By Dr. Noopur Sharma, Gynaecology
PCOS, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is characterized by the formation of small cysts on the outsides of the enlarged ovaries. This is caused by the imbalance of hormones such as ‘estrogen’ and ‘progesterone’. PCOS generally affects the heart function, body weight, menstrual cycle and the overall appearance. The ovarian cysts lead to menstrual abnormalities and cramps and also reduce fertility. It includes symptoms such as menstrual cramps, irregular periods, heavy flow, fatigue, nausea, etc. In certain cases, PCOS may also affect a woman in her mid-age.
Common Symptoms Include:
- Sudden weight gain or weight loss problems.
- Excess hair on body and face due to a dip in female hormones.
- Irregularities in periods.
- Fertility problems.
- Reduction in size of breasts.
- Hair fall.
- Pain in the pelvic region.
Apart from these symptoms, a woman may also experience other health complications such as high levels of bad cholesterol (LDL), high blood pressure and diabetes.
The actual causes behind PCOS remain unknown. However, it is genetically influenced in most cases. Overproduction of the male hormone ‘androgen’ increases the risks of this condition. ‘Androgens’ are produced in trace amounts in the female body. The overproduction causes severe menstrual abnormalities and results in the development of ovarian cysts.
Diagnosis and Treatment-
Once diagnosed, the individual is asked to consider treatment. PCOS doesn’t necessarily have a particular cure. However, its symptoms can be largely controlled. Medications are given on the basis of the cause of the disease. If the cause is the overproduction of androgens, drugs to monitor the secretion of the hormone are administered. Physicians also suggest a balanced diet accompanied by exercises to control body weight and sugar levels. Often, PCOS leads to ovulation issues which can also be controlled by specific drugs.