PCOS among Indian & managing it During Covid
PCOS or commonly termed as PCOD among Indian women in COVID times has become a very serious problem and needs to be continuously addressed to create awareness regarding the problem and factors to reduce it. PCOD ie Polycystic Ovarian Disease is actually not a disease,it is rather a condition / syndrome which can involve multiple organs causing varied problems in different age brackets ie in young girls,married women, and older women. It can occur between the age of 14-44 years of age and can last a lifetime. Hence the name polycystic ovarian syndrome is more appropriate.
The etiology of PCOS is both genetic and environmental. Both the factors play a big role.
Unfortunately Indian women are genetically highly prone to PCOS and it is known to occur in families. The genetic inheritance can come from maternal or paternal side. Fathers are usually silent carriers. Apart from genetics environmental factors and lifestyle have a big role in PCOS. Covid 19 and lockdown has increased the stress levels reduced outdoor activity and exercise and gymming. There is increased screen time in work from home and social media usage has increased too. All this is causing weight gain, loss of daily routine and night sleep cycle and hormonal disturbance.
Hormonal imbalances in PCOS lead to excess of androgen which is a male hormone. There is insulin resistance causing high blood sugar levels. There is lack of ovulation and irregular periods.
Symptoms of PCOS are:
• Abnormal Menstruation, irregular periods, heavy bleeding, absent periods (amenorrhea), very little bleeding like spotting.
• Obesity and weight gain and central obesity.
• Excessive hair growth on face ,belly ,chest.
• Darkening of skin folds around neck, axillae, under breast and groin.
• Inability to conceive
• High blood sugar
• Depression and sleep apnoea
There is no definitive treatment of PCOS. There are some drugs like anti diabetic (Metformin)**, anti inflammatory (Myoinositol)**, anti androgenic (oral contraceptives)** and Vitamins like Vit D** which can help to some extent.
But the most effective way to treat PCOS is lifestyle modification
Exercise and weight is the most important treatment modality. Even 5%weight loss can cause periods to become regular and return of fertility. Regular physical activity can help to change hormones in a very good way. Androgenic activity gets reduced and insulin resistance improves. Blood sugars become normal, menstrual cycle can become regular and fertility improves. Also, there is increased energy level, less anxiety and depression and improved self esteem. Although 5 to 10 percent weight loss helps a lot but improvement is also seen with regular exercise even if there is no actual weight loss. Hence it’s important to adopt an active day to day life style
Next very important is the role of good diet. Role of good diet in both quality and quantity cannot be overemphasised. All natural and unprocessed high fiber foods like green leafy vegetables and good fruits and legumes and lentils healthy fats like vegetable oil olive oil coconut oil, nut, spices like turmeric and cinnamon are good. Things to be avoided include refined carbohydrates like pasteries, white bread, fast foods, sugary beverages, processed meats, fats and red meat. It is also important to keep helpings small and to eat less than completely filling the stomach
It is very important to live a disciplined life and eat and sleep on time. Yoga and meditation improve happiness levels and relaxed lifestyle can improve hormones
More than the doctor, patient herself can find the cure if she chooses an inspired lifestyle each day.
Dr. Bela Ravikant
Obstetrics & Gynaecology