What is Polycystic ovary syndrome?

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Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD) is a hormonal condition that affects approximately 5- 10% of women in their childbearing ages (12 to 45-years). While the prevalence of PCOD differs, it affects around 9% to 22% of Indian women.

What causes it?

Doctors don’t know exactly what causes PCOS. They believe that high levels of male hormones prevent the ovaries from producing hormones and making eggs normally.

What are the signs and symptoms of PCOS or PCOD?

Some women start experiencing symptoms around the time of their first period. Signs and symptoms of PCOS may vary; however, the symptoms are generally more severe in obese patients. Some of the commonly reported signs and symptoms of PCOS include:

• Acne

• Darkening of skin

• Hirsutism (abnormal growth of hair on face and body)

• Irregular menstrual cycle

• Polycystic ovaries, sometimes both ovaries may be involved i.e Bilateral Polycystic ovaries or ovarian cysts

• Skin tags

• Thinning hair

• Weight gain

PCOD

What are the possible complications of PCOS or PCOD?

Some of the possible complications of PCOS are:

• Abnormal uterine bleeding

• Psychological disorders like depression and eating disorders

• Endometrial cancer

• Pregnancy induced or Gestational diabetes and/or hypertension

• Infertility

• Metabolic syndrome

• Miscarriage or premature birth

• Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis

• Sleep apnoea

How is PCOS or PCOD treated?

Treatment of PCOS primarily focuses on management of underlying issues like infertility, obesity etc. Management is primarily with medications or lifestyle changes:

Medications for:

• Regulation of menstrual cycle

• Promoting ovulation

• Reduction of excessive hair growth

What lifestyle modifications could be beneficial for women with PCOS?

Some lifestyle modifications that can help in reducing the effects of PCOS include:

• Maintenance of a healthy weight: Weight loss can lower insulin and androgen levels and may restore ovulation.

• Diet management and limitation in consumption of carbohydrates: High-carbohydrate and low-fat diets may increase insulin levels.

• Exercise regularly: Exercise helps lower blood sugar levels and control body weight.

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