Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age. It’s characterized by prolonged or infrequent menstrual periods and higher levels of male hormones (androgens).
PCOS results from an overproduction of androgens by the ovaries. This hormonal imbalance can lead to irregular menstrual cycles, difficulty in ovulating, and the formation of small cysts on the ovaries. It’s a leading cause of female infertility and is associated with other health complications.
Who is at Risk?
While PCOS can affect any woman after puberty, it’s most commonly diagnosed in women in their 20s and 30s. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of developing PCOS.
Causes of PCOS
The exact cause of PCOS remains unknown, but several factors might play a role:
- High Androgen Levels: Elevated levels can disrupt the menstrual cycle and cause acne, excessive hair growth, and baldness.
- Insulin Resistance: High insulin levels can increase androgen production, causing difficulty with ovulation.
- Inflammation: Women with PCOS often have increased levels of inflammation, which can contribute to the condition.
- Genetics: PCOS seems to run in families, suggesting a possible genetic link.
Symptoms of PCOS
Symptoms can vary, but common ones include:
- Irregular periods
- Heavy bleeding
- Excess hair growth
- Acne, oiliness, or dandruff
- Weight gain
- Darkening of the skin
- Skin tags
- Hair thinning
Treatment focuses on managing individual concerns, such as infertility, hirsutism, or acne. Options include:
- Hormonal Birth Control: Regulates menstruation and reduces androgen levels.
- Metformin: Improves insulin resistance.
- Anti-androgen Medications: Reduces hair growth and improves acne.
- Lifestyle Changes: Weight loss, a balanced diet, and regular exercise can help manage symptoms.
PCOS and Pregnancy
Women with PCOS can still get pregnant with the help of treatments that improve ovulation. Options include:
- Ovulation Induction: Medications like clomiphene or letrozole can stimulate the ovaries.
- Surgery: Ovarian drilling can stimulate ovulation.
- IVF: In cases where other treatments don’t work, IVF might be an option.
If not managed, PCOS can lead to several health challenges:
- Heart disease
- Endometrial cancer
- Sleep apnea
- Mood disorders
Dr. Waseem's Approach to PCOS
Dr. Waseem emphasizes a holistic approach to managing PCOS. He believes in addressing the root causes, primarily focusing on insulin resistance and lifestyle factors. His recommendations include:
- Dietary Changes: Adopting a therapeutic ketogenic diet.
- Intermittent Fasting: Helps in reducing insulin resistance.
- Regular Exercise: Especially strength training to improve metabolism.
- Stress Management: Stress can exacerbate PCOS symptoms.
- Supplements: Essential supplements include Omega 3 fish oil, chromium, vitamin B12, zinc, probiotics, vitamin D, and inositol.
In conclusion, while PCOS is a challenging condition, with the right approach, it can be managed effectively. Early diagnosis and a comprehensive treatment plan are crucial for a healthier life.