EXCLUSIVE: Experiencing symptoms of PCOS? Here's how you can know for sure what it is

Updated on Oct 10, 2021 03:27 AM IST  |  67.4K
   
EXCLUSIVE: Experiencing symptoms of PCOS? Here's how you can know for sure what it is
EXCLUSIVE: Experiencing symptoms of PCOS? Here's how you can know for sure what it is
Advertisement

Affecting almost one in five Indian women, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a chronic condition that is characterised by the presence of cysts in the ovary. These cysts are called follicular cysts. Typically, one egg matures in the ovary every month and is released into the uterus during ovulation to be fertilised with sperm. In women with PCOS, eggs are unable to ovulate due to hormonal imbalance – such eggs accumulate inside the ovary, causing the condition.

The presence of androgens (or male hormones), ovarian dysfunction, irregular menstrual cycle, increased resistance to insulin, obesity, acne, as well as increased facial hair can be some of the blaring signs that point towards PCOS. While it is important to be cognizant about such symptoms, it is also essential to not jump to conclusions without seeking consultation from a medical professional. Different kinds of evaluations collectively check for PCOS and the treatment to be taken.

PCOS Symptoms

Screening of hormonal levels
The levels of a few hormones are checked to ascertain if the patient has PCOS.
Testosterone: It is the primary male sex hormone. While testosterone can be present in women in smaller quantities, higher levels of the hormone is an indication for PCOS.
Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH): FSH is related to ovarian functioning and the growth of follicles for the release of an egg. In women with PCOS, levels of FSH are typically lower than normal.
Luteinising hormone (LH): LH is the hormone that propagates ovulation and can be found in higher than normal amounts in the case of PCOS. Increased quantity of LH leads to high levels of androgens; when this is coupled with low FSH, eggs fail to develop properly in the ovary, and later do not ovulate.
Oestrogen: Oestrogen dominance or high levels of the hormone can be found due to PCOS.
Sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG): The levels of SHBG are disproportionate to levels of testosterone. Since in cases of PCOS, testosterone is found in higher quantities, SHBG would be lesser than normal.
Androstenedione: It is an androgen, also found in higher quantities in women living with PCOS.

Check for diabetes
Insulin resistance is a characteristic of PCOS. Insulin helps to break down glucose, thereby keeping blood glucose levels in check. When the body develops resistance to insulin due to PCOS, it can cause diabetes in the long run.

PCOS Symptoms 2

Keep a lookout for your cholesterol!
Higher levels of blood glucose levels can cause one to add on weight and become obese. This can lead to higher levels of triglycerides and lower levels of good cholesterol or high-density lipoprotein. Checking cholesterol levels is a secondary test to ensure that medical interventions can be brought in at an early stage if needed.

Ultrasound
An ultrasound of the pelvic area is an image scan that shows what the ovaries look like and what is constituted within it. In case cysts are present, they can be visualised by this method; their size and numbers can also be determined. Women with PCOS may have ovaries larger than their normal counterparts.

Pelvic examination
A pelvic examination is performed by the doctor to examine anything unusual in the vagina, cervix or rectum. This includes infections or tumour-like growths.

PCOS Symptoms 3

In addition to these tests, doctors may also advise taking a human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) test or a pregnancy test to check if the reason for the absence of menstruation is due to conception. Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) test is another test that may be performed; it is present in higher levels in the case of PCOS. Moreover, conditions with symptoms similar to PCOS such as inadequate thyroid levels or the presence of tumours may also be checked.

Depending on the consolidated findings, doctors will chart out a plan to control PCOS. Healthy lifestyle choices and positive changes to one’s routine can help control the symptoms to a great extent. It may happen that women find it difficult to conceive naturally since regular ovulation does not take place. Assisted reproductive technology, such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF), can help such women on their journey to motherhood.

About the author: Dr Kshitiz Murdia, CEO & Co-Founder, Indira IVF.

ALSO READ: EXCLUSIVE: How Sattvic food can enhance your energy levels according to an expert

Advertisement

Comments
View All