Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormone imbalance that affects about 1 in 10 women. It is an endocrine system disorder that affects women in their reproductive years.
Women with PCOS may have irregular or prolonged menstrual periods or excess male hormone (androgen) levels. The ovaries may develop numerous small collections of fluid (follicles) and fail to regularly release eggs. It also causes hair growth on the face and body and baldness.
It is also linked to the development of other medical conditions, such as insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
What do you mean by PCOS?
PCOS is a syndrome or group of symptoms that affect the ovaries and ovulation. Its three main features are:
– cysts in the ovaries
– high levels of male hormones
– irregular or skipped periods
Symptoms of PCOS
Signs of PCOS include:
– Irregular menstrual cycle: Women with PCOS may miss periods or have fewer periods (fewer than eight in a year). Or, their periods may come every 21 days or more often. Some women with PCOS stop having menstrual periods.
– Too much hair: Growth of hair on the face, chin, or parts of the body where men usually have hair. This is called “hirsutism.”
– Acne: On the face, chest, and upper back
– Thinning hair or hair loss on the scalp
– Weight gain
– Darkening of skin, particularly along neck creases, in the groin, and underneath breasts
– Skin tags, which are small excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck area
What Causes PCOS?
Gynaecologists in Vile Parle West says doctors don’t know all of the reasons why some women get PCOS.
Most experts think that several factors given below can be the causes of this syndrome.
– Genetics: People who have a mother or sister with PCOS are more likely to develop PCOS than someone whose relatives do not have the condition
– High levels of androgens: Androgens are sometimes called “male hormones,” although all women make small amounts of androgens. Androgens control the development of male traits, such as male-pattern baldness. Women with PCOS have more androgens than normal
– High levels of insulin: Insulin is a hormone that controls how the food you eat is changed into energy. Insulin resistance is when the body’s cells do not respond normally to insulin. As a result, your insulin blood levels become higher than normal.
As per Dr. Uddhavraj Dudhedia, PCOS treatment focuses on managing your individual concerns, such as infertility, hirsutism, acne or obesity. Specific treatment might involve lifestyle changes or medication.
– Lifestyle changes
Your doctor may recommend weight loss through a low-calorie diet combined with moderate exercise activities. Even a modest reduction in your weight might improve your condition. Losing weight may also increase the effectiveness of medications your doctor recommends for PCOS and can help with infertility.
To regulate your menstrual cycle, your doctor might recommend:
1. Combination birth control pills
Pills that contain estrogen and progestin decrease androgen production and regulate estrogen. Regulating your hormones can lower your risk of endometrial cancer and correct abnormal bleeding, excess hair growth and acne. Instead of pills, you might use a skin patch or vaginal ring that contains a combination of estrogen and progestin.
2. Progestin therapy
Taking progestin for 10 to 14 days every one to two months can regulate your periods and protect against endometrial cancer. Progestin therapy doesn’t improve androgen levels and won’t prevent pregnancy.
PCOS treatment Diet
Changing your diet should be the first thing that you do when you are diagnosed with PCOS. PCOS diet should be such that it helps to reduce weight and positively affects hormones and improves insulin resistance.
What foods should you have more in your diet?
– Low Glycemic Load Diet:
They tend to be unprocessed, unrefined and rich in fiber and vitamins and minerals. The body digests foods with a low GI more slowly, meaning they do not cause insulin levels to rise as much or as quickly as other foods, such as some carbohydrates. Foods in a low GI diet include whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits, starchy vegetables, and other unprocessed, low-carbohydrate foods.
– Anti-inflammatory foods:
Women with PCOS tend to have low levels of chronic inflammation. Anti-inflammatory foods, such as berries, fatty fish, leafy greens, and extra virgin olive oil, may reduce inflammation-related symptoms, such as fatigue.
– Lean protein foods:
Lean protein sources like tofu, chicken, and fish don’t provide fiber but are very filling and a healthy dietary option for women with PCOS.
Foods to avoid
According to Gynaecologists in Mumbai, there are various foods that can make your condition worse than ever. Some of the foods to avoid with PCOS may include-
1. Processed foods: Processed foods have high sodium content and may contain unhealthy fats that may only worsen your case. Make sure you limit the number of processed foods like junk food, canned products, fried foods, et al.
2. Milk: Milk has the tendency to increase the testosterone levels; thanks to its high protein content that limits the normal testosterone metabolism. High testosterone levels can worsen your situation, so prefer having skimmed milk than full-fat.
3. Simple and refined carbohydrates: Women with PCOS are at a higher risk of developing diabetes and gaining weight. Sugary foods and refined flours end up increasing the blood sugar level.
4. Soy and fat: Soy products generally cause a delay in ovulation and if you are trying to conceive, there may be a chance that your consumption of soy may be affecting it.
5. Caffeine and alcohol: Caffeine and alcohol have long been associated with infertility, which may worsen the case in women with PCOS.
PCOS is one of the most common disorders affecting women of reproductive age. PCOS is not just an endocrine disorder, but a combination of metabolic and psychosocial detriments.
As a syndrome, it has multiple components, including reproductive, metabolic, and cardiovascular, with long-term health concerns that cross the life span.