Polycystic ovarian syndrome, commonly known as Stein-Leventhal syndrome in the medical world, is a hormonal disorder that affects 1 out of 10 women of reproductive age. The problem is so common that you’ll find at least one woman with the same in almost every household. PCOS is one of the leading causes of female infertility and is marked by elevated levels of male hormones in the female body that lead to unhealthy or absent ovulation as well as trigger undesirable changes like acne, dandruff, baldness, excessive facial hair. Although the problem cannot be cured completely, it can be easily managed by resorting to healthy lifestyle modifications and taking the prescribed medication.
Although being a woman in itself is a major risk factor however there are several other factors that considerably increase your risks of acquiring PCOS.
- Your genetics play a major role in this. It has been found that if a woman in your family is detected with PCOS, it is likely to elevate the risk of the same for the other females in the family. In fact, recent studies have shown that if a woman is detected with PCOS, her sister has almost 40 per cent chances of acquiring the same.
- Sometimes pre-natal utero changes can also elevate your risks of acquiring PCOS later in life.
- Although stress is a symptom of PCOS, it is believed that stress may also be a leading risk factor as excessive stress can lead to chronic inflammation which stimulates the ovaries to produce more androgen.
- Insulin resistance may also be listed here, however, the direct link between the two has not yet been established.
- Obesity is a major risk factor. Weight problems have been found to be closely associated with PCOD as obesity is both a major risk factor as well as a symptom of PCOS.
Signs and symptoms
Some of the most common signs and symptoms associated with PCOS are mentioned below:
- Facial hair growth
- Irregular periods
- Weight gain
- Dark patches on the neck, under the breasts and near the groin.
These are all physical symptoms. Detailed screening can help to diagnose the formation of tiny cysts in the ovaries.
- Infertility and problems with conceiving- a lot of women diagnosed with PCOS find it very difficult to conceive and even if they do, there are very high risks of miscarriage or premature birth. This happens because PCOS disrupts the process of ovulation thereby leading to irregular or absent periods.
- Increased risks of developing type 2 diabetes, depression, high blood pressure and sleep apnea.
- Slightly increased risks of endometrial cancer.
- Managing PCOD without medicine
- As mentioned earlier, PCOS cannot be cured but can be easily controlled by the use of prescribed medication and healthy lifestyle modifications. Although medicines can help you with the symptoms and prevent the problem from aggravating, it has been found that lifestyle modifications alone can greatly help to manage PCOS.
- A healthy diet for easy management
- Increase your fibre intake and lean protein.The former is found in whole grains, cruciferous vegetables, beans, lentils, broccoli, legumes, nuts and seeds whereas the latter can be found in chicken and fish.
- Consume food products with anti-inflammatory properties, for e.g. tomatoes, kale, walnuts, olive oil, fatty fish etc.
- Eat food products rich in Omega-3 fatty acids
- Avoid eating processed and canned food as these contain unhealthy fats and preservative which can aggravate your PCOS.
- Cut down on your consumption of milk as it has been found to elevate testosterone levels in the body, which can worsen your condition. Replace full-fat milk by skimmed milk.
- Cut down on your carb intake as these can elevate your blood sugar level.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
Indulge in more and more physical activities. This will help to regulate a healthy metabolism and also keep your weight under check. Join a gym or workout at home. 30 to 40 minutes of workout atleast 5 days a week is a must.