Understanding Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Dr. Supriya Tiwari, a crusader against PCOS, writes about the long-term effects and complications caused by the endocrine disorder that impacts one in ten women.
What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome(PCOS)?
PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is one of the most common endocrine disorders that women all over the world are dealing with today. It’s not only important but imperative that you educate yourself about it, irrespective of whether or not you are suffering from it or if you know someone who is. With this article, I intend to educate you about what you don’t already know or generally get to read about PCOS. I want to talk about the non-fancy or the non-cosmetic aspect of it, something that is not merely related to infertility, acne or pigmentation, something which goes beyond these aspects.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is the reason behind a number of physical and psychological issues faced by women such as mood swings, facial hair and acne, which are among the most common of all of them. These issues have already been talked about and highlighted in countless articles. But what most articles fail to highlight, is a very crucial aspect of PCOS, i.e the long term complications that the disease brings with itself. These long term complications can range from diabetes to heart diseases and even cancer. Can you imagine that 1 in every 8-10 women struggling with PCOS ends up contracting these diseases? Hence, it is extremely important that we prepare ourselves to deal with the adverse health consequences that something like PCOS brings with it.
In this article, I will cover some symptoms of PCOS and some other important aspects of it that you must know about. Although PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, not every woman suffering from PCOS will have cysts around her ovaries. Many of them may have normal ovaries and will still be dealing with hormonal imbalance, as it forms a part and parcel of this whole syndrome.
Most women dealing with PCOS have experienced a dull mood at least once in their lifetime, and about 25% of them have been treated for depression. So, a very important thing to remember is that mood disturbance is a very common PCOS symptom and it cannot be merely termed as PMS-ing all the time.
Women suffering from PCOS are at a higher risk of developing diabetes. Most women suffering from PCOS have some form of insulin resistance, which in simple terms, means that the blood sugar levels in their bodies are not neutralized and are constantly on the higher side.
Women dealing with PCOS are constantly under high estrogen exposure because of the absence of normal ovulation, which tricks their brains to think there is a lack of estrogen. This leads to an unopposed production of the same. Because of this reason, women with PCOS are more prone to endometrial/uterine cancers.
Obesity and PCOS go hand in hand. Obese women are at a higher risk of developing PCOS and once you develop PCOS, weight gain is an inevitable consequence. It’s a vicious cycle. However, this doesn’t mean lean women don’t get PCOS or vice versa. This strong association between obesity and PCOS is also responsible for the development of heart diseases later in life.
PCOS is actually reversible.
A general misconception is carried by a lot of people who tend to think that PCOS is irreversible or permanent. This misconception runs due to the lack of medicinal cures. But in reality, with some appropriate lifestyle modifications, most of the PCOS symptoms can be reversed.
Difference Between PCOS and Infertility
Infertility is one of the many complications that may result from PCOS but it does not occur in 100% of the cases. Only about 40% of all the patients of PCOS experience face difficulty in conceiving. Hence, every woman struggling with PCOS need not necessarily have a problem getting pregnant.
PCOS isn't a monster that we have made it out to be and it is definitely something that you can deal with. But if you let it take over your life, it can cause a tremendous amount of health problems that you aren't prepared to deal with. Spread awareness, educate yourself and those around you, so you and other women can enjoy a better health and a better future.
- Dr. Supriya Tiwari