Commonly known as PCOS, the polycystic ovarian syndrome is a lifestyle problem that affects every 1 out of 5 women in India. Marked by abnormally high production of male hormones leading to chronic hormonal imbalance, PCOS is a problem quite prevalent in fertile women. A study has shown that around 70 percent of women with PCOS go undiagnosed owing to the lack of proper knowledge due to which they are not able to recognize the symptoms. The problem directly impacts the ovaries which are responsible for the production of estrogen and progesterone.
You will be surprised to know that along with the above-mentioned hormones, the ovaries also produce the male hormone androgen in limited quantities. However, in women suffering from PCOS, these are produced in abundance which results in evident symptoms that include facial hair growth, acne, and weight gain. The best gynaecologists in Mumbai define PCOS as a cluster of symptoms that affect the ovaries and the normal process of ovulation giving rise to various symptoms like:
- Irregular periods - Since PCOS affects the process of ovulation, it prevents the uterine lining from shedding normally. This results in an unusual delay in normal mensuration and such women get less than 8 periods annually.
- Heavy menstrual bleeding - Women suffering from PCOS tend to experience very heavy flow during their mensuration.
- Unwanted hair growth - This is one of the most common PCOS symptoms experienced by more than 70 percent of women suffering from PCOS. This includes excessive hair growth on the face, chest, belly, etc.
- Acne - Excessive presence of male hormones can make the skin oilier, thereby triggering acne breakout. These can be seen on the face, chest, upper back, and shoulders.
- Excessive weight gain - PCOD is marked by an increased tendency to gain weight. The best doctors in India suggest that more than 80 percent of females having PCOD are either obese or overweight.
- Hair and scalp-related problems - Studies have shown that women suffering from PCOS tend to experience increased hair loss and excessive dandruff.
- Darkening of skin - PCOS is marked by the development of dark skin patches in different creases of the body i.e. on the neck, around the groin, and the breasts.
- Persistent headache - Hormonal imbalance can trigger frequent headaches in some women.
Complications Triggered by PCOS
If the hormonal balance of your body gets disturbed, it is likely to give rise to various complications. These include:
- Infertility - Normal ovulation is extremely important for a healthy pregnancy and women who don’t ovulate regularly are not able to release eggs properly. This can give rise to reproductive complications and even infertility.
- Metabolic disorders - As mentioned earlier, women having PCOS have an increased tendency to gain weight. This is a result of the unhealthy metabolic changes in the body which can also lead to increased blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and blood pressure along with the increased risks of various heart related diseases.
- Sleep-related problems - Increased tendency to gain weight can also give rise to sleep-related problems like sleep apnea, a condition marked by repeated pauses in breathing that interrupt sleep.
- Endometrial cancer - Decreased ovulation can lead to the build-up of an unhealthy uterine lining which can elevate the risks of endometrial cancer
- Depression - Hormonal imbalance is closely associated with mood swings and depression and the physically evident symptoms like facial hair growth, baldness, and obesity add to these.
PCOS cannot be cured completely, however, it can be effectively managed by resorting to healthy lifestyle changes and taking the prescribed medication. As far as the latter is concerned, doctors usually recommend medication to help with the symptoms and restore normal hormonal balance. Some of the common medicines prescribed by doctors hailing from the top gynecology hospitals in Mumbai include Metformin, Clomiphene, and birth control pills.
Surgery may be recommended in extreme cases to improve fertility by restoring normal ovulation. Treatment for PCOS is offered at all the best hospitals in Mumbai.
Dr. Suruchi Desai (Sr Consultant - Obstetrics & Gynaecology)
Dr. Suruchi Desai is a Senior Consultant, Obstetrics & Gynaecology with an experience of over 23 years. She has completed her DGO and DNB from LTMMC, Sion, and FCPS - Mid. & Gynae from College of physicians and Surgeons Mumbai. Dr. Suruchi Desai specializes in High-Risk Obstetric surgeries and Reproductive Endocrinologist (Infertility).