Lesser known yet spreading fast

MULTIPLE CYSTS

Women often ignore issues relating to their health, including delay in the menstrual cycle, for it is the family that comes first for them.

 An appointment with the doctor is put off till the health problem escalates and becomes unbearable.

The female readers would have a smirk on their faces by now while the male readers would be trying to switch to a more interesting article to read.

But wait. It is important for both the genders to know that a recent study conducted in Delhi on 347 women revealed that 23 per cent of the females face metabolic abnormalities associated with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).

 PCOS affects nearly one in four women worldwide, and in India nearly 40 per cent of women in the reproductive age could be affected, according to this report. “World over, the prevalence of PCOS in females is five to ten per cent.

 Thus, in comparison to cancer, the magnitude of PCOS is 10 times more,” says Dr Puneet Nigam, chief of lab services at Metropolis Healthcare Ltd. 

He explains PCOS as “a condition which affects females in the reproductive age group and can be categorised as endocrine disturbance.”

Though there are no early symptoms of PCOS it is commonly seen as a hormonal disorder which is characterised by multiple cysts (fluid filled sacs) in the ovaries. This leads to abnormal hormonal levels which results in irregular menses (menstrual cycle), infertility and other long term health complications such as weight gain, type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. 

In addition, PCOS also presents cosmetic woes to women including acne, skin tags, hair thinning and excessive hair growth on face, back, etc. But doctors say awareness among females on this topic is extremely low.

“Even female doctors are unaware of this,” says Dr Nigam. “It has not yet become fashionable to write about PCOS, maybe because it doesn’t lead to any alarming health problem immediately.”

The reason why ovaries start producing androgen is still unknown and is being investigated by experts but the cases of  young females being diagnosed with cyst in their ovaries appears to be on the increase.     

“Not just sedentary lifestyle but even polluted environment is responsible for this,” says Dr Nikita Trehan, a gynaecologist and laparoscopic surgeon at Sunrise Hospital.  

She says Indian and other South Asians are predisposed to type-2 diabetes. “The production of extra insulin and the ovulatory disorder due to excessive male hormone even causes depression in females.

 To treat this, we give more estrogens to females. But the point here is that females usually get to know about cyst in their ovaries when they are trying to conceive and approach gynaecologist when unable to do so.”

Since women are opting for late marriages and thus a late pregnancy, doctors say the disorder is detected at an even later stage. In such scenario, if PCOS is left undiagnosed, it may lead to many health complications, including heart problems and even cancer of the uterine lining. 

To avoid any possible risk of developing cysts in ovaries, doctors insist on avoiding stress and exercising regularly.

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