POLYCYSTIC OVARY SYNDROME (PCOS)

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS may have infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods. Or excess male hormone (androgen) levels. The ovaries may develop multiple small collections of fluid (follicles) and fail to regularly release eggs.

Alt text=Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

PCOD strikes mostly at an early age. Therefore, a substantial number of young adults go through this problem. Especially this is a common endocrine disorder of unknown etiology. It affects 5-10% of women of reproductive age. The average age group suffering from PCOD varies between 18 and 45 years. In summary, it is important for the youth to understand this disease at its onset, along with the causes and implications in the future.

Generally, PCOD is characterized by multiple small cysts in the ovaries. Such as it makes the ovary enlarges and leads to excessive production of androgen and estrogen hormones causing various bodily issues.

Causes of Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

The cause of PCOD is still unknown. However, the association of PCOD with low-grade inflammation. Excess production of male hormones (Hyperandrogenism) in high quantity and genetics are seen. Also, the early age of menarche, unhealthy lifestyle and pollution are some of the contributing factors of PCOD.

PCOS affects the ovulation cycle. It interferes with menstruation and fertility, making periods irregular and pregnancy difficult. Above all, a stable ovulation cycle is important in maintaining PCOS symptoms. You can help yourself by avoiding unnatural ingestions. For instance, sometimes, women take pills to postpone their menstruation cycle. This should be minimized, if not completely avoided. Do it as rarely as once a year, if you must.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and Pregnancy

Getting pregnant is not an issue if PCOS is under control. However, poor management of the disease would require medications or Assisted reproductive technology (ART) with infertility expert’s opinions.

It is also to be noted that people with PCOS have a limited ovarian capacity in order to produce healthy eggs. Thus, they are advised to opt for an early pregnancy if they want children as advancing age affects the quality of the eggs adversely.

It is always advisable to consult a gynecologist to discuss the symptoms. The doctor may order some tests like the PCOS Panel test to determine the disease and lay the treatment plan.

Know the symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Watch out for the following common symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Disorder:

  • Irregular periods, occurring every 2 to 3 months (amenorrhea)
  • Heavy bleeding (Menorrhagia)
  • Unusual body and facial hair growth (hirsutism)
  • Stubborn acne that refuses to heal with the usual treatments. This is due to excess peripheral androgen.
  • Uncontrolled weight gain around the waist area especially
  • Pigmentation or darkening of the skin around the neck region (Acanthosis nigricans)
  • Infertility
  • Male-pattern baldness
  • Headaches

You can have one or all of these symptoms.

A person may be lean or have clear skin but still suffer from PCOS. This is because it is an endocrine disorder affecting several systems in the body. However, the main pathology behind the disease is Insulin Resistance and hyperinsulinemia. Insulin regulates sugar in the body. Insulin Resistance means the inability of cells to respond to the action of insulin in transporting glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream into muscle and other tissues. Hence pancreas produces more insulin to combat the high sugars.

Complications of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Uncontrolled PCOD can lead to numerous problems such as difficulty in conceiving, increased risk for early onset of type 2 diabetes. Patients with PCOS who become pregnant are at increased risk for perinatal complications such as gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia. In addition, they have increased long term risk of endometrial cancers. Other complications include increased cholesterol levelshigh blood pressure, and even breast cancer.

Treatment of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

The cure is still determined for PCOD. For example, you can control the disease by making lifestyle modifications. And multidisciplinary approach needs to be taken. Consult the dietitian, gynecologist, endocrinologist, dermatologist, and infertility expert.

  • Medicines are available to treat insulin resistance and balance hormones to correct menstrual cycles.
  • Skin treatments are available for acne, pigmentation, and hair growth.
  •  Fertility drugs are administered to infertile patients.
  • Oral medicines and injections are available for ovulation induction and to rupture the egg for enhancing fertility.
  • Some cases may require Second-line therapy such as aromatase inhibitors, laparoscopic surgery, or ovarian drilling.
  • Usually, PCOS is treated aggressively for patients who are willing to conceive. Adolescent patients are treated with hormones and metformin to regularize the periods and insulin resistance.

For the most part, the best way to control and manage PCOD is by ensuring proper weight management. Such as even a 5% reduction in weight can help a lot in treating the disease.

PCOS patients must exercise on a regular basis.

You can walk, run or go to the gym, but do it regularly. Don’t do too much too soon. Increase the exercises gradually, so it doesn’t become a stressful activity.

One of the problems that PCOS patients have is not being able to lose weight easily. However, remember that even if you are not able to see the difference on the weighing scale, it will help you reduce your symptoms over the long run.  

Specifically, focus on lower abdomen exercises. In this case, these will help shed belly fat.

Maintain a healthy diet.

healthy diet can do wonders in preventing PCOS or reducing its symptoms. You must abstain from eating sweets and fried food completely. In general, avoid high-calorie food. When you have a craving for sweets, eat an apple. Eat frequent small meals rather than large and irregular ones. This will also help you avoid snacking in between. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Ensure that you eat a nourishing breakfast on time. Plan your meal for the day and stick to your plan. This will help you stay away from junk food. Add fibrous foods to your diet like brown rice and whole-wheat bread. Avoid dairy products. The diet should be low on sugars and carbohydrates. Patients suffering from PCOD should take a high protein and high fibre diet.

Home Remedies for Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

Home remedies work best, all these ingredients you can find inside your kitchen, add them to your diet:

Fenugreek (Methi seed)

In women diagnosed with PCOS, insulin secreted by the pancreas is not efficiently utilized by the tissues and this leads to obesity and the production of excess testosterone. Consuming fenugreek leaves or seeds will help in maintaining normal insulin levels. It improves glucose tolerance in the body, which helps in weight loss. Soak methi seeds overnight and have it thrice a day on an empty stomach in the morning, and five minutes before lunch and dinner. You can also consume cooked methi leaves.

Cinnamon

This spice increases the odds of conceiving. Mix cinnamon with milkshakes or yogurt, bake them into cakes and muffins, or just sprinkle them over your cup of chai. Since it pretty much has no calories, you don’t have to worry about piling on kilos.

Flax seeds

These seeds are a very good source of fibre, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and lignans, a protein that reduces the number of available testosterone in our body. Flax seeds help in utilizing the glucose and insulin in the body, cancelling out most of the side effects of PCOS. You can add the seeds in the form of powder to your breakfast or mix them with juices. You can also add them to your drinking water every day.

Tulsi

The androgens do not utilize because the ovulation process does not take place. Also, the SHBG protein produced by the liver is also pretty low. This is why women have excessive facial hair growth and acne, and trouble conceiving. Tulsi can control androgens and moderate insulin levels. It’s also an excellent antioxidant. Chew at least 10 leaves early in the morning on an empty stomach. Consume boiled tulsi water on a regular basis.

Honey

Obesity and PCOS are by-products of each other. PCOS mess up hormones in the body, and this leads to obesity. If no steps are taken to reduce weight, it could lead to a higher order of diseases like arthritis and heart ailments. Honey reduces hunger pangs and keeps you full. Mix one tbsp of honey with lemon and lukewarm water and have it only on an empty stomach early in the morning. This aids in losing weight. Do not heat the honey.

Amla

The Indian gooseberry is a fruit that is adept at controlling blood sugar levels and improving fertility in women. Gooseberry is also rich in antioxidants and vitamin C. It’s also a very good cleanser it flushes out the toxins in the body and thus, aids in weight reduction. gooseberry and squeeze out its juice in a glass. Add lukewarm water and consume it. You can also add gooseberry sliced in a cup of yogurt to make raita or eat it raw, minus its seeds.

Keep your body and mind stress-free.

Following a healthy lifestyle with a diet including exercising can help a lot. Follow a mode of relaxation that you enjoy.  It is to be noted that no medication or line of treatment will help without proper lifestyle changes.