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PCOS is increasingly becoming one of the most common health issues among UAE. While one must follow a prescribed medication routine, it’s essential to note that regular screening and lifestyle changes play a significant role in managing this hormonal condition. Dr Amal Hassan Abddelaziz, Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Thumbay University Hospital Ajman shares a few tips to include and avoid in your lifestyle in case of PCOS.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that leads the ovaries to produce an abnormal amount of androgens, male sex hormones which are usually present in women in smaller quantity. The term polycystic ovary syndrome explains the numerous small cysts (fluid-filled sacs) that develop in the ovaries.

In cases of PCOS, a woman doesn’t make the required hormones needed to ovulate. When ovulation doesn’t happen, the ovaries form small cysts, which release hormones called androgens. Often, women suffering from PCOS have high levels of androgens, leading to problems associated with woman’s menstrual cycle.

Dr Amal Hassan Abddelaziz, Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Thumbay University Hospital Ajman

What causes PCOS?

Its exact cause is unclear, but many women showing symptoms have insulin resistance. Obesity can also increase insulin levels, making PCOS symptoms worse. Also, PCOS may run in families where it’s common for sisters or a mother and daughter to have PCOS.

What are the symptoms?

Missed periods, irregular periods, or very light periods; Ovaries that are large or have many cysts; Excess body hair including the chest, stomach, and back; Weight gain, especially around the belly; Acne or oily skin; Male-pattern baldness or thinning hair; Infertility; Small pieces of excess skin on the neck or armpits (skin tags); Dark or thick skin patches on the back of the neck, armpits, and under the breasts.

How can it be diagnosed?

A physical and pelvic screening helps in checking the health of the reproductive organs, both inside and outside of the body. Some of the symptoms of PCOS are like those that are caused by other health problems. Because of this, some other screenings may be advised such as ultrasound and blood tests.

How do you treat it?

Treatment for PCOS depends on a number of factors. These may include your age, how severe your symptoms are, and your overall health. The type of treatment may also depend on whether you want to become pregnant in the future. If you do plan to become pregnant, your treatment may include: A change in diet and activity. A healthy diet and more physical activity can help you lose weight and reduce your symptoms. They can also help your body use insulin more efficiently, lower blood glucose levels, and may help you ovulate. Medications to cause ovulation. Medications can help the ovaries to release eggs normally.

Key takeaways

PCOS is a very common hormone problem for women of childbearing age across UAE. Women with PCOS may not ovulate, have high levels of androgens, and have many small cysts on the ovaries-which can lead to missed or irregular menstrual periods, excess hair growth, acne, infertility, and weight gain. Women with PCOS may be at higher risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, and endometrial cancer.

Signing up for a treatment plan with a gynaecologist is the best approach to reduce risk and the symptoms associated with PCOS.