PCOS – Symptoms and Treatment

PCOS is also known as Polycystic Ovarian syndrome and nowadays it is most common in women. It is a very common morbid problem affecting 5-10% of women in the age group of 12 – 45 years. PCOS is a hormonal disorder causing enlargement of ovaries along with small cysts on the outer edge. These results in excessive release of androgen and estrogen hormones leading to multiple health problems but recognition of this condition at right time with management can help in controlling PCOS. This disorder is closely associated with irregular menstruation cycles and ovulation.

Experts are yet to find the exact cause of Polycystic Ovarian Disease, however early diagnosis and treatment along with weight loss can help in preventing long-term complications caused by Polycystic Ovarian Disease such as diabetes and heart disease.  The excessive level of androgen is more or less triggers the problem. Sudden weight gain can also lead to Polycystic Ovarian Disease in females. Female ovaries produce female sex hormones and little male sex hormones, Polycystic Ovarian Disorder is caused by the imbalance of these sex hormones. When ovaries start making more androgen (male sex hormones), this causes ovulation in females, increase male hormone develop pimples and the growth of excessive hair on the body.

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of PCOD develop in women around the first menstrual cycle during puberty while some women find out they have PCOD after a substantial weight gain, others may find out while facing difficulty in conceiving. One of the most common and visible symptoms of PCOS is irregular, infrequent or prolonged periods. Because of the presence of excessive androgen, more than 70% of women having PCOD may witness excess hair growth on their face, chest, belly and several other parts of the body. Dark patches on the skin near the neck, breasts or groin area, acne, constant headaches are several other symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Disorder. If you are overweight or obese, you might have severe PCOD symptoms.

Diagnosis:

Doctors typically diagnose PCOS in women who have at least two of these three symptoms:

  1. high androgen levels
  2. irregular menstrual cycles
  3. cysts in the ovaries.

pelvic exam can look for any problems with your ovaries or other parts of your reproductive tract. 

Cure:

Treatment to cure PCOS is mainly to take care of diet and lifestyle modification inclusion of sports activity, however, you can control the disorder by making tweaks in your lifestyle. This will help the patient to ease the symptoms of the disorder.

The best treatment for Polycystic Ovarian Disorder is by ensuring proper weight reduction and management. PCOD patients must exercise daily and maintain a healthy diet. Even a 5% reduction in weight can be vital in managing PCOD. If a patient is looking for medical assistance, the treatment will focus on managing individual concerns like infertility, acne,  this would require consultation from several experts like dermatologists, gynaecologists, infertility experts etc. But one needs to note that no medication can help in controlling PCOD without lifestyle alterations.

Signs and symptoms of the disorder like PCOS should not be ignored and if having any concerns related to menstruation, pregnancy or any signs of excessive androgen-like acne, patchy skin, excessive hair growth;  one should consult a  doctor immediately.

Also read, How to fight PCOS with diet and nutrition

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of HelloPost.)


Authored by Dr. Madhulika Singh, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Aditya Birla Memorial Hospital, Pune