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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is the most common female hormonal abnormality affecting 6 – 10 % of women in their reproductive years. It is also known as Polycystic Ovary disease (PCOD). PCOS, is a complex condition affecting women’s ovaries and metabolism. The young women suffer from irregular absent or scanty menstruation, male pattern of hair growth, acne and problems with fertility. Most women with PCOS are overweight and they are at a higher than average risk of developing diabetes, obstruction to breathing and high cholesterol in the blood. Even moderate weight gain is associated with reduced chance of ovulation, with a body fat distribution leading to an increased waist- hip ratio (central obesity). The exact cause of PCOS is not completely understood. It has genetic predisposition. The ovaries produce elevated level of male hormones. It is believed that abnormal level of male hormones interfere with the normal functioning of the ovaries. Instead of one large lead follicle which develops into an egg the ovary produces many small fluid filled follicles which fail to mature and give the appearance of an ovary with multiple fluid filled spaces. PCOS may be diagnosed based upon symptoms, physical examination, pelvic ultrasound and blood investigations. Although PCOS is not completely reversible there are numerous treatment options that can reduce or minimize these annoying symptoms. Treatment with oral contraceptive pills help in regularizing menstruation and reduce abnormal hair growth and acne. Oral contraceptive pills, medical therapy, electrolysis and laser are different modes of management. All women who are diagnosed with PCOS should be referred to a healthcare provider. Untreated PCOS can increase a women’s risk of other health implications such as diabetes, high cholesterol and five-fold increase in the incidence of uterus cancer. One of the most essential parts of management of the PCOS is counseling and educating the women about the benefits of diet, exercise and change of lifestyle to the best of their advantage. It goes a long way in improving their self esteem.