What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?
Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD) or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition in which there are multiple exiguous cysts, which mature within the periphery of the ovary. This is related to insulin insensitivity and excessive male hormones in women. PCOS may be evident in women from the age of 14 to 50 years. It causes acne, excessive facial and body hair, weight gain and irregular periods.
Can PCOS be Prevented?
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) cannot be totally prevented; however, early diagnosis and treatment helps when the big picture is taken into consideration. Immediate and proper treatment of PCOS can help avoid long-term complications such as infertility, metabolic syndrome, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Prophylaxis for Polycystic Ovarian Disease
- As PCOS is a genetic condition, there is no real prophylaxis for it, but you can definitely control PCOS by making simple lifestyle changes which include:
- Regular exercise and a healthy diet should be an integral part of your lifestyle for prophylactic treatment of PCOS.
- Early diagnosis of PCOS can be done by doing a sonography and some hormone tests and which can help in controlling PCOS.
- Weight loss is an important prophylactic measure for PCOS.
- In young girls, where the paramount problems are cosmetic, low dose hormone pills given for three weeks every month bring about regular periods. These pills also reduce acne and facial hair associated with PCOS.
- In patients who are trying to become pregnant, tablets and injections to bring about ovulation are very effective.
- Regular menses every month can be achieved by using hormone tablets and also prevent abnormal growth of the lining of the womb, which prevents the development of cancer of the uterus later.
- Anti-diabetic drugs, which improve insulin sensitivity, are said to improve the problems of PCOS and are therefore prescribed to many patients as a prophylactic treatment for PCOS. By laparoscopic ovarian drilling, keyhole surgery with a tiny needle, the cysts in the ovary can be burnt.
What Are The Problems Faced By Women Due to PCOS?
In women of child-bearing age, PCOS can cause infertility due to anovulation (the egg does not come out of the ovary each month). In older women, PCOS can cause diabetes and cancer of the uterus if not treated properly. Elaborating the problems caused by PCOS and what happens to your body when you are suffering from it:
- PCOS can affect your reproductive system and how your body handles blood sugar. It can also affect your heart.
- Hormone imbalances can cause several types of pregnancy problems and problems related to pregnancy, including:
- Infertility which happens when the ovaries aren’t releasing an egg every month.
- Repeat miscarriages.
- Gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
- Increased blood pressure during pregnancy or delivery; having a larger or smaller baby than normal baby; or having a premature baby.
- Pre-cancer of the uterine lining (endometrial hyperplasia). This can occur when you don’t have regular menstrual cycles, which normally build up and wash away and clear off the uterine lining every month.
- Uterine (endometrial) cancer. Risk during the reproductive years is 3 times greater in women who have PCOS than in women who ovulate monthly.
Certain lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, as aforementioned, are considered first-line treatment for adolescent girls and women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Pharmacologic treatments are reserved for metabolic derangements, such as anovulation, hirsutism, and menstrual irregularities. Medications for such conditions include oral contraceptives, metformin, prednisone, leuprolide, clomiphene and spironolactone.
Mean platelet volume (MPV) is a marker associated with adverse cardiovascular events, and women with newly diagnosed PCOS appear to have significantly escalated MPV levels. Consultation with an endocrinologist is necessary for performing an adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) stimulation test or for other causes of menstrual irregularity, such as thyroid disease or pituitary adenoma. A reproductive endocrinologist should be consulted if the patient is infertile and wants to conceive.
- Mayo Clinic. “Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).” https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pcos/symptoms-causes/syc-20353439
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).” https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos
- MedlinePlus. “Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).” https://medlineplus.gov/polycysticovarysyndrome.html
- Cleveland Clinic. “Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).” https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10603-polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos