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Living with PCOS: Risks, Management, and Treatment

December 3, 2020

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), is a hormonal disorder which causes enlarged ovaries with small cysts on the outer edge. It is quite common among women of reproductive age and may cause irregular or prolonged periods and also make pregnancy harder.

How does it affect the body?

PCOS is a condition that affects the female reproductive system, primarily ovaries. The ovaries are responsible for the production of estrogen and progesterone (female hormones) and a small number of androgens. Because of PCOS, the ovaries enlarge in size and also start developing multiple fluid-filled sacs inside the ovary. This interferes with the ovulation process, leading to irregularity in ovulation and disturbing the hormonal balance.

Symptoms of PCOS

Though PCOS is quite a common syndrome, it is rarely diagnosed. Some of the symptoms of PCOS include:

  • Irregularities in periods are the most common sign of PCOS. Women with PCOS may have quite long intervals between periods and heavy bleeding during periods.
  • Excess facial and body hair, along with severe acne is also a common symptom. This occurs due to an increase in the levels of androgen (a male hormone) in the body.
  • The ovaries enlarge and develop follicles around the eggs (polycystic ovaries), making the ovaries dysfunctional.
  • Dark patches of skin may grow in areas like neck, groin, and underneath the breasts.
  • Hormonal changes may induce headaches in women.

Risks of PCOS

Despite the low rates of diagnosis of the condition, PCOS can have serious effects on health like:

  • Infertility: PCOS is one of the leading causes of infertility in women.
  • Metabolic syndrome: women with PCOS are usually obese and overweight. These two combined (PCOS and obesity) pose various health risks.
  • PCOS also increases the risk of endometrial cancer.
  • Depression and anxiety are also common in women with PCOS.
  • Miscarriage or premature birth.
  • Sleep apnea: repeated pauses in breathing while asleep.
  • Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, which is severe inflammation of the liver.
  • Abnormal uterine bleeding.

Managing PCOS

Eating a healthy diet and maintaining an active lifestyle can be very beneficial for the management of PCOS. Losing even five to ten per cent of the body weight can help in regulating the menstrual cycle and manage other PCOS symptoms. It also reduces the risk of various ailments associated with PCOS. Eating a low carbohydrate diet is highly recommended for women with PCOS. Similarly, it is also recommended to do exercises of moderate intensity at least three days in a week. Ask your doctor or gynaecologist for more recommendations about managing PCOS.

PCOS Treatment:

Besides diet and lifestyle changes, your doctor or gynaecologist may recommend you various medications to alleviate the symptoms of PCOS:

  • Taking birth control pills can regulate ovulation and restore the hormonal balance in the body. This helps in alleviating symptoms like excess hair growth and reduces the risk of endometrial cancer.
  • Metformin is another important medication, which treats PCOS by improving blood insulin levels.
  • Fertility drugs like Clomiphene can help women with PCOS get pregnant.
  • If medications are not effective, surgery may be done to restore normal ovulation. PCOS is a condition that can be managed to a great extent with the help of health professionals. Cloudnine’s specialized teams dealing with fertility, maternity, gynaecologists and other specialists can provide you immense help with PCOS. From diagnosis to treatment, to treating conditions like infertility, our team provides comprehensive care and deals effectively with any problem that PCOS may cause.

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