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POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME – A growing cause of infertility in women

Polycystic ovarian disease or syndrome is among the common causes of infertility in women today. More and more women in the reproductive age group of 12-45 years are getting diagnosed with this condition. infertility-treatment Essentially a genetic condition that is inherited from the mother’s or father’s side, the syndrome is a combination of many symptoms.

  • Hormonal imbalance due to a disorder in hypothalamus functioning, results in increased secretion of male hormones by the ovaries.
  • This causes increased facial hair growth and increase in body hair pattern which is known as hirsutism. The hair is coarse and thick. The patients also present with male pattern of balding.
  •  Irregular menses, less than 8 menstrual cycles in a year, absence of menstrual cycle, lack of ovulation (release of eggs during the cycle), long menstrual interval of more than 35 days, scant of very heavy menses are some other complaints presented by the patient.
  • Obesity and increased blood pressure
  • Metabolic imbalance results from increased insulin resistance in the body which causes increased blood sugar levels that cause increased risk of diabetes, heart diseases and increased cholesterol.
  • Sonography of the pelvis shows ovaries with multiple cysts that hamper its functioning.
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Skin problems like dark patches and acne
The treatment of this syndrome begins with timely diagnosis. Mothers should be vigilant of their daughter’s menarche age and menstrual pattern. Any delay in the start of cycles or abnormal flow or very long cycles should prompt immediate visit to the gynaecologist to avoid problems of infertility in the future.

Similarly all women in the reproductive age group or those trying to conceive for a long time should be alert regarding their bodily changes and must visit the gynaecologist without delay.

Generally the treatment consists of birth control pills to normalize the cycle, ovulation injections to treat infertility and insulin to counter increased blood sugar levels. Topical creams are recommended to treat acne and other skin conditions. Hair fall and excess hair treatment is also advised.

Weight reduction is highly important in these cases as obesity worsens PCOD and lifestyle measures like exercise and diet must be tailored to achieve this. Even a loss of few pounds helps to establish hormonal balance, reduce insulin resistance and encourage ovulation.  Weight loss is difficult in PCOD but continuous exercising, yoga and consumption of low fat and low refined carb diet helps.

Counselling is required for those suffering from depression and anxiety.

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