One in every five Indian women suffers from Polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS, which is a disorder of hormones that leads to issues, ranging from metabolism to reproductive issues.

The term, poly, means multiple. This is on account of the multiple cysts (fluid-filled sacs) to develop within the ovaries.

In healthy bodies, the ovaries release an egg each month. This can either be fertilised (pregnancy) or eliminated (a healthy, normal menstrual cycle). In people with PCOS, the egg may or may not develop at all or alternatively, may have issues with releasing during the regular ovulation cycle. As a result, menstrual periods are affected.

Causes

Studies vary on finding the exact cause. However, most commonly deducted causes range from genetic to lifestyle. There have been studies to correlate PCOS with genes.

According to Healthline, more than one gene causes PCOS, so all must be mutated from mother child in order for heredity. Other researchers concluded that lifestyle could be a major factor. Obesity has been linked with PCOS, as well as a dietary imbalance.

Symptoms

In most cases, high levels of androgens or male hormones, are present in females with PCOS. Most of the external and internal presentations of the disease are associated with issues caused by the sudden increase of androgens.

Here are some common symptoms associated with PCOS:

– Irregular periods, either missed or late. When it occurs, there’s heavy bleeding

– Painful periods

– Excessive hair growth on various body parts

– Acne

– Male-pattern baldness

– Dark patches on the skin, especially around back of the neck

Untreated or late treatment of PCOS can lead to more severe diseases like insulin resistance in diabetic patients. The missed/irregular periods can lead to problems in conceiving (PCOS is one of the leading factors of infertility in women.

It can also lead to metabolic disorders, sleep apnea, and even cancer in some cases. So if you or anyone around you shows these symptoms, they must consult a doctor immediately.

Treatment

Once diagnosed, there are a number of medical treatments to curb PCOS. The doctors can prescribe either one or a combination of the following medication: birth control pills, fertility medicines, Metformin, or even surgeries in extreme cases.

However, certain measures can be taken at home. Lifestyle changes are also advised by the doctor, so one becomes aware beforehand and indulges in a healthy diet and exercise, prevention and later cure of these issues become easier.

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