Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome(PCOS) affects 6 to 12 per cent of women of reproductive age. Changing lifestyles and increased dependence on technology has further aggravated the situation. A peak in hormonal imbalances have drawn attention to several lifestyle changes, and doctors have confirmed that more than 80 per cent of patients with hormonal imbalances are obese. Gynaecologists have mentioned that though there are certain conditions in which PCOS can last a lifetime in women, in most cases, dietary and lifestyle changes have proved to be successful in curbing the effect of the syndrome.
Increased Risk of Miscarriage
Dr Duru Shah, the founder of the PCOS Society of India, said that PCOS is not a disease; however, a condition can persist in several ways. He further emphasized that "While younger women may suffer from irregular periods, and hirsutism or unwanted male-pattern hair growth, and obesity; in slightly older age-group, the condition may lead to infertility, risk of miscarriages and more". The Hindu reported that the doctor further emphasized that conceiving a baby with PCOS can be difficult. Moreover, a female child is at a 40 per cent higher risk of getting PCOS if the mother has it.
Apart from the reproductive issues that women might face due to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, they might be at a higher risk of incurring diabetes, high blood pressure and other health complications. A doctor at a Mumbai-based hospital mentioned that if a woman has more peripheral fat, she is at an incurring risk of hormonal disbalance. A Body Mass Index(BMI) of over 27 or 28 is considered alarming, while till 25, the BMI is normal. Dr Anita Soni mentioned that even though PCOS is a lifelong health condition, one can control it with the necessary diet and lifestyle changes and maintaining ideal body weight.
16% Patients In 20-29 Years Age Group
Several experts have said that women ignore the early signs of PCOS, like the irregular menstrual cycle, increasing weight gain, and consult health experts only when they face problems while conceiving. According to the data from a Statista Survey, 16 per cent of Indian women between the ages of 20 to 29 face the condition, which is alarming! Of the total PCOS patients in India, 3.8 are teenagers 11.58 per cent of women aged 30 to 44 years face the condition. The age group of adult women between 45 to 59 years has a relatively lesser number at 1.44 per cent.
Doctors mentioned that even though the number of cases of PCOS is increasing every year, women are still ignorant about their symptoms. A Gynaecologist from Mumbai's Kurla mentioned that they mostly attribute the condition to a poor lifestyle. Since the condition is not life-threatening, most women do not consider it serious. Women in urban areas may be at a higher risk of incurring health conditions owing to improper eating and sleeping habits and lack of physical habits.
A Life-Long Condition
Even though most of the cases of PCOS are reflected amongst women of child-bearing age, it is a lifelong condition and extends way beyond reproductive years is essential. The symptoms for the condition can be irregular, delayed or no periods due to lack of ovulation, excessive facial hair growth, acne and thinning of scalp hair because of increased male hormones in women. Women suffering from the condition develop multiple small cysts around their ovaries that are visible in ultrasound reports.
Even though PCOS was discovered in 1935 as a health condition, there is still lack of awareness. Six out of 10 females diagnosed with PCOS are teenage girls. According to a study conducted by the Department of Endocrinology of the All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), 20 to 25 per cent of Indian women are patients of the condition, and more than half of them fall under the obese category, and 35 to 50 per cent of them have a fatty liver. A frightening factor is that 40 to 60 per cent of women have glucose intolerance, a whopping 70 per cent are insulin resistant, and 60 to 70 per cent of those women have a higher level of androgen. Although androgens are produced in males and females, the latter's body produces only a tiny amount of the hormone to maintain reproductive health.
Need Of Timely Assessment
A person who is insulin resistant is unable to use the insulin their body produces effectively. Moreover, insulin resistance makes it harder for individuals to lose weight, which is why women suffering from the condition find it difficult to lose weight. A nationwide survey by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has proven that the number of cases of health conditions in the country is rising amongst teenage girls and young women. Health experts consider the condition disturbing because if left undiagnosed, it can lead to infertility and other health hazards.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is an incurable condition but can be curbed at an early stage. Regular exercise and healthy food habits are the best bet for women suffering from the condition to maintain their menstrual cycle and tackle fluctuating glucose levels. It requires early detection, timely assessment and appropriate treatment.