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PCOS: An ignored public health issue

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Dr Duru Shah

 Rohit Shishodia
Experts have stressed the need for spreading massive awareness in India to prevent polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal disorder common in women of reproductive age.

They have pointed out that PCOS is the most common reproductive disorder in women and affects about 10-15% of women in their reproductive age.

During the 5th International Annual Virtual Conference-“PCOS - Best Options for Best Outcomes” - organized by PCOS Society of India, the participating doctors informed that the incidence of PCOS is on the rise due to lifestyle changes. In India PCOS remains as under-recognized public health problem and represents a significant financial burden for health care.

They advised that women with PCOS should be screened regularly for mental health issues and treated for other reproductive, metabolic, and dermatological manifestations.

They pointed out that social support has a significant positive association with quality of life, demonstrating its importance for their ability to adapt to problems associated with PCOS, both physical and psychological.

Dr. Duru Shah, Founder President, PCOS Society of India, said that PCOS is the most common reproductive disorder in women and affects about 10-15% of women in their reproductive age.

“A well-known disorder across the globe, PCOS needs more awareness in timely diagnosis and management. More interventions are needed to improve the quality of life for women with PCOS,” added Dr Shah.

“While young girls with PCOS face cosmetic concerns like acne and hair growth on the face, besides menstrual problems, PCOS women wanting to conceive may face infertility issues. Pregnant women with PCOS face a multitude of challenges including gestational diabetes,” explained Dr Shah.

She pointed out that, in addition, women with PCOS also suffer from obesity and metabolic disorders and PCOS puts them at an increased risk of heart diseases. Women who are post-menopausal are at an increased risk of endometrial cancer. Women with PCOS also tend to suffer from mental health and psychosocial issues that need medical intervention.

Speaking to DTMT about its treatment and diagnosis, Dr Shah said interventions include more testing to identify all complications arising out of PCOS, diet and exercise interventions. Therapy is suggested if patients experience anxiety or depression. There is no vaccine to prevent this disorder. You cannot diagnose someone with PCOS until they reach the age of 18, but PCOS manifestations can be seen earlier. It is not curable but can be managed, she added.

Dr. Alpesh Gandhi – President, Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India, said that PCOS is a lifetime disorder known to cause profound physical and mental impact on the patient. He also added that the ignorance and lack of awareness on PCOS necessitates need for education, precaution, and prevention.

This conference brought together all specialties dealing with PCOS women like gynecologists, endocrinologists, dermatologists, reproductive endocrinologists, diet experts and health and wellness experts under one roof to deliberate on the problems of PCOS.

The virtual conference witnessed 12 International speakers from all over the globe and over 30 national experts from all over the country who come together for an enriching two-day conclave. About 2400 delegates registered for the meet.


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