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Last Updated: July 26, 2019
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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)? What are the symptoms of PCOS? What causes polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)? How PCOS is diagnosed? When to seek medical care for PCOS? Is PCOS serious? What are the surgery options for PCOS? What is the best treatment for PCOS? What is the Follow-up for PCOS treatment? How to prevent PCOS? What are the side effects of PCOS treatment? What is the cost of PCOS treatment in India? Are the results of the treatment permanent? What are the alternatives to the treatment?

What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?

PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, a condition caused to women which affect the hormonal level in the body. In this syndrome, ovary gets filled with the male hormones and produces it more than normal in her body. It causes skipping in the menstrual periods, which makes hard for them to get pregnant. PCOS also causes the growth of facial hair and baldness.

If it is a long term disease then it also contributes to heart disease and diabetes. PCOS affects women ageing between 15-44. Mainly, It is known to affect the ovaries and reproductive organs which produce hormones like estrogen and progesterone. These hormones help in the menstrual cycle.

What are the symptoms of PCOS?

The common symptoms of PCOS is as follows:

  • Irregular menstruation or no periods at all
  • Difficulty in pregnancy due to irregular ovulation
  • Hirsutism
  • That is excessive growth of facial and body hair
  • Weight gain
  • Hair loss
  • Acne or oily skin
  • Having a problem during ovulation as they fail to ovulate frequently, causing difficulty in getting pregnant.
  • PCOS also leads to health problems like depression, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart diseases and stroke. It can also cause cancer in the womb lining due to irregular periods.

What causes polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)?

The exact cause of polycystic ovary syndrome is unknown, but it is said that it happens due to a combination of environmental and genetic factors.

  • High level of androgens: Androgens also are known as male hormones but an excessive amount of it can cause the development of male traits. Though women also produce androgens but in a small amount. When the level of androgen rises, women start having problems in their ovaries as it prevents the ovaries during ovulation. There is excessive facial growth and irregular periods.
  • Insulin resistance: The body becomes insulin resistance. Therefore, body needs to produce insulin in large amounts. Thus, there is a high level of insulin in the body which causes ovaries to form a high level of testosterone which interferes in the process of normal ovulation. High level of insulin also causes gain in the weight of the person making PCOS symptoms worse.

How PCOS is diagnosed?

There is no specific test that can diagnose PCOS. Therefore, doctors have to talk about the medical history of the person regarding their menstrual cycle and weight changes. There will be a physical exam which will check excessive hair growth, acne, insulin resistance. After all this the doctor may recommend these tests:

  • Pelvic Exam: This exam is done to inspect the reproductive organs or any other abnormality.
  • Blood Tests: It is done to measure the level of hormones in the body.
  • Ultrasound: With the help of ultrasound the shape and appearance of the ovaries are checked.

When to seek medical care for PCOS?

When you are having an irregular menstrual cycle or no menstruation, abnormal hair growth, having difficulty in getting pregnant, or any other symptom then you should go and seek medical care.

Is PCOS serious?

PCOS is a health-related problem which needs to be treated on time and if not then it can become a serious problem. It can even cause health diseases like diabetes, cancer, heart diseases. The women who suffer from PCOS have growth of small cyst on the ovary. The cysts are not harmful but they can develop severe health problems.

What are the surgery options for PCOS?

There are two types of PCOS surgery:

  • Laparoscopic Ovarian Drilling: In this surgery, ovary drilling is done using electrocautery which triggers ovulation.
  • Ovarian wedge restriction: Surgically removes the part of the ovary which regulates periods and normal ovulation.

What is the best treatment for PCOS?

Treatment of PCOS depends on the symptoms and personal choices of pregnancy. Medical treatment of PCOS aims at the treatment of metabolic derangements, anovulation, hirsutism, and menstrual irregularity.

A number of lab tests may be prescribed which include pelvic exam, ultrasound, blood sugar and androgen level tests. A sonogram may also be done by the patients to evaluate the ovaries. If polycystic ovarian syndrome is diagnosed, then the doctor might recommend additional tests which include periodic checks of blood pressure, glucose tolerance, and cholesterol and triglyceride levels, screening for depression and anxiety and obstructive sleep apnoea.

Hormonal birth control (most often birth control pills) is the standard treatment. Doctors recommend regular exercises, a healthy diet, weight control, to improve health conditions. To regulate the menstrual cycle, birth control pills are prescribed. Surgery can be an option to improve fertility if the condition of the patient does not improve the other treatments. Ovarian drilling is a procedure that makes tiny holes in the ovary with a laser or thin heated needle to restore normal ovulation. A combination of surgery and metformin or letrozole can be used as a second-line treatment in infertile women. Besides these, regular exercise, proper diet and sufficient sleep are prescribed by the doctor accordingly.

What is the Follow-up for PCOS treatment?

  • Checking the menstrual pattern
  • Details of reproductive history are checked
  • Checking the presence or absence of acne
  • The detailed check of BMI (Body Mass Index) is done

How to prevent PCOS?

Maintaining body weight which helps in reducing the level of insulin and androgen hormones in the body which can resolve the problem of ovulation. Limiting carbohydrates in the diet which might increase the level of insulin. Keeping yourself active and doing exercise reduces the risk of polycystic ovary syndrome.

What are the side effects of PCOS treatment?

Drugs which are usually used to treat PCOS have a very low risk of severe adverse effects. But, there is an increased risk of multiple pregnancies (rarely more than twins) with these treatments. Metformin, a common drug that is used to treat polycystic ovarian syndrome can also lower insulin and blood sugar levels in women. Possible side effects of metformin include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhoea and loss of appetite. Another medication called gonadotrophins also provide a higher risk that they may overstimulate the ovaries and lead to multiple pregnancies. Apart from this, patients seldom face any adverse effect on the treatment of PCOS.

What is the cost of PCOS treatment in India?

The overall treatment of Polycystic ovarian syndrome does not require great expenditure. However, constant check-ups and tests may sum the amount to around Rs 6000 approximately.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Treatment of polycystic ovarian syndrome does not include complete cure. The symptoms can be managed and brought under control post medicinal therapy. The medicines help to get periods on time and also check the insulin level. Also, exercises, which is the most vital therapy, help to cut down the extra weight one puts on due to polycystic ovaries.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

This common endocrine system disorder among women of reproductive age can be managed alternatively by ayurvedic or homoeopathic treatment. Treatment of PCOS in Ayurveda includes panchakarma and internal medication. Panchakarma procedures like udvartana, vamana, virechana and basti help to reduce body weight, remove toxins, decrease insulin resistance and regulate normal hormone secretion. Internal medications are used to destroy the cyst, stimulate ovulation, induce menstruation, regulate flow during menstruation etc. Homoeopathic Treatment for PCOS includes medicines are mostly without any side effects and can help reduce the symptoms when consumed for a long time. Alongside, home remedies can help the person ease out. Use of hot water compression can lower pain. Vitamin D, apple acid vinegar, coconut oil, castor oil etc can be used to reduce the symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Popular Questions & Answers

I have pcod. Doctor suggests me to take premence plus and ovacare. Can these both medicines I evaluate? Can evaluation process be done? Which day is best for egg fertilization?

Without a follicuar monitoring scan or a blood lh or urine lh test we can tell the exact day for egg fertilization but if your periods are regular, try intercourse only on day 10, 12,14,16 & day 18.

I have pcod. Doctor suggest me ovacare and premence plus. By this medicines can I evaluate? Can evaluation can be done? Which day is best for egg fertilization?

If other blood tests are normal then continue this if period become regular then ovulation should also on time, stay healthy and stress free.

Hi, mere shadi ko 2 years hogya hai abhi tak pregnancy nhi h, mujhe thyroid and pcos hai, kafi work out k bad bhi mera wait loss nhi ho rha, please mujhe wait loss k liye koi medicine suggest kre.

Medicines for weight loss are really not recommended workout alone is not enough for weight loss. Right diet is the most important thing for weight loss. please consult a good dietician. Diet has nearly 70% role in weight loss. 30%being exercise.
1 person found this helpful

Hi I have pcod doc suggested me to take letrozole 2.5 mg with metformin I have take susten sr 200 mg for 10 twice in a day missed my period for 15 days I have done pregnancy test it came negative now I am worried please suggest me what can I do further.

If pregnancy test is negative. Then wait till 10 days of the last tablet of susten sr. You will get your periods if not pregnant. If your are pregnant then you will not get periods even after 10 days of stopping your medicine.
1 person found this helpful

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Content Details
Written By
MBBS,MS - Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Gynaecology
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