Polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD) and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are frequently used interchangeably. However, the term PCOD is used in medicine to refer to less severe cases of hormonal imbalance and delayed ovulation. PCOS, on the other hand, is a term used to describe serious hormonal imbalances and metabolic disorders, such as obesity, insulin resistance, and diabetes. Women of reproductive age may be affected by PCOS. September is observed as PCOS awareness month. So, we reached out to Dr Pallavi Gupta, Gynaecologist (MBBS, DGO) at Pristyn Care, to know more about the different stages of PCOS and ways to manage them.
The primary issue with PCOS or PCOD is that the ovaries stop releasing the necessary amounts of hormones. Additionally, because of the delayed monthly egg release from the ovaries, monthly periods are also delayed as a result. This affects 20 to 25% menstruators in urban areas and 11% or less in rural areas. Young girls as well as women in their 30s and early 40s may be impacted. PCOS can also lead to fertility problems, insulin resistance, and obesity.
PCOS is a complex condition, and the exact cause is unknown. However, it is thought to be related to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. PCOS is more common in women who have a family history of the condition, and it is also more common in overweight women. The risk of type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, depression, and uterine cancer is higher in women with PCOS. They have an increased risk of acquiring diabetes and hypertension, and suffering miscarriage when pregnant.
Also Read: 5 Common Myths Around PCOS Busted
Early stages of PCOS
The early stages of PCOS can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms can vary from one person to another. However, some of the most common early stages of PCOS include irregular periods, prolonged period cyclicity, and heavy flow during periods, excess hair growth on the face and neck, excessive weight gain, acne, alopecia, and infertility. This is because of the increased production of androgen, a male hormone. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor so that they can diagnose and treat you accordingly.
Management of PCOS
PCOS can be diagnosed with a physical exam, blood tests, and ultrasounds. Although PCOS as a whole has no specific treatment, managing weight, eating well, and exercising regularly are the cornerstones of treatment. The earlier it is detected, the easier it is to treat PCOS.
Among the causes of PCOS are impaired hormone production, hyperandrogenism, and insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is linked to deficiencies in vitamin D, bioflavonoids, calcium, chromium, NAC, probiotics, selenium, and zinc. So, using these supplements to treat your condition will increase your insulin sensitivity and decrease your insulin resistance.
Supplementing with inositol, vitamin A, omega-3 fatty acids, and NAC helps prevent hyperandrogenism (increased testosterone). Supplementation with inositol and omega-3 fatty acids, in particular, aids in PCOS recovery in terms of both metabolic and reproductive factors.
Natural and conventional remedies for PCOS
There are a number of natural and conventional remedies for PCOS, and the best course of treatment will vary from person to person.
- Some common natural remedies include lifestyle changes (such as diet, exercise, and stress management), herbs and supplements (such as chaste berry, saw palmetto, and green tea), and acupuncture.
- The biggest issue with PCOS that affects fertility is irregular ovulation. Even for problems with fertility, it is advised to lose weight because it aids in rearranging the body's hormonal milieu. This further enhances the odds of ovulation every month and increases the possibilities of pregnancy.
- Birth control pills can help to regulate hormones and make periods more regular, but only temporarily.
- Conventional treatments typically involve medications such as anti-androgens, metformin can also be used to treat PCOS.
In some cases, fertility treatments may be necessary. PCOS is a complex condition, and it is important to work with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of treatment. In some cases, a combination of natural and conventional remedies may be the most effective approach.
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