Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine disorder that affects approximately 10% women of reproductive age. This makes it one of the leading causes of female infertility.
Symptoms of PCOS
Women with PCOS develop cysts on their ovaries, thus producing more follicles than normal every month, which in turn affects ovulation. The exact causes of PCOS are unknown yet, but it can be diagnosed by the doctor through blood tests, and ultrasound examination, as well as observing the symptoms commonly associated with PCOS.
PCOS symptoms are different in different women, and include:
- Excess facial and body hair,
- Irregular or no menstruation/ovulation,
- Light or heavy bleeding during the period,
- Insulin resistance,
- Weight problems,
- Acne, and fatigue
Treating PCOS is important, not only from the point of view of improving female fertility, but also because PCOS, if left untreated, may result in long term health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems and obesity.
Treatment of PCOS mainly revolves around addressing each of its symptoms through a combination of one or more of the following options:
Since PCOS is associated with insulin resistance, it is very important to keep body weight under control. Light exercises done on a regular basis go a long way towards improving general health, keeping the weight in check as well as reducing fatigue.
Even a 5% weight loss is helpful in improving the insulin levels in the blood and getting ovulation on track. This also keeps the gestational diabetes in check once you get pregnant.
Eat a diet low in carbohydrates to regulate insulin levels and manage weight gain.
Join support groups, read blogs and other material on PCOS to help you stay on track and share your progress with other people suffering from the same conditions.
Do not underestimate the importance of following a healthy lifestyle and exercising regularly.
The treatment helps in correcting hormonal imbalances, which leads to regular ovulation, and therefore increasing the chances of pregnancy. The cocktail of various hormones, when in balance, also leads to decrease in the facial and body hair growth.
Androgen blockers, topical creams, or laser hair removal may also be suggested by the doctor to deal with hair growth issues.
If getting pregnant is not on the agenda, then birth control pills can be used which also help in regulating hormonal imbalance.
Clomifene and gonadotrophins are the most commonly used drugs in treating PCOS and curing infertility.
Insulin-sensitizing drugs (ISDs), such as metformin may also be used by the doctor for treating PCOS.
However, do keep in mind that these drugs are known to have some side effects, such as nausea, hot flashes, and increased chances of twin or multiple pregnancies.
This may be one of the last steps towards treating PCOS. Laparoscopic Ovarian Drilling (LOD) under general anesthesia may be used by the surgeon to destroy the ovarian tissues associated with producing the male hormone testosterone, thus restoring the hormonal balance in the body.
There are some side effects of using this treatment option, therefore discuss the pros and cons with your doctor thoroughly before deciding on this method.
Exercise control over PCOS by incorporating these measures in your lives, and put yourself on the path to a healthy life. Get support and help during the treatment regime, so that you do not feel overwhelmed, depressed or angry. And do not forget to consult your doctor, before embarking on a treatment plan.