According to a study by the PCOS Society, 1 in every 10 women in India suffers from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Out of every 10 women diagnosed with this condition, 6 are teenage girls.
PCOS is a common endocrinal system disorder among women of reproductive age. Additionally, about 20 per cent to 25 per cent of the women in India who are in the childbearing age suffer from PCOS, shows a study conducted by the department of endocrinology and metabolism, AIIMS.
Those with PCOS have been found to have higher than normal insulin levels. Such an increase in the level of insulin can make the ovaries produce more androgens such as testosterone. Such women therefore struggle with weight issues, complicating the disorder further. If left unchecked or undiagnosed, PCOS can lead to infertility and a host of other long-term health concerns.
Speaking about this, Dr KK Aggarwal, National President Indian Medical Association (IMA) and President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Dr RN Tandon, Honorary Secretary General IMA in a joint statement, said, “PCOS can lead to the development of cysts as the ovaries are unable to release eggs on time. As a result of this, the follicles keep growing and form multiple cysts, which appear like ‘a string of pearls’. Women are more likely to develop PCOS if their mother or sister also have this condition.
The symptoms of PCOS include weight gain, fatigue, unwanted hair growth, thinning hair, infertility, acne, pelvic pain, headaches, sleep problems, and mood changes. Symptoms can begin shortly after puberty and reach into early adulthood.
Young girls with PCOS tend to have irregular periods or amenorrhea, and heavy or scanty bleeding during menses. PCOS can also make women vulnerable to other health complications like hypertension, high cholesterol, anxiety and depression, sleep apnea, heart attack, diabetes and endometrial, ovarian and breast cancer.”
Though PCOS cannot be cured, it can be managed by bringing about certain lifestyle changes such as losing up to 5 per cent to 10 per cent of body weight. It is also important to maintain an active routine and eat healthy.
Further stating, Dr Aggarwal, said, “PCOS, particularly among young girls, is an urgent public health problem requiring careful assessment, timely intervention, and appropriate treatment. The best possible way to manage this condition is exercise and a healthy diet which in turn will regulate the menstrual cycle and lower blood glucose levels.”
Additionally, the following tips can help manage PCOS better:
- Consume foods that are high in fibre such as broccoli, cauliflower, and spinach; nuts like almonds and walnuts; and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
- Have five small meals instead of three big meals as this will help in metabolizing food and maintaining weight.
- Indulge in physical activity for about 30 minutes a day, five days a week to reduce or maintain a reasonable weight.