PCOS is a hormonal disorder that occurs in females. It is estimated that PCOS affects about 1 in 10 women in the reproductive age group. In PCOS, usually high levels of male hormones are observed. Symptoms of PCOS differ from women to women and hence clinicians choose to personalize treatment as per the symptoms. A widely use management method is the use of birth control pills. Birth control pills are a combination of estrogen and progestin. This helps regulate hormones in women with PCOS as well as regularize their menstrual cycle. By regulating the menstrual cycle, birth control pills also increase the chances of pregnancy in PCOS women.
Birth control pills also help improve the cosmetic symptoms in women. It helps reduce the growth of unwanted hair and may also clear up PCOS related acne. It must also be noted that once women are taken off the pill, the cosmetic symptoms are likely to return.
It is also however important to remember that birth control pills may present some risks like increased risk for diabetes and may also lead to weight gain.
It is important to follow a good diet, adopt a exercise regime that works best and keep a check on your vital parameters. Often simply losing weight helps control a lot of symptoms in women.
It is estimated that more than 50% of women with PCOS are obese and have difficulty losing weight. There are multiple reasons why you may find it difficult to lose weight.
The most common cause is insulin resistance. In PCOS, the cells become resistant to insulin signals and this leads to the pancreas producing more insulin. Insulin as a hormone promotes fat storage thus making your body store fat. High levels of insulin in the blood also leads to secretion of male hormones. Insulin also stimulates appetite hence making you crave for food. These cravings are strong and urgent. Thus, the best of the diet plans goes for a toss. Other hormones that regulate the appetite like leptin, ghrelin is also impaired in PCOS thus leading to increased food intake and higher calorie consumption. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is also seen in some women with PCOS and may lead to weight gain due to improper sleep.
Checking your blood glucose levels, managing insulin resistance, a well-planned diet with an exercise regime can help you lose weight. Talk to your doctor and nutritionist to understand why you may not be losing weight and customize your weight loss plan that will work for you.
It is important to lose weight in PCOS. Even losing 10% of your overall weight helps regulate your cycle, improves your symptoms and also improves your chances of fertility.
Having PCOS does not mean that one can’t have kids. A lot of women with PCOS go on to have natural pregnancies. Women with PCOS are at three times more risk to suffer from mental health issues than normal women. Infertility, hirsutism and other related symptoms can all lead to anxiety and frustration.
PCOS affects a woman in several ways, women mostly get affected because of the abnormal hair growth, severe acne problems, obesity or weight gain, skin darkening and other symptoms. All of this results in low self-confidence and self-esteem which may spiral into depression if help is not sought.
It is important to empathize with women who have been diagnosed with PCOS and not remind them of their symptoms and make it worse for them to deal with their symptoms.
Women suffering from PCOS do not have their cycle regularly and depending on their cycle, be it 40 days, 50 days or 75 days, the days when they are most likely to ovulate (release of the egg) may change. There is a surge in Luteinizing Hormone just when a woman is about to ovulate and Ovulation predictor kits.
If you are diagnosed with PCOS and when you are planning a pregnancy, your doctor may put you on a birth control pill, to regulate your monthly cycle, to bring your hormones under control. These will help and increase your chances of ovulation and a normal pregnancy.
Irregular periods are very common with PCOS and it is important to speak to your doctor about it to manage your PCOS.
Women with PCOS are at greater risk for anxiety and depression. Just being diagnosed with PCOS or the process of diagnosis and the difficulty of diagnosis can be frustrating and exhausting; pushing women into anxiety. In PCOS, mental health and emotional health is just as important as physical health. PCOS also messes with eating habits and sleep cycle; thereby adding to the burden of other overwhelming emotions. Cosmetic symptoms also post a dent psychologically. It is important to speak to a mental health expert and attend counselling sessions to regain control of your life.
There is no cure for PCOS. PCOS is a syndrome and the cause till date is unknown. What we know today is that PCOS is a hormonal and reproductive disorder and is also known to be inherited genetically. PCOS is also different from woman to woman and symptoms each of them may face can be different. Regardless of the kind of symptoms, PCOS is a challenging condition that includes lifestyle interventions, medications and regular monitoring. Often people are under the misconception that removing uterus or ovaries can cure PCOS. But PCOS is not a reproductive disorder alone, it is a syndrome and any woman with PCOS are at high risk for other complications like cholesterol, high blood sugar levels, insulin resistance obesity, higher risk to cardiovascular diseases etc. Removing the ovaries will not make these complications go away. Rather, removing ovaries or uterus will send the woman in to an early menopause which also has its own complications.
PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) affects the ovaries of women, the reproductive organs that make estrogen and progesterone — hormones that control the period cycle. The ovaries also slightly produce male hormones called androgens. Each month, the ovaries discharge eggs to be fertilized by the male sperm. The discharge of an egg every month is called ovulation. Absence of ovulation stops the lining of uterus from shedding every month. Few women with PCOS get less than eight periods a year. Most women who suffer from PCOS complain of extreme or excruciating pain during periods.
Regulating your monthly cycle will be high on the priority list for your doctor when she discusses your PCOS management plan with you.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine and reproductive disorder in females of the reproductive age group around the world. Despite its high prevalence, PCOS is underdiagnosed and frequently takes more than one visit or different physicians to get identified, and these usually occur in more than a one-year timeframe. It is a very frustrating process for the patient. Delay in diagnosis can lead to the progression of complications making more difficult to implement lifestyle intervention, which is critical for the improvement of features of PCOS and quality of life.
Often women with PCOS are dismissed as not looking like someone who may have PCOS, thereby causing delays in diagnosis. This is especially seen in women with lean PCOS. Creating awareness is the only way to get more women diagnosed correctly with PCOS.
PCOS makes it difficult for the body to use the hormone insulin, which ordinarily helps in converting sugar and starch from food into energy. This state is called insulin resistance. High levels of insulin increase the release of androgens (male hormones). High androgen levels cause cosmetic symptoms such as hirsutism, acne and is partly responsible for weight gain. Most women with PCOS are overweight. They often try hard, but fail to lose weight with PCOS, and the body is in fat storage mode because of the excessive insulin. Insulin is also an appetite stimulating hormone which leads to strong and intense cravings, leading to higher calorie consumption, further adding up the pounds.
Thus, a woman with PCOS may be doing everything she can to lose weight.
People with PCOS are about 3 times more likely to experience depression and anxiety than people without PCOS; the reasons for this are still unclear. Women with PCOS often feel a range of emotions and can have extreme mood swings. They may be happy one minute and extremely agitated and frustrated the next minute. Yoga, high intensity exercise, mindfulness and acupuncture all seem to have positive effects on women with PCOS.
It is important to seek help from mental health professionals when emotions seem to be out of control. Medications may also help with anxiety and depression.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a very common endocrine condition that affects women in their reproductive age. PCOS often leads to difficulty in conceiving. PCOS women experience conditions like erratic periods, abnormal hair growth, acne & polycystic ovaries. PCOS indeed has a negative impact on fertility as women with pcos do not ovulate regularly every month as other women due to increased production of oestrogen by the ovaries. Since ovulation is irregular, periods become irregular & increased level of male hormones; testosterone, affects the egg quality hampering ovulation. This interference leads to insulin resistance that can escalate the chances of gestational diabetes. For women who are trying to conceive with PCOS, the most important step to the treatment is lifestyle changes, healthy diet and exercise.
Some women with PCOS can experience both hirsutism and loss of hair from the scalp. Hirsutism is basically defined as male-pattern growth. It is a frustrating symptom as women may have hair growth on chest, abdomen, mustache and beard area, underarms, buttocks etc. Lifestyle management along with medication helps control the symptoms. Balding from the scalp is called as female pattern hair loss or androgenic alopecia.
PCOS and symptoms that arise from PCOS is often dismissed as something that is in your head. Mostly because the underlying cause is still unknown. PCOS Symptoms are real and often debilitating and puts a lot of stress on the woman who is suffering from PCOS. Dismissing these symptoms or undermining their suffering can worsen the mental health of patients with PCOS.
Many women experience period pain at some point in their lives. In the medical professional world, period pain is referred to as ‘dysmenorrhea’ or, more commonly, menstrual cramps – and is normal. Although this monthly pain is considered normal, it can range from mild discomfort to often severe, debilitating pain. For an estimated one in four women, period pain can be so severe it interferes with their daily lives and activities.
There are two different types of pain: spasmodic period pain is that intense, featuring cramps or a described ‘stabbing’ feeling in the lower abdomen that comes and goes in waves; while congestive period pain is a more continuous dull ache. Period pain can also vary from month to month, and sometimes you may get little to no discomfort, then the next month your period may be painful.
Often PCOS goes undiagnosed because period pain is dismissed as something that is normal and has to be tolerated.
PCOS weakens you both physical & mentally. The constant dependence on medicines comes with major side effects like depression & anxiety. It also affects the way you feel about your appearance and nothing can soothe you. The worst is when the society constantly reminds you that your appearance is not appealing to the general requirement and they keep giving you tips & tricks to lose weight or have an acne free skin. What you need to know is that it is difficulty to lose weight in PCOS and cannot happen overnight. Also, Hirsutism and Acne are a part of pcos and can only be controlled and not completely treated. Despite all the research from not only India but also across the globe, at our perusal, PCOS is still a difficult problem. The problem worsens when there still exists the overwhelming social disgrace around female bodies that reduces our duties to our ability to conceive. PCOS is not a disease; it’s a syndrome that is curable through timely care and treatment. It is time you make peace with it so that it makes peace with you too. Don’t be ashamed of the body hair, it is normal. Don’t traumatize yourself to fit in to the society standards.
There are brave PCOS warriors who refuse to remove their facial hair and proudly embrace it as a sign of their suffering and overcoming their helplessness in dealing with their symptoms. PCOS women have often come forward and said how they are referred to as a werewolf because of their body hair. Women spend a considerable time, money and energy in hair removal procedures. Hirsutism is caused by excess of male hormones and hormone therapy is known to help with the symptoms.
Sometimes you ask for advice and you are given an advice. But there are times when there is a lot of well-meaning but unsolicited advice that is thrown at you. PCOS comes with a laundry list of complications and symptoms and hence be prepared for someone with flawless skin who will tell you that your facewash is causing acne. There are others who might advise you on what diet works for you and some others who may dole out advice on why you are not conceiving despite trying.
Most of these times, such unsolicited love is coming from a place of love and yet can be frustrating to deal with. It is best to smile, ignore and move on because it is important to be in control of your emotions.
However advice from fellow PCOS patients can be very useful and hence joining support groups could be a great place for getting some solid advice.
Menstrual irregularities is one of the most common and known symptoms of pcos. Either they are completely absent or they come inconsistently or they are very heavy or light. In general, menstruation in pcos is painful and erratic. Menstrual abnormalities are exasperating symptom of PCOS that directly affects the daily routine of women. Unpredictable cycles, heavy menstrual flow & extreme pain make it difficult for women to lead a normal routine. A healthy lifestyle is one of the key aspects in managing PCOS. Loss of excess weight can reduce the gravity of pcos symptoms. Even a 10% weight loss can have a significant impact that can directly regulate the menstrual cycle.