One of the common reasons for irregular periods, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), is a leading cause of infertility in women. However, did you know that it also increases risk for diabetes, heart disease and cancer? Almost 50% of affected women remain undetected. Find out how to keep this condition at bay.

What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?

PCOS is diagnosed when at least two among the following symptoms are present:

  • Irregular periods: Cycles may be infrequent, irregular, or sometimes, prolonged.
  • Excess androgen: Concurrent rise in male hormones can cause excess facial and body hair, severe acne, and baldness.
  • Polycystic ovaries: Ultrasonography may detect fluid-filled spaces in the female reproductive organs.
  • Insulin Resistance: Women with PCOS can develop resistance to insulin, the hormone which burns energy from food. This in turn can cause weight gain, ovarian dysfunction, and even Diabetes. While the exact cause is unknown, early diagnosis, treatment and lifestyle modification can prevent dreaded complications.

In addition to physical and cosmetic problems, the disease is an important source of anxiety, depression, and eating disorders.

Home remedies and DIY treatment

Even before you start medications, there are steps you can take to control symptoms:

  • Dietary changes: Simple sugars like white rice tend to increase blood glucose levels quickly. Whereas, complex carbohydrates and food rich in fibre (e.g. whole grain bread and cereals, brown rice, beans) cause slower and shorter peaks in glucose.
  • Weight control: PCOS can cause excess weight gain, further worsening the disease. Strive to decrease weight by taking smaller portions and choosing healthier alternatives.
  • Exercise: Muscle contraction uses up glucose in the bloodstream. Regular exercise also helps reduce stress.

What do doctors prescribe for PCOS?

Your doctor may prescribe oral contraceptive pills to regularize menstrual cycles. Some patients require anti-diabetic drugs like Metformin for insulin resistance. Additional infertility treatment may be advised. Individualized treatment is best recommended by a specialist.

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