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Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD) is a very common hormonal disorder, accounting for three to 26% of the Indian population from puberty to menopause.
While polycystic ovaries are detected via ultrasound, PCOS is the syndrome with varied symptoms like obesity, irregular cycles, excessive hair growth, and problems in getting pregnant.
You can very well have polycystic ovaries, but not PCOS. The exact cause of PCOS is unknown, but it is believed to be linked with both lifestyle factor and genetics . So, it runs in the family.
It’s presentation in an individual may vary from mild, moderate to severe.
*Increased androgen and/or testosterone hormone
*Increased insulin resistance
*Increased LH/FSH ratio
Note: FSH and LH are the hormones that control the formation of eggs every cycle and menstrual function.
*Irregular menstrual cycles which can be in the form of scanty or heavy flow, delayed or early cycles, or having periods only with medicines.
*Excessive weight gain especially around the abdomen or tummy area because of high insulin resistance.
*Problems in getting pregnant. This might be because of late egg formation or failure to form egg (anovulatory cycles ) or poor quality folliculogenesis.
*Problems during pregnancy, including increased risk of miscarriages, high BP, the onset of gestational diabetes, preterm labour, and low birth weight babies.
*Metabolic disorders, including high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid disorder, and lipid disorder.
*Excessive hair growth, acne, pigmentation, and hair loss are usually due to high androgens (male hormones) in the body.
*Mental health issues like anxiety, depression, mood changes, loss of self-esteem and confidence.
There is no cure for PCOS, but you can definitely keep it under control. Preconception counselling is very important to understand what is PCOS, its effect on fertility, and how to overcome its ill effects.
Lifestyle changes are the first line, critically important for successful & long-term effective treatment.
But if despite maintaining a healthy lifestyle, symptoms still continues then see your doctor who might suggest further treatment.
Further treatment depends upon your symptoms. Your doctor may prescribe you hormonal pills to control certain hormones and to regularize the cycles.
Sometimes, even fertility drugs or injections are given to achieve egg formation. When you are trying for pregnancy, you need to be patient and develop some coping methods to overcome emotional impact and for challenges ahead.
Here, I would say to have complete trust and faith in your treating doctor. Follow the given instructions properly and regularly bearing in mind that many couples who undergo treatment eventually do have the baby.