How to Detect Early Signs and Symptoms of PCOS


Polycystic Ovary Disease (PCOD), is a common hormonal disorder that is found in every tenth women in India. It occurs during the reproductive age and is manifested by the development of a number of small cysts in the ovaries. As a result of this, the ovaries become enlarged and get filled with fluid sacs or follicles that surround the eggs.

PCOS can lead to irregular periods, hypertension, excess facial or body hair, acne and scalp hair loss. PCOS is largely classified as a lifestyle-related disease and occurs due to unhealthy lifestyles. Some of the risk factors include lack of exercise, poor lifestyle, smoking, stress, and inadequate sleep.

Red signals that can help identify PCOS early on and seek medical consultation well within time:

• Irregular menstrual cycle, delayed cycles, scanty periods – when the periods occur earlier than 21 days or later than 35 days in adults and 45 days in young teens

• Obesity is another warning sign as nearly 40–80 per cent of women with this condition are overweight. Inability to loose weight

• Difficulty in conceiving

• Acne and hair growth on the body particularly facial hair due to high levels of male hormones

• Loss and thinning of hair on the scalp

• Type 2 diabetes, a condition that causes higher than normal levels of blood sugar in the body

• High blood pressure and high cholesterol

• Mood swings, depression, lack of self-confidence, and anxiety

Diagnosing PCOS

There is no definite test to diagnose PCOS. The gynaecologist will use the following ways to arrive at the PCOS diagnosis:

• Clinical history and examination

• Blood tests

• Ultrasound

Managing PCOS through lifestyle changes

PCOS is not a life-threating disease but needs to be managed or treated to avoid long-term complications. While the disorder can be treated medically, it is suggested and encouraged to undertake some simple lifestyle measures that can help protect against it naturally or organically:

• Following a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle by consuming a nutritious diet and engaging in regular physical exercise is one of the best ways to prevent or manage PCOS. Eating a healthy diet with a minimal intake of processed food and choosing what you eat and how much you eat is important

• Indulging in regular physical exercise is also equally important, especially because it helps in lowering blood sugar levels. Increasing your daily activity may treat or even prevent insulin resistance and help keep your weight under control

• A good 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep daily, is also an important factor that helps in managing PCOS

• Stress has become a part of our lives, but trying to reduce stress and giving yourself time to indulge in something that you enjoy doing is required to heal PCOS

(By Dr. Anjali Kumar, MBBS, MD (Obstetrics & Gynaecology), FICMCH, FMAS, CK Birla Hospital)

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