there, caused genetically, but we are seeing a rampant rise in the number of PCOS cases these days due to several factors, including stress, unhealthy eating habits, sedentary lifestyle and interrupted sleep patterns." "Since PCOS is a complex endocrine disorder impacting the reproductive, metabolic and psychological aspects, it is important to have a multidisciplinary approach to correct this with an extensive focus on lifestyle and dietary changes. In addition, we should have SMART goal settings for patients that are "specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely," she added.
How Do Untreated Symptoms Of PCOS Impact Women?
The failure to timely diagnose and treat PCOS can lead to short-term and long-term complications. For example, untreated symptoms can lead to chronic irregularity or lack of periods, obesity (difficulty maintaining a healthy weight), difficulty conceiving, male pattern baldness and type 2 diabetes. These consequences can alter a woman's quality of life, even disturbing a woman's metabolism.
Regarding the consequences of untreated PCOS, Dr Astha Dayal - A meddo-curated Gynecologist, said, "When suffering from PCOS, the patient suffers acute distress - be it acne, hair loss, or weight gain. Untreated PCOS can lead to life-long illnesses including Type 2 diabetes, infertility, mental health issues, sleep apnea, and obesity. Though the condition isn't reversible, through lifestyle changes symptoms can be controlled through medical intervention and treatment and the best way to deal with it is to see a gynaecologist."
Why Is It Important To See A Doctor?
PCOS is a complex endocrine disorder that cannot be self-diagnosed by knowing one or multiple symptoms. The condition takes a painful physical toll on the body, and it becomes imperative to see a doctor to diagnose the disease and its severity using a combination of a physical exam, history ultrasound and blood tests.
"Women who are experiencing one or multiple symptoms - irregular periods, weight gain, food cravings, sudden dips in mood or low energy must consult a gynaecologist on priority. In addition, if there is excessive facial hair or hirsutism, acute acne (Cystic acne) or male pattern baldness, women must undergo proper diagnosis and get a combination of treatment from a gynaecologist, dermatologist as well as dieticians," added Dr Astha Dayal.
What Are The Risk Factors Associated With PCOS?
Women with PCOS have multiple risks associated with their health. It results in irregularity in ovulation that interrupts the hormonal balance. It also causes estrogen levels, making the lining of the uterus too thick and resulting in abnormal bleeding.
Talking about the multiple risk factors, Dr Seema Sharma, Consultant Obstetrics & Gynecology, Apollo Cradle & Children's Hospital, said, "At middle age, the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in women with PCOS is 6.8 times higher than in the widespread female population. Fatty liver affects 15% to 55% of PCOS women and can lead to high cholesterol and risks of heart disease. In addition, women with PCOS are more likely to have gestational diabetes, miscarriages, preterm births, and stillbirths. Insulin resistance is estimated to affect 50-70% of PCOS women. In addition, Vitamin D, both a hormone and a vitamin, has been linked to insulin resistance and egg development. Women suffering from PCOS also find difficulty in maintaining their Vitamin D in the normal range. Moreover, sleep disturbances are twice as common in PCOS women as in non-PCOS women."
PCOS cannot be reversed; however, its symptoms can be managed and help women lead healthier lives. To advise women to manage their symptoms, Dr Seema said, "To deal with the symptoms of PCOS, following a diet rich in fiber, protein and healthy fats is important. In addition, limited salt and sugar consumption and avoiding junk food, especially aerated drinks, can help women manage PCOS symptoms. Inclusion of a regular exercising routine with 30-40 minutes of exercise also helps women with PCOS maintain their weight and correct insulin hypersensitivity."
Medicinal treatment can be beneficial but only in the short term. At the same time, lifestyle correction can be helpful in the long run and even reduce a woman's chances of cancer. Therefore, the best PCOS treatment is a multi-faceted approach that includes dietary and lifestyle changes, medications, and supplements.