Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a health condition that affects 1 in 10 women of reproductive age group. The exact cause of this condition is unknown. But imbalance of hormones plays an important role in this condition.
Improper lifestyle, environmental factors and genetics are believed to be responsible for PCOS.
PCOS causes number of symptoms leading to disruption at physical and mental level of a woman.
PCOS can lead to metabolic problems that may affect the overall health and appearance of a woman. It is also a leading cause of infertility.
An egg is developed and released every month from the ovary as a part of normal functioning of the menstrual cycle. With PCOS the egg is either not developed properly or is not released from the ovary. This eventually leads to formation of number of cysts that surround the ovary. A cyst is nothing but a fluid filled sac. Though the name suggests otherwise, cysts may not always be present in a woman having PCOS.
It is very important to take proper care as PCOS can lead to complications such as cardiac disorders, diabetes, sometimes endometrial cancer.
On a positive note, PCOS can be taken care of, awareness and correct approach counts!
Symptoms of PCOS are many, but not necessarily a woman having this condition has all the symptoms.
Many a times these symptoms are linked with other causes and may go unnoticed.
Symptoms of PCOS include:
Irregular periods – In a normal menstrual cycle the ovary releases an egg every month. This process is termed as ovulation. The process of ovulation is disrupted in PCOS which leads to delay in the menstrual cycle. Periods become irregular and the delay can vary from 1-2 weeks to several months.
Obesity – About fifty percent of women with PCOS face the issue of weight gain. Inability of the body to utilise insulin is an important cause of weight gain linked with PCOS.
Hirsutism – Unwanted hair growth (hirsutism) is related to overproduction of male hormones (androgens). Excess hair growth may be noticed on the face, arms, back, chest, abdomen, around nipples.
Acne – Imbalance in hormonal levels can lead to production of acne on the face and back.
Mood swings – PCOS hampers body metabolism at various levels. Significant changes are observed related to the mind as well causing mood changes, depression or anxiety.
Hair loss – Thinning of hair on head is observed in PCOS, basically due to excess male hormones.
Skin changes – PCOS can lead to dry and itchy skin. Sometimes dark patches of skin are observed on the nape of the neck, armpits or skin folds. This condition is termed as acanthosis nigricans.
Disturbed sleep – Insomnia or poor sleep in women can be attributed to PCOS. Sleep apnoea is a condition where a person feels short of breath in the sleep. This condition can also develop with PCOS.
Fatigue – Low energy levels are not uncommon in women with PCOS. Improper sleep may add up to this condition.
Healthy lifestyle and proper treatment plan do help manage the symptoms of PCOS.
Making a diagnosis of PCOS is linked with confusion and controversy. No single test has been identified to confirm the diagnosis of PCOS. Signs and symptoms of PCOS can mimic other conditions which can trigger similar signs and symptoms.
A systematic approach is hence necessary to make a diagnosis of PCOS.
Physical examination: A thorough physical examination helps to check for excess unwanted hair growth which can be an indication of high androgen levels related to PCOS.
Dark skin patches on the nape of neck, arm pits or skin folds are also checked for. They are indicative of high insulin levels which can be linked with PCOS.
Questions asked: The doctor takes help of certain questions to move ahead in making the diagnosis of PCOS.
Irregular period is an important symptom of PCOS. Here questions related to the menstrual pattern are asked.
PCOS can run into families as it is believed to have a genetic link. So it is important to know whether mother, sister or other close relative has been diagnosed with PCOS.
Recent history related to weight gain or difficulty in losing weight is also important as it can very well be associated with PCOS.
Other relevant questions related to energy levels and sleep pattern are also asked.
Blood tests: Certain blood tests are performed to check the levels of hormones and also to rule out other conditions like thyroid dysfunction which have symptoms similar to PCOS.
Ultrasound: An ultrasound examination is performed to assess the condition of ovaries
Though there are controversies related to the diagnostic approach of PCOS, the method which has been commonly followed is the Rotterdam criteria. According to this approach the diagnosis of PCOS is made if two out of the following three criteria are applicable.
- Delayed menstrual cycles indicative of anovulation.
- Detection of cysts on ovaries.
- Excess of male hormone (androgens).
Early diagnosis and treatment are very helpful to manage PCOS.
The ovary releases an egg every month in normal circumstances. Conception occurs when this egg and a sperm meet in the fallopian tube. This process of releasing the egg is termed as ovulation. With PCOS this process of ovulation is hampered. Many a times the ovary fails to release a mature egg or the quality of egg may be compromised. In either circumstances conception cannot occur. PCOS, basically is a leading cause of infertility.
Does this mean it cannot be taken care of? Is there no help to generate an ovum(egg) with good quality? Most positively, help is there. At Dyumna women’s clinic, we provide personalised treatment plans with specialised procedures which not only show graceful results in ovulation process, but enhance the endometrial thickness as well which is an essential factor for conception to occur.
PCOS basically is a syndrome in which metabolism is disturbed at different levels. It affects the well-being of body as well as mind.
PCOS can be managed well with correct treatment approach and good lifestyle. But sometimes it so occurs that the symptoms are just ignored or misinterpreted as linked to other conditions. In any case, late diagnosis and hence late treatment or continued incorrect lifestyle can lead to certain complications related to PCOS.
Infertility – With PCOS the natural pattern of ovulation is disturbed. The ovary is not able to release an egg per month as it should. This is a basic prerequisite for conception to occur. PCOS is therefore considered as a leading cause of infertility. This can be taken care of when properly addressed.
Metabolic syndrome – This is a cluster of conditions including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels. This in totality significantly increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes – PCOS is linked with increased production of insulin. Insulin is the hormone which assists the body cells to consume sugar for their day to day activities. In some conditions like PCOS body cells are not able to utilise insulin for this purpose. This resistance to insulin in turn increases the blood sugar levels as well as insulin levels. This condition can get converted to prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.
Endometrial cancer – Ovulation does not happen regularly with PCOS that is, the ovary fails to release an egg per month. This in turn disturbs the regularity of the menstrual cycle. The balance of progesterone and estrogen hormones gets disturbed with constant formation of estrogen hormone. This in turn can lead to abnormal thickening of the endometrium (inner lining of the uterus) which may further lead to cancer of the endometrium.
Pregnancy related complications – In case of pregnancy, with PCOS there are possibilities of certain complications like miscarriage, premature birth, gestational diabetes or pregnancy induced hypertension.
Liver disease – The liver can be affected in PCOS such that severe inflammation of liver can be caused by fat accumulation in the liver.
PCOS has become a challenge for women’s health across the globe. It is a challenge because of various reasons. First and foremost is the rate at which it is growing. It is also a big concern because of the symptoms it causes –such as irregular menses, undesirable physical changes, disturbances at mental level, trouble in sleep pattern and more.
Complications such as infertility, metabolic syndrome, endometrial cancer etc. are additional factors of concern.
Does this challenge have any solution? Is there a way out? Yes, there is. We, at Dyumna women’s clinic do accept the challenge of PCOS with confidence based on the results of our patients.
Our treatment strategy emphasises on making corrections at the metabolic level. We make detailed personalised plans for our patients which include medicines and Rasayanas which are herbo mineral preparations of great efficacy. Lifestyle correction is an inherent part of our treatment plan as it is one of the prime causes of PCOS. Our specialised treatment procedures have shown to have great impact in treating PCOS as well.
Ayurved focuses on making corrections in the systems involved. The overall treatment plan aids the system to make corrections in its functioning and move towards normalcy.
As a consequence, we are able to achieve regulation in the menstrual cycle, manage the physical & mental symptoms, make correction in the ovulation pattern and more.
Treatment plan varies from person to person in order to address the individual needs.
We do address the possibilities of complications of PCOS and provide help for the same.
We, at Dyumna, extend our help towards you to face & overcome the challenge of PCOS with confidence!