Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, commonly known as PCOS, is becoming the most common cause of infertility nowadays and affects at least 1 in 10 Indian women. PCOS is the most common endocrine system disorder in women of reproductive age and those diagnosed with this condition have a heightened risk of developing fertility problems.
Many women ignore the early signs and symptoms of PCOS such as irregular periods, sudden and excess weight gain, acne, excess hair on the face and body and fail to consult specialists.
Women who had PCOS are more likely to have recurrent miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies or other gynecological conditions such as irregular menstrual periods, endometriosis ultimately leading to infertility. The women with PCOS also have a higher rate of endometrial cancer or cancer of the lining of the uterus.
“Adolescent PCOS is on the rise these days due to change in lifestyle, academic load and lack of physical exercise. PCOS cannot be prevented but weight control is the key to prevention of metabolic syndrome at a young age. Early diagnosis and treatment can help manage the symptoms and prevent long-term problems. PCOS is also a silent killer and has profound implications for a women’s reproductive health as well as her long-term risk of chronic illness such as insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease,” said Dr Hina Ali, gynaecologist and IVF expert at Indira IVF Hospital, Ludhiana.
Women with PCOS may have enlarged ovaries that contain small collections of fluid — called follicles — located in each ovary as seen during an ultrasound exam. The cause of PCOS is not fully understood, but genetics may be a factor. It can easily be diagnosed through a physical examination, simple inexpensive blood tests and most importantly an ultrasound. Even post diagnoses exercise, diet control and adherence to medication are essential. In some older women, who wish to conceivem surgical treatment known as laparoscopic drilling of the cysts can be done.
“PCOS cannot be prevented but weight control is the key to prevention of metabolic syndrome at a young age. Early diagnosis and treatment can help manage the symptoms and prevent long-term problems. For women who have not been able to conceive naturally or by using medications or lifestyle treatment to improve their fertility, another option is assisted reproductive technology. This includes treatments such as IVF (in vitro fertilisation) as per the guidance of specialists,” Dr Hina said.