1 in every 5 women suffers from PCOS in India.*
Work-from-home and stress spilling all over, workout and healthy sleep cycles have taken a back seat. With lifestyle becoming so hard to manage with every passing day, Indian women are struggling to prioritize themselves. One of its many unfortunate gifts is PCOS.
Not just in India,
PCOS affects up to 12.6% of women across the globe.
You must have come across various self-help groups and communities of women suffering from PCOS. Women globally are being able to relate to its various issues and connect on a deeper level. Symptoms like hirsutism hit your self-esteem. PCOS is one of the biggest reasons for infertility. The risk of diabetes, obesity, depression and even cancer is always staring back at you.
I don’t mean to scare you but just popping a pill of Metformin alone won’t really cure it. The whole point of this blog is to make you aware of PCOS and how your unhealthy lifestyle is pushing you towards it. And, of course, why you need to stop it right here.
Take a deep breath. I know it isn’t easy to deal with this on your own. I assure you, I will try my best to educate you about it and by the end of it, you will find yourself at ease. So, let’s begin.
What is PCOD/PCOS?
[PCOD/PCOS full form in medical]
Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD) is a hormonal, reproductive, and metabolic disorder of a very complex nature. It is majorly caused by an imbalance in hormones, a bad lifestyle, obesity, and genes. The ovaries of a person with PCOD, often release either immature or only mature eggs. These eggs in isolation can then grow into cysts (little sacs filled with liquid).
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal imbalance that occurs during the reproductive years. Your ovaries produce excess androgens making your eggs prone to converting into cysts.
PCOD and PCOS Difference: Is There Really Any?
Yes, there is. PCOD and PCOS sound very similar but they do bear a slight difference. In PCOD, the ovaries begin releasing immature eggs, which can result in hormonal imbalances and swollen ovaries.**
While in PCOS, endocrine disorders cause the ovaries to create excess androgens, which increases the risk of cysts. Also, these cysts will not be expelled like they are in PCOD, rather, they will accumulate within the ovaries themselves.
PCOS has many of the same symptoms as PCOD, such as weight gain, infertility, acne, irregular periods, etc. PCOS also causes metabolic syndrome, which increases the risk of heart disease, strokes, and diabetes.
Signs and Symptoms of PCOS
Unlike popular belief, a woman needs to meet two of the following three criteria to be diagnosed with PCOS:
Androgen Excess: This shows up as Hirsutism, which is when dark, coarse hair grows in unwanted places on the face and body. Other symptoms include severe acne and male-pattern hair loss.
Problems with Ovulation: This is what doctors call periods that don't come on time (long cycles or absent cycles).
Ovaries with many cysts (polycystic): Some women have cysts, but not all of them do. You can see them in an ultrasound.
What does PCOS do to your body?
PCOS women often struggle with hormonal imbalances and metabolic issues. Some of the common symptoms include:
Irregular menstruation cycles,
Increased body mass.
How does PCOS get detected?
PCOS can be a difficult disorder to diagnose because there are so many symptoms. To be diagnosed, you don't need to have them all. There is no diagnostic test for PCOS.
Your doctor will discuss your symptoms, medications, and medical conditions. An ultrasound is a must. They may ask about your menstrual cycles and weight changes as well.
Reproductive health and fertility
PCOS: Can I still get pregnant?
Yes. PCOS does not prohibit you from becoming pregnant. PCOS is one of the most frequent, yet curable, reasons for female infertility. The hormonal imbalance in PCOS women interferes with the growth and release of eggs from the ovaries (ovulation). You cannot become pregnant if you do not ovulate.
Your doctor can advise you on methods to help you ovulate and increase your chances of getting pregnant. You can also use Ovulation Calculators to see which days of your menstrual cycle are most fertile.
While there is no exact medical treatment for PCOS, the good news is that it can be managed. For that, we first need to deeply understand the causes:
Some of the causes that have managed to come the closest are:
Women are more likely to get PCOS if their mother or sister has PCOS, obesity, or type 2 diabetes.
Resistance to insulin
The pancreas generates insulin. It permits cells to use sugar as energy. Blood sugar can rise if cells become insulin-resistant. This makes your body produce more insulin to lower blood sugar.
Too much insulin can increase androgen production. You may have problems ovulating when the ovary releases eggs. Insulin resistance can be affected a lot by how a person lives, especially if a woman is overweight and doesn't get enough exercise.
Chronic inflammation at a low level
In response to an invader or a wound, white blood cells release chemicals. Low-grade inflammation describes this sort of reaction. PCOS is characterized by chronic, low-grade inflammation that stimulates the overproduction of androgens in the ovaries.
Now, it is time to address the elephant in the room. The question that all of you must want to ask:
Is PCOS Curable?
Although a cure has not yet been discovered, there are numerous effective treatments that can help you manage PCOS.
Your doctor may prescribe medication like Ovasitol supplements and blood-sugar-controlling pills like Metformin to treat your symptoms.
Women can get pregnant with the help of fertility treatments. Regular ovulation and fewer PCOS symptoms can be achieved with just 5% PCOS weight loss. Exercise, Yoga for PCOS, and a healthy PCOD Diet are some of the best ways to manage your condition.
You may find it challenging to lose weight and keep it off, but you should stick to it. The health risks for women with PCOS are higher than for women without PCOS, and your efforts will help lower those risks. Since PCOS is associated with high blood pressure, pre-diabetes, and high cholesterol, these conditions pose the greatest health risks.
Hence, women must adhere to the PCOD diet chart for weight loss which is nothing but a full balanced meal. It must be rich in fibre and protein with excellent hydration. Our lifestyle choices (what we eat and how active we are) can either worsen or improve PCOS symptoms. But at the end of the day, it all depends on slow but steady conscious steps towards yourself, every single day.
Managing PCOS on your own can be a challenge. It's important to keep in mind that PCOS is curable if you can manage your conditions. This is a complex disease that may require some time to treat.
The severity of PCOS varies from person to person. Hence the treatment approaches and results can also differ. It's crucial to have an open discussion with your doctor and nutritionist about your treatment options for PCOS. There are multiple communities and doctor-backed platforms like Veera Health that provide you with everyday assistance in battling and reversing PCOS.
We hope this blog has helped you understand PCOS a little better. If you or someone you know is struggling with it, we urge you to encourage them to seek help as soon as possible.
The Author :
Dr. Sunil Khattri
Dr Sunil Khattri MBBS, MS(General Surgery), LLB, is a Medical doctor and is a practicing Advocate in the Supreme Court of India and National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi.