Our lifestyle affects our health a lot. It affects how we feel and how healthy our life’s going to be.
With great changes in our lifestyle in the past couple of decades, there is a significant rise in the disease that results as a direct effect of an unhealthy lifestyle.
One such lifestyle disorder is Polycystic ovarian Syndrome or PCOS
PCOS is a disorder of young women of reproductive age group, with reports of improving as well as worsening of PCOS after menopause. However, it’s manageable in most cases.
It is a disorder of the endocrine system and is characterized by the formation of many fluid-filled sacs known as cysts on the ovaries, which leads to improper functioning of ovaries, and excessive androgen release.
The high levels of androgen lead to failure of release of eggs on a regular basis, leading to infertility.
It is one of the leading causes of infertility in the modern day.
The triad of the following is seen in PCOS:
- Multiple cysts on one or both the ovaries
- High androgen levels.
- Missed or irregular periods.
Although the exact cause is unknown, lifestyle and stress are its major causative factor.
PCOS is also associated with a higher risk of developing certain diseases like diabetes and heart diseases later in life.
What Are the Causes of Polycystic Ovarian Sundrome:
The exact causes of Polycystic ovarian Syndrome is unknown.
However,our lifestyle and stress are major causative factor.
High levels of insulin resulting from an overall insulin-resistance in the body is another factor commonly seen.
Low-grade inflammation; as seen in many girls with PCOS.
Genetics: Familial occurrence has also been seen, and thus if anyone in your family has PCOS, you are at a higher risk of developing it as well.
Following are the symptoms of PCOS:
1. Irregular menstruation: You may have periods once every few months, with or without ovulation, and with a very heavy flow.
3. Acne and hirsutism: (male-pattern hair growth in women like in beard area etc), and male pattern baldness due to the increased levels of androgen in the circulation.
4. Infertility:Again attributed to the high levels of androgen. Around 70-80% of women suffering from PCOS suffers from infertility.
5. Acanthosis Nigricans: dark patches of skin, mainly on the skin folds like armpits.
A diagnosis can be made by a combination of history and examinations:
History: Your doctor will ask for a full medical history including the menstrual and family history.
Pelvic examinations: This may be performed to rule out other conditions causing infertility, like fibroids.
Blood tests: A higher levels of androgen, cholesterol, and insulin are seen.
Ultrasonography: Sonography will show multiple cysts on one or both the ovaries. This is the confirmatory test.
Since there is no cure for PCOS, the key is early diagnosis and management of the symptoms in order to limit the complications.
A few ways of managing the condition include:
1. Oral contraceptive pills: They help maintain the regular menstrual cycle, and also reduces the level of testosterone in the circulation.
2. Spironolactone and finasteride: To deal with the excessive hair growth. However, manual or laser removal of hair are the safer options, to avoid side-effects of these medications.
3. Infertility treatment: May include medications like clomiphene citrate to regulate the ovulation, or hormone injections, and various procedures like Invitro Fertilization.
Consult your doctor to know which method is best for you.
4. Metformin: To treat and prevent diabetes from developing as a result of insulin resistance.
5. Lifestyle changes: Staying physically active, losing weight and quitting cigarettes helps to manage the condition better. They also prevent complications like diabetes and heart diseases in the future.
Women with PCOS are at a higher risk of developing the following conditions later in life and during pregnancy:
1. Diabetes mellitus.
2. Heart diseases.
4. Gestational diabetes mellitus
4. Miscarriage or preterm birth.
5. Endometrial cancer
6. Breast cancer
It is very important for every woman to track their menstrual periods.
If you see any major changes in your menstrual cycle, duration, and flow- consult your doctor immediately.
Waiting in these cases is never a good idea.
Being a lifestyle disorder, it gives us a little power over it as we can modify our lifestyle and prevent this disorder.
Therefore, make sure you do at least 30 minutes of exercise each day, and eat healthily.
Quitting smoking will help too.
Learn to manage your stress levels.
With small modification in your lifestyle, you can prevent and manage this condition very well.