Image Source: Everyday Health
September is observed as PCOS Awareness Month. But what is PCOS? PCOS, or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, is one of the most common ovulatory disorders, one that affects many women you know have or are in your life. Women who suffer from PCOS have a higher level of androgens, more than the average. Androgens are typically known as "male hormones, ", although they are normally present in both sexes. These elevated androgen levels in women affect the development of eggs in the body of the woman and interfere with their ovulation, which results in irregular or absent ovulation in women with PCOS. This hormonal disorder causes infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods, and the ovaries may develop many small collections of fluid (follicles) and fail to regularly release eggs. In India, an estimated amount of 1 in every 5 women suffers from PCOS, which makes up 20% of the population. However, many women do not get tested or treated for their symptoms, and thus do not know that they bear this condition. Therefore it is very important that women get diagnosed early on for PCOS before it creates further serious complications like insulin resistance, type two diabetes, infertility, heart conditions, and obesity.
A few of the most common symptoms of PCOS are: • Irregular periods with excessive bleeding, • Excess hair growth, • Acne, • Weight Gain There are many other symptoms of PCOS, and not every woman experiences this disorder in the same way; also, one should not self-diagnose themselves with PCOS, just because they experience or have experienced some symptoms stated above. Although there is no absolute cure for PCOS, it can be kept within control by maintaining a proper, disciplined lifestyle, alongside medication and hormone treatments. Proper exercise, balanced diet, and regular checkups are important parts of care needed during PCOS. PCOS awareness is extremely important to allow a space for women with PCOS to share this journey, and encourage women to have more frequent check-ups. PCOS can also lead to depression, anxiety and body image issues in women affected, and the awareness about it is important to understand the ones affected, and to allow them a space to share and learn.