PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a common hormone imbalance that affects around 1 out of 10 women. It is seen in 2.2% to 26% of cases among reproductive age group women and is a frustrating experience for them and often complex for managing doctors. The observations by specialists like endocrinologists, gynecologists and dermatologists show a significant rise in PCOS in Indian women.
The exact cause of PCOS is complex and unclear; the underlying hormonal imbalance created by a combination of increased androgens and/or serum insulin levels seems to be a central focus. Genetic and environmental contributors along with other factors including obesity complicate the cycle.
Treating PCOS is difficult and involves a multispecialty approach. The gold standard and recommended first line of treatment for PCOS in overweight women is a lifestyle change. The importance of maintaining ideal weight should be strongly emphasized in all women with PCOS regardless of their body weight. Lifestyle changes with as little as 5%-10% weight loss has significant clinical benefits improving psychological outcomes. Other problems like infertility, acne, hair loss and hirsutism have to be treated symptomatically. However, there is no ideal medical therapy for women with PCOS that fully reverses the underlying hormonal disturbances and treats all clinical features.