All About PCOS: Symptoms And Tips To Deal With It
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome also known as PCOS, is a disorder in which a woman's hormones get imbalanced.Polycystic Ovary Syndrome also known as PCOS, is a disorder in which a woman's hormones get imbalanced. PCOS affects women during their childbearing years. Women suffering from PCOS produce higher-than-normal amounts of male hormones. This often leads to irregular menstrual cycles and problems in getting pregnant. Many a time, PCOS is hereditary, but there are many other factors like stress, imbalanced diet, pollution, and insulin resistance that contribute to it. According to a study, these days one in five women suffer from PCOS. To know if you’re one among those five, see if you experience any of these symptoms.
1. Irregular periods: Irregular periods are known to be a hallmark of PCOS. While skipping periods once in a while might not be something worrisome but if you miss your period more than twice a year, your ovaries might not be ovulating properly. The lack of ovulation prevents the uterine lining from shedding every month.
2. Heavy bleeding: When the uterine lining doesn’t shed every month, it builds up and since the uterine lining builds up for a longer period of time than usual, when you get your periods, they’re heavier than normal and at times can go on for 10 days.
3.Infertility: Disturbed menstrual cycle makes it difficult for a woman to conceive. Moreover, the unshed uterine lining often turns into cysts which further create a problem in getting pregnant. It has been observed that around 80 per cent of women with PCOS have fertility problems. If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for more than a year and have been unsuccessful in it, you might be suffering from PCOS.
4. Hair growth: High levels of androgens stimulate hair growth follicles which lead to excessive hair growth on face and body. These hair are usually dark, thick, and coarse and grow typically in areas where it is more usual for men to grow hair like the sideburn region, chin, upper lip, around the nipples, lower abdomen, chest, and thighs. This symptom of excessive hair growth in women is known as hirsutism. According to a survey, around 60 per cent of women suffering from PCOS have hirsutism.
5. Hair loss: High levels of androgens can also lead to hair fall in some women. They experience thinning of scalp hair in a ‘male-like’ pattern - receding frontal hairline and thinning on the top of the scalp.
6. Acne: Male hormones can also increase the size of the oil production glands on the skin, making the skin oilier and more prone to breakouts. While acne is common during adolescence, severe acne in women can be a sign of PCOS.
7.Weight gain: Up to 80 per cent of women with PCOS notice unexplained weight gain. Moreover, since the high level of androgens deteriorates the metabolic rate, women with PCOS find very difficult to lose the weight they gain.
8. Darkening of the skin: Also known as acanthosis nigricans, this condition leads to the formation of dark patches on body creases, like those on the neck, in the groin, and under the breasts.
9. Body aches: While it is common to experience a moderate amount of pain in legs, thighs, and back during menstruation, but if the pain is unbearable and you experience regular episodes of it, you might have low-grade chronic inflammation in your joints which is often a symptom of PCOS.
If your periods are irregular or you experience any two of the other symptoms stated above, you must see a gynaecologist. To diagnose PCOS, doctors usually conduct blood tests and an ultrasound. Blood tests are conducted to check the hormonal imbalances and an ultrasound is used to see if there are any abnormal growths and other problems in your ovaries.
Well, PCOS might be very common and give you a tad bit of trouble, but treating it is quite simple. All you need to do is to take the medications prescribed by your doctor (usually hormonal/contraceptive pills) and make a few lifestyle changes.
Here are five tips that will help you improve your PCOS drastically:
- Exercise: This the first thing any doctor will tell you. Exercising won’t only help you lose the excess weight you might have put on because of PCOS but it will also help in the hormonal imbalance that leads to body hair, acne, hair loss etc.
2. Eliminate processed foods from your diet: These days most processed and packed foods have more preservatives, pesticides, and chemicals in them than nutrients. These foods hardly provide our body with the nutrients needed to manage disorders like PCOS and the preservatives present in packed foods often lead to hormonal imbalance.
- Have foods rich in Omega 3: Omega 3 is known to promote estrogen levels. Foods like flax seeds, soy, salmon, and walnuts are good sources of Omega 3. Including them in your diet can help in balancing the imbalanced hormones.
- Stay hydrated: Water helps in flushing out the toxins from your body which lead to acne, hormonal imbalances, and weight gain. It also helps in regulating the menstrual cycle.
Before we end this piece we just want to remind you that PCOS is absolutely normal and you shouldn’t be embarrassed about it. A woman suffering from PCOS is as normal as a woman not suffering from it.