Understanding PCOS: 5 Symptoms To Look Out For
Today’s world is evolving briskly yet people are being ignorant about their health. Some people actually know the facts to cope up with health issues, but their negligence make them frail.
PCOS is the most common endocrine disorder in women and since the number of cases is rising frightfully, it is important to be aware. It affects 12-18% of women of reproductive age with 70% of these cases remain undiagnosed in the community.
There are a lot of misconception among women about PCOS, so let‘s do first thing first and clear some of these random sayings :
- Women have recurrent painful cysts
NO, not all women ,only few may feel little pain
- There has to be facial hair growth
Facial hair may occur but it is not the defining feature
- Women with PCOS are always infertile
NO, it is difficult compared to women without PCOS, but they can definitely conceive
- There’s a one treatment protocol for all
Every body is different and hence treatment for each body will be difficult.
Why awareness needed?
Since this condition is typically painless, majority of women are left to be undiagnosed as they don’t see any doctor unless major changes are marked. But the important fact to note is if this condition is left untreated, several other health problems like diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, hypertension and endometrial carcinoma, obstructive sleep apnea are to occur.
A large section of women with PCOS are unaware of their condition and the risk factors that come with PCOS like infertility, cancer and diabetes.
With this you can think how perilous PCOS is!!
What is PCOS -POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME?
It is a multifactorial and polygenic condition. It can be described as a syndrome manifested by amenorrhea, hirsutism and obesity associated with enlarged polycystic ovaries. This heterogenous disorder is characterized by excessive androgen production by the ovaries mainly.
How to analyze changes in your body which defines PCOS?
PCOS often starts showing symptoms like acne, excess facial hair growth in teen years, sudden weight gain and irregular periods. There are wholesome of two to three major criteria which essentially defines PCOS:
- Firstly, it may be Oligo- and/or Anovulation: this means there is an absence of ovulation. This is indicated by irregular periods, though sometimes there is bleeding, which women thinks it’s a normal menstruation.
The scary thing with this is, if the anovulation condition persists it may results in infertility.
- Secondly it can be Hyperandrogenism: this is a condition where women have excessive male sex hormone resulting in male characters like facial hair, hair on chest and back and hair loss on the scalp.
- Lastly it may be Polycystic ovaries: in this condition, multiple cysts are growing inside the ovaries and this majorly affects the hormonal balance in the body.
- Another condition that could occur is Hypothalamic condition which links to the pituitary compartment abnormality.
Women with PCOS are often considered to have problems with conceiving and higher possibilities of sequel miscarriages. Hence, it makes it even mroe important for every woman at her reproductive age to PCOS risk levels to help escape this condition.
What are the changes that occur ?
Some of the main symptoms and signs of PCOS are:
- Weight gain around the abdomen area
- Acne breakouts due to hormonal imbalance
- Hair loss from the scalp due to Hyperandrogenism
- Menstrual abnormalities or irregular period cycles
- Acanthosis Nigrican which is dark patches over skin or neck
- Virilization which is when female develop characteristics associated with male hormones. Though this is rarely seen, we must look out for such symptoms
What are the risk factors?
PCOS is generally caused by the summation of lifestyle and inheritance factors. Some of the risk factors associated with PCOS are:
- Stress: the more stress or anxiety you bear the more hormonal imbalance occur in your body leading to increased androgens.
- Improper Diet: this too leads to hormonal imbalance and result in insulin resistance. Some studies say that this has a lot to do with genetics or may be inherited.
- Obesity: Women with PCOS are often associated with excess weight gain. Obese women (BMI > 30) are at increased risk of developing diabetes mellitus (15%) due to insulin resistance.
- Diabetes: Women with PCOS also have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance
Is Diagnosis a crucial step?
It is mainly evaluated by serum levels of certain hormones. Further backed by Laparoscopy, the results show Bilateral polycystic ovaries which is a characteristic feature of PCOS.
Due to the above mentioned risk factors, it is of utmost importance that women with PCOS opt for early diagnosis to avoid future health risks.
How to manage PCOS?
- Patient counseling is very important as it all depends on the symptoms a woman is facing, like irregular periods, infertility, obesity, hirsutism or combined symptoms. Many women fail to know and understand the changes that happens in their body.
- Sometimes women are wrongly diagnosed and this further worsens their condition, which in turn may result in other subsequent disorders.
- Treatment criteria vary as it depends on the age and symptoms a woman is facing. It is primarily targeted to correct the biochemical abnormalities.
- Weight reduction is an important step.
- Correction of menstrual cycle by induction of ovulation in cases of PCOS to improve the fertility in a young woman, is advised.
- Correction of hyperandrogenemia , hyperprolactinemia , hyperinsulinemia and elevated LH levels
BUT keep in mind its better to have healthy body because if once this lively system gets intervene, medicines can’t make the system working as before the disorder. For that you all try to have stress free life with proper diet accompained with proper yoga or exercise.
So women its all your choices to have a sagacious lifestyle.
Foods you must include in your diet
- Lean protein like tofu , fish , chicken – this adds up energy in the body
- High fiber veggies like broccoli, beans, lentils, sprouts, almonds – this combat insulin resistance by decreasing GI motility leading to slow digestion and reducing the impact of sugar on blood
- Anti-inflammatory foods and spices like turmeric ,spinach ,olive oil, tomatoes
- Red meat
- White bread and muffins, pastries or simply all foods made with white flour.
- Avoid sugars in your diet
- Soda lime.