By Aadil Rashid
An increasing number of women in reproductive age, in Kashmir Valley, are suffering from a hormonal disorder called PCOS.
What is PCOS? Whom does it affect?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is calculated to be an accomplished disease with a spectrum of manifestations, affecting not only women of childbearing age, but also adolescents and postmenopausal women.
PCOS, by the nature of the disease, adversely influences the fertility and reproductive health of the affected women. Moreover, with its association with other lifestyle diseases, it is also the cause of significant cardiovascular and metabolic morbidity. Some crackerjacks say that most women ignore the common symptoms of PCOS and turn to a doctor only when they face unrest in conceiving.
What do the experts say?
According to Dr. Sheikh Firdous, renowned doctor of North Kashmir, “The incidence of the condition has been increasing day by day, yet many women don’t think that it may be PCOS, even when they notice the symptoms.“ They simply ascribe it to lifestyle. PCOS does arise out of poor lifestyle habits but it has adverse effects and should be treated. Since it is not life-threatening, people don’t care enough about it, he said.
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
Clinical symptoms of PCOS are:
- Irregular and delayed periods or no periods because of lack of ovulation
- Excess facial hair (hirsutism)
- Thinning of scalp hair because of higher levels of male hormones
- Multiple small cysts in the ovaries
- Low levels of FSH, LH and high levels of Progesterone hormones
What are the causes of PCOS?
Some of the causes of PCOS are:
- Obesity (excessive weight) – Almost 82% of PCOS patients are obese. It is due to an unhealthy diet and lack of physical exercise.
- Family history – Women whose mother and/or sister(s) has/have PCOS or Type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop PCOS.
- Insulin resistance (Type 2 diabetes) – It may lead to heavy and painful periods
- Metabolic issues such as diabetes, gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy), heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, Cancer of the uterus
- Depression and anxiety (though the connection is not fully understood)
- Some other causes too have been seen in adolescent girls due to eating fast foods, cold drinks etc.
What is the treatment of PCOS?
If you observe any of the aforementioned symptoms, especially irregular or delayed periods, then consult a doctor. Lose weight if obesity has triggered PCOS. Eat a balanced, low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet. Increase physical activity like use of treadmill, cycling, walking. Doctor may prescribe medication to help ovulation, reduce acne, hair growth and other symptoms.