Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

This is a condition where there are many small cysts in the ovaries leading to hormonal imbalance, infertility and in time diabetes and heart disease

The sex hormones get out of balance; the ovaries start making more androgen, which is the male sex hormone. This results in stopping of ovulation, development of extra facial and body hair. The body develops insulin resistance, leading to underutilization of insulin and blood sugar levels rise.

Causes of PCOS

  • The cause of PCOS is not fully understood.
  • Genetic predisposition: PCOS runs in families
  • Obesity and inactivity are some of the risk factors

Symptoms

  • Acne
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Increased facial and body hair on chest and back
  • Thinning of hair on scalp
  • Irregular periods or no periods. Some women have heavy bleeding
  • Difficulty getting pregnant
  • Mood disorder like depression
  • Obstructive sleep apnoea

Diagnosis

  • A detailed health, menstrual history and current symptoms is taken
  • Physical examination to look for facial and body hair, raised blood pressure
  • Body mass index (BMI) is checked
  • Blood sugar level, insulin and hormone levels
  • Thyroid profile
  • Pelvic ultrasound
  • Transvaginal ultrasound scan

Management

  • Regular exercise
  • Diet modification to include vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans and whole grains. Limit use of meat, cheese and fried food
  • Weight control
  • Quit smoking
  • Medicines as prescribed by the doctor

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