Around 10% of women in India have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) according to experts who launched the country’s first PCOS Chapter in Mumbai on Friday. Women with the disorder show varying symptoms which may be cosmetic, gynaecological and endocrinological. As a result they are prone to a host of skin ailments such as acne, facial hair and pigmentation as well as gynaecological such as irregular periods, infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss.
Endocrinological health problems such as obesity, insulin resistance and diabetes are also common in such women.
“The management of PCOS does not end with the treatment of acne, irregular periods or infertility, it goes much beyond that. We need to prevent metabolic syndrome, and its associated cardiac problems, cancer of the uterus, severe obesity among others. which commonly occur in women with PCOS at an older age,” said Dr Duru Shah, scientific director of Gynaecworld and founder president of the PCOS Society.
According to experts, PCOS is not a disease but a syndrome of multiple symptoms and signs. Its diagnosis is tricky because not all women may have all symptoms.. The chapter that opened on Friday brought multiple disciplines of medicine under one umbrella.
“PCOS is the most common endocrine disorder in young women. A collective that focuses on PCOS will help raise awareness, education and research specific to their region of the world,” said Dr Anuja Dokras, president of the Androgen Excess and PCOS society, University of Pennsylvania, USA.
The PCOS society plans to serve as a forum for productive engagement between professionals from different clinical backgrounds, and encourage evidencebased studies that can guide the management of these disorders. Besides, the society also has set itself the goal of developing recommendations and protocols for the management of PCOS.
“It is extremely important to make a timely and correct diagnosis of PCOS when girls or women come to us with their symptoms, and convince them to have a regular follow up. By selfdetermination and self-discipline in their life style, women themselves, can overcome this difficult situation and live healthy lives,” said Dr Shah.
What is polycystic ovarian syndrome?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine system disorder among women of a younger age mostly. It is a problem in which a woman’s hormones are out of balance. It can cause problems with your periods and make it difficult to get pregnant. PCOS also may cause unwanted changes in the way you look. If it isn’t treated, over time it can lead to serious health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease.
Symptoms tend to be mild at first. You may have only a few symptoms or a lot of them. The most common symptoms are:
Weight gain and trouble losing weight
Extra hair on the face and body. Often women get thicker and darker facial hair and more hair on the chest, belly, and back
Thinning hair on the scalp
Irregular periods: Often women with PCOS have fewer than nine periods a year. Some women have no periods. Others have very heavy bleeding
Fertility problems. Many women who have PCOS have trouble getting pregnant (infertility).