Polycystic ovary syndrome affects more than just your ovaries
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common hormonal condition in women, and the leading cause of female infertility, yet very little is known about it. In a bid to educate people on this condition that affects one in every five women globally, September is PCOS awareness month.
Dr Kerusha Naidoo is a homoeopathic doctor with a special interest in female hormonal imbalances specifically PCOS. She says that the name of the condition is misleading, as it implies that it only affects the ovaries, but in reality, it affects much more.
It actually affects the brain, liver, the adrenal glands as well as the pancreas.Dr Kerusha Naidoo, Homeopathic doctor
According to Dr Naidoo, the symptoms she looks out for to diagnose PCOS include:
Irregular periods If a woman has her period every 2 -3 weeks or every 2 - 3 months it is considered irregular.
High levels of male hormones They look for this through bloodwork or clinically. Clinical signs include excessive hair on the chin, chest and tummy area, as well as acne on the jawline and chin.
Cysts in the ovaries According to Dr Naidoo, a common question that comes up is do you have to have cysts in my ovaries to be diagnosed with PCOS? The answer is no. You just need two of the three symptoms to be diagnosed.
If you are experiencing irregular periods, an ultrasound and bloodwork are needed to confirm whether you have one or both of the remaining symptoms to be diagnosed with PCOS. Dr Naidoo says the women of reproductive age are most likely to get it. This is a broad range of women which accounts for the commonality of the condition.
A girl gets her first period which is marked at age 11, estimated. At that age to about 45, you can have symptoms of PCOS.Dr Kerusha Naidoo, Homeopathic doctor
That's the shocking bit, women aren't aware of this condition, but it's so common.Dr Kerusha Naidoo, Homeopathic doctor
One of the main effects of PCOS according to Dr Naidoo, is subfertility, rather than infertility.
There is a likelihood of the patient becoming pregnant, it's just that they are having difficulty falling pregnant because they are not ovulating. That is the main thing with PCOS, is that by not ovulating, you are not releasing an egg for sperm to go and fertilise.Dr Kerusha Naidoo, Homeopathic doctor
While a lot of the other symptoms of PCOS are cosmetic, (struggling to lose weight, acne and excess hair), there are major health risks as well. According to Dr Naidoo, insulin resistance is one of the driving forces behind PCOS and that brings with it its own set of risks. High cholesterol levels are also common in PCOS patients.
Because of insulin resistance, about 50% of women before the age of 50, if they don't treat the insulin resistance, have a substantially increased chance of developing type 2 diabetes.Dr Kerusha Naidoo, Homeopathic doctor
We commonly see high cholesterol levels in patients with PCOS, therefore they are at higher risk of developing heart conditions.Dr Kerusha Naidoo, Homeopathic doctor
Women with PCOS, unfortunately, suffer from depression, because of decreased nuero-transmitters.Dr Kerusha Naidoo, Homeopathic doctor
Other health risks include an increased risk of endometrial cancer and non-alcoholic liver disease. Because of the hormonal imbalance, diet is very important in helping curb some of the effects of PCOS. Dr Naidoo recommends going dairy-free.
Dairy promotes inflammation. In PCOS you have a chronic state of low-grade inflammation, so you don't want to contribute to that.Dr Kerusha Naidoo, Homeopathic doctor
By cutting out dairy, you actually decrease the amount of acne as well. It also prompts ovulation. By leading a healthy lifestyle, having a balanced meal with your healthy carbs, a protein and a healthy snack, that will reduce your weight which is a huge problem with PCOS.Dr Kerusha Naidoo, Homeopathic doctor
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