PCOS is a condition that affects hormone levels in women. Learn about how to deal with it from the experts.
Polycystic ovarian disease or polycystic ovarian syndrome is a condition that affects hormone levels in women. This hormonal disorder usually occurs in women of reproductive age and affects the performance of a woman's ovaries. Women suffering from PCOS / PCOD have higher levels of the male hormone than normal. For this reason, her menstrual cycle remains irregular and she has to face difficulties in getting pregnant. Irregular menstruation means ovaries are not ovulating regularly. Women suffering from this condition experience unusual to heavy periods, their periods of the cycle may be longer than 35 days and less than nine periods a year.
PCOS / PCOD also cause excessive growth of hair on the face and body and can also cause baldness. It can also cause long-term health problems such as heart problems and diabetes. This hormonal imbalance is treated using diabetes medicines and birth control pills.
Symptoms of PCOS / PCOD
Some of the most common symptoms seen in women suffering from PCOS / PCOD are:
- Weight gain, especially around the waist
- Difficulty losing weight
- Excess hair growth, thinning hair, or scalp hair loss in different parts of the body
- Acne on face, chest, and upper back
- Oily skin
- Mood swings
- Dark spots on the skin of the face
- Pelvic area pain
- Infertility or trouble in pregnancy
- Polycystic ovaries - In this condition the ovaries are enlarged and there are many fluid-filled sacs around the eggs.
- An irregular, abnormal or prolonged cycle of the menstrual cycle.
Diagnosis of PCOS / PCOD
PCOS is a common medical condition affecting 5 million women in India. Two or more of the following symptoms are sufficient to diagnose this condition.
- High levels of certain hormones like a follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, estrogen, testosterone, sex hormone-binding globulin, human chorionic gonadotropin, anti-mullerian hormone, etc.
- Irregular and unusual periods
- Presence of 12 cysts or more. The cyst is detected with the help of sonography as it provides an enlarged view of the internal structure of the ovaries, which makes it easy to detect the presence of any abnormal growth (cyst).
If your Menstrual Cycle is experiencing any problems with the inability impairment, pregnancy, expand or the symptoms described above in androgen levels, please consult a trained medical professional. The doctor will suggest blood tests and do a physical examination of your body and ovaries. However, doctors will rule out the possibility of thyroid before recommending special tests to detect PCOS / PCOD.
Doctors will usually start with a description of your health history, including any history of PCOS in your family, weight change patterns, and a menstrual cycle chart. For an advanced and more definitive diagnosis, doctors may suggest the following:
- Physical examination: Blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), measurement of waist size, as well as an examination of excess hair, pimples, and skin discoloration on the face, chest, and back. All these symptoms are common signs of PCOS and therefore doctors will thoroughly examine your body for any of these signs. Your doctor will want to know your history of pregnancy and whether your mother or other women in your family are suffering from PCOS.
- Pelvic examination: Pelvis is examined to check for any type of message growth and other inequalities. As a routine examination, the doctor will inspect parts of the body including the cervix, vagina, fallopian tubes, uterus, rectum, and ovaries. Any unusual finding may require a round of invasive tests and procedures.
- Pelvic ultrasound examines cysts in the ovaries and inspects the endometrium (lining of the uterus). It is also called a sonogram, when you lie down, the doctor puts an ultrasound device in your vagina, and then this test creates an image of your ovaries. After this, the doctor will examine the linings of the UTRUS wall on the screen to check if there is any cyst in them. In the case of an abnormal menstrual cycle, the lining will look thicker than normal.
- Blood tests: Blood tests are done to check the level of androgen hormones. The doctor will also check for other hormonal problems such as thyroid. Tests can also be done to check cholesterol levels and diabetes. Blood samples collected are examined to detect levels of various hormones such as follicle-stabilizing hormone, luteinizing hormone, estrogen, testosterone, sex hormone-binding globulin, human chorionic gonadotropin, anti-mullerian hormone, etc.
PCOS / PCOD treatment
There is no cure for this syndrome, but there are better ways to manage the condition. For this, lifestyle changes along with necessary medicines are advised. PCOS treatment focuses on personal concerns such as infertility, hirsutism, acne, or obesity, which may include :)
- Hormonal birth control or contraceptive pills or intrauterine device (IUD)
- Combination of birth control pills
- Skin patches or vaginal rings can also be used in place of puppies.
- Anti-androgen drugs
PCOS is a common hormonal condition affecting women. Once the disease is identified, it can be easily managed with lifestyle changes, the right medicines, and treatment.
Special thanks to Doctor XYZ (Qualification/designation) for the expert advice.