PCOS or polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormonal disorder, commonly affecting women’s hormonal levels when they are at reproductive age. Women with PCOS may experience infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods or excessive levels of androgen. In this condition, ovaries may develop numerous small collections of follicles, but fail to release eggs regularly.

Although the exact cause of PCOS is not known, early diagnosis and treatment along with weight loss may reduce the risk of chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disorders.

Recent studies on PCOS indicate that the condition is associated with low-grade chronic inflammation. Some researchers also suggest that women with PCOS or polycystic ovary syndrome are at higher risks of nonalcoholic fatty liver diseases.

The inflammatory and metabolic derangements associated with PCOS, come in the coexistence of insulin resistance and obesity. However, they are further fuelled by the excessive secretion of androgen.

New insights into the regulation of hormones and cytokines in the muscle and fat tissues, support the concept that PCOS is a systematic syndrome.

Women with PCOS should be advised about the most opportune moment of conceiving for a successful pregnancy, considering the prevalence of obstetric, metabolic, and cardiovascular risks.

Therefore, safe contraception becomes a crucial part of integral care. That’s because it allows postponing pregnancy while implementing lifestyle modifications for fat loss and improved metabolic homeostasis to achieve full-term pregnancy and ensure good health for both mother and the baby.

Leading endocrinologists also suggest that PCOS therapeutic plans should be customized to suit the patient phenotype, complaints, and reproductive desires. Moreover, integral management by a multidisciplinary team can help the patients to adhere to lifestyle modifications for the successful recovery of metabolic and reproductive health.

When it comes to its diagnosis, there is no specific test to diagnose polycystic ovary syndrome. However, analyzing the condition through a pelvic examination, blood tests, and ultrasound is preferable.

Usually, it is the patient’s medical history including the menstrual cycle and weight changes that are taken into consideration. Physical examinations like checking for signs of excessive hair growth, insulin resistance, and acne also help in determining PCOS.

PCOS treatment is covered under 3 major categories including regulation of the menstrual cycle, helping in ovulation, and reduction in excessive hair growth. Recommended treatments are as below:

  • For regulation of the menstrual cycle – a combination of birth control pills and progestin therapy
  • For proper ovulation – drugs like clomiphene (clomid), metmorfin (glucophage, fortamet), and gonadotropins
  • For reduction in excessive hair growth – birth control pills, spironolactone (aldactone), eflornithine (vaniqa), and electrolysis treatment.

Other PCOS treatment involves lifestyle modifications like a healthy and well-balanced diet and moderate physical exercise for effective weight management. Join our course on Puberty & Adolescence in PCOS – click here

This course is certified by the “International Society of Gynecological Endocrinology (ISGE)” in collaboration with the “PCOS Society of India

You can also refer to the webinar on PCOS or polycystic ovary syndrome- Click here

Dr. Pratap Kumar, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Manipal University, Karnataka.