What is PCOS/PCOD?
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) or Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD) is a very common issue affecting about 10-20% of young women of child bearing age group. It consists of development of cystic structure or multiple cavities containing fluid within the ovaries. Because of multiple cysts in ovaries give rise to various problems related to hormonal imbalance.
Who are prone to get PCOS?
Though not clear, there are various risk factors that can be associated with increased risk of PCOS. These include obesity (Body Mass Index >30), family history, some genetic issues, taking various medications like antiepileptics (used for seizures), stressful life and physical inactivity.
What are signs and symptoms of PCOD?
You must look for following symptoms and consult a physician if you are getting these.
- Irregular and longer periods
- Increase in weight
- Unable to become pregnant (infertility)
- Growing hairs over body
- Increased urination, thirst
How PCOS is diagnosed?
Doctor will look for all the symptoms of PCOS mentioned above and may ask you to do various laboratory tests like
- Transvaginal sonography (to see for multiple cysts in one or both ovaries)
- Hormonal blood tests (TSH, Antimullerian hormone, FSH, LH, Androgen levels)
- Urine examination
- Blood glucose levels
- Hysterosalpingography (HSG) if infertility is a problem. HSG will tell whether fallopian tubes are patent or is there any block that is causing infertility.
What lifestyle changes are helpful in PCOS?
PCOS is a growing problem and many a times associated modern lifestyle that causes weight gain and increased chances of getting PCOS. Mainstay of management of PCOS is having healthy lifestyle habits. A patient of PCOS should try these lifestyle modifications to prevent harmful effects of PCOS.
- Regular exercise (Walking, jogging, roping)
- Yoga and meditation
- Avoid oily, frozen foods
- Avoid alcohol and smoking
- Avoid stress and worries as possible
What are treatment modalities available for PCOS?
After diagnosing PCOS, Physician may first tell patient to have healthy lifestyle and diet modifications. There are many ways to treat a patient of PCOS.
- Oral contraceptive pills- Regularize your menstrual periods and prevent growth of excessive hairs over body. OC pill may not be advised to women who are trying to conceive and undergoing treatment of infertility.
- Metformin- is a medication generally used in diabetes mellitus is also useful in treating PCOS as it treat insulin resistance (a common issue in PCOS patients that lead to diabetes). Metformin also help women reducing weight.
- Treatment of infertility: In PCOS infertility is a common issue and most often may resolve after treatment. There is problem in ovulation in PCOS, hence physician may prescribe medicines that enhance your ovulation. Clomiphene 50mg starting dose from day 2 to day 7 of menstrual cycle is very commonly used medication to induce ovulation. Ovulation monitoring by sonography or by using ovulation kits is performed to check whether ovulation is occurring or not. FSH may also be used for maturation of follicles that leads to ovulation.
- In-vitro fertilisation (IVF) is used when other medical treatment for infertility and lifestyle modification failed to work.
- Surgery to drill multiple abnormal cysts may be performed rarely.
- Acupuncture may be useful but no any clear-cut evidence.
So, if you are having any symptom of PCOS, consult your physician at earliest and get it treated. Always remember to have stress-free and healthy lifestyle habits which is of utmost important in managing and preventing PCOS.