City’s PCOS patients form support group to spread awareness
Women diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in the city have formed a support group with the help of medical experts to create awareness and help patients overcome challenges in treating and managing it.
PCOS is a metabolic, reproductive and hormonal disorder that arises in women of childbearing age owing to a combination of genetic predispositions coupled with lifestyle factors such as lack of exercise, inadequate sleep, a high-calorie diet and stress.
“It is one of the leading causes of infertility among women,” said Sanjay Chauhan, a senior scientist working at an institute run by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Symptoms of PCOS include facial hair growth, scalp hair loss and weight gain.
The support group, PCOS Abhiyan, was founded in March by Dr Ashok Vaidya and Dr Rama Vaidya from the Kasturba Health Society in Vile Parle along with experts from the city’s major institutes such as Tata Institute of Social Sciences and National Institute of Research in Reproductive Health (NIRRH) and PCOS Society of India. “The support group will help patients understand each other’s difficulties. Discussing success stories of managing this condition with lifestyle changes and minimal usage of medicine will encourage women to seek help,” said Rama Vaidya, director of endocrine and metabolic disorders, medical research centre, Kasturba Health Society.
Ashok Vaidya, research director at the health society, said, “Lack of understanding of PCOS within society and medical circles has not eliminated the stigma associated with this disorder.”
Preeti Kalluri, 32, from Powai, said she was diagnosed with PCOS in 2012, after gaining 18kg over a period of six months and experiencing a lot of hair loss. “This platform will help patients accept this problem,” she said.
According to a 2012 NIRRH survey conducted in Parel, 22% of 1,000 girls and women between 15 and 24 years were found to have PCOS. “The prevalence in this area was higher than the global average of 10%. Most girls who were a part of the study belonged to lower socioeconomic classes and were not obese; rather, they were lean,” said Dr Beena Joshi, lead researcher of the survey. Joshi said the results suggested there was a greater need to test girls and women for PCOS, even though they do not overtly show symptoms associated with the disorder.