When I was asked to write for truhap; I was truly delighted because it has been started and is run by a bunch of awesome women, who are keen on spreading information about health and wellness among the women of this country and honestly what could be better! I am always finding ways to help and create awareness as much as I can and that is something really important to me,so finding a platform and being a part of it is an honor in itself.
So today I am going to talk about something I feel very passionately about - PCOS! Yes, PCOS is an increasing epidemic among the young women of today. If we don't take action now there is no denying that we will be the diabetic capital of the world by 2020, diabetes being one of the most common complications associated with PCOS.
PCOS or 'Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome' is one of the most common causes of hormonal imbalance among young girls and women. One can get PCOS as early as 11 and almost one in every ten women suffer from it. The symptoms vary from patient to patient but the common ones are menstrual problems, weight gain, acne, facial hair, mood swings, etc. One might not have any of these symptoms and may still be suffering from PCOS.
It is very important for us to take the necessary steps to combat PCOS without delay. I would blame the ‘present lifestyle' for the increasing incidence of PCOS. If we take the example of an average working woman in India - exercise is hardly a part of her daily routine. There is too much stress with very few outlets for release and unhealthy food habits coupled with inadequate awareness about how to stay fit creates more problems.
The first step that needs to be taken to bring a positive change should be to share knowledge and create awareness about the symptoms of PCOS.
In Indian culture women tend to neglect their health as the family and society demand too much from them. This outlook has to change and women need to find time for themselves to remain healthy. A woman's body is very complex as it undergoes changes at various times in her life such as puberty, pregnancy and menopause. We have to be aware and alert about these changes and any warning signs that may appear along with them.
PCOS can be easily avoided by making a few healthy lifestyle changes. Those who are already suffering from it can also easily manage and prevent further complications by staying well informed and adopting a balanced life.
Here are a few things that one should know about PCOS:
PCOS is a disease affecting the reproductive age group (16-45 years more commonly). But it can appear as early as 11 and as late as 50. Stay informed.
PCOS is a complex hormonal imbalance. Even though there are various hormones that are implicated in PCOS like DHEA,insulin and ghrelin; there isn't a single cause that can be attributed to all its symptoms. Various other factors are also involved and symptoms may overlap with other hormonal imbalances.
One can suffer from PCOS without having cysts around the ovary and even with a normal ultrasound.
Symptoms of PCOS vary from person to person. Some women may have all the symptoms whereas others may have none at all. There was a 22 year old patient who had normal cycles, with no acne, weight gain or any other symptoms associated with PCOS except excessive mood swings.
Remember that about half of the patients suffering from PCOS can have depression.
PCOS responds best to lifestyle changes. A balanced diet and proper exercise can play a key role in reversing all of the symptoms of PCOS in some women.
PCOS is incurable but almost all of the complications associated with it can be prevented if one is thoroughly informed. That is why it is important to get diagnosed early.
Reducing your weight by as low as 5-10 % of your present weight can improve all of the symptoms associated with PCOS.
There has been increasing research on how supplements help in PCOS, some of the important ones being myo inositol, zinc, manganese, vitamin D3 and folic acid. All of them have provided improved insulin sensitivity (insulin resistance is very common in PCOS) and also better chances of conceiving.
PCOS doesn't make one infertile. However the chances of getting pregnant is 40 % lower than that of a normal woman.
These points can help you to bring significant changes in your life if you are suffering from PCOS. It's high time you start putting your health first. All the efforts you put in to improve the life of others has to ultimately come from a 'healthier' you.