No prizes for guessing which is the most common women’s fertility condition that I encounter in my practice at Lalbagh IVF Centre, Bangalore. Yes, you’re right ! PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome. PCOS easily ranks number one among the causes for infertility. The common symptoms of PCOS include scanty, irregular or absent periods, hirsuitism, obesity , increased insulin resistance, obesity and acne. I am constantly asked by young women as to the causes of PCOS and it most commonly due to a hormonal imbalance and in many cases hereditary. Failing to conceive is the primary reason why I am approached by so many young women with PCOS, but I make it a point to counsel them that by managing PCOS early, they also minimize the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in their middle age.
So, how do I go about treating patients with PCOS. After detailed history taking, we do a trans-vaginal ultrasound scan to see whether the ovaries have features of PCOS. We correlate the scan findings with the patient’s body mass index (BMI) and other symptoms such as ovulation history, acne, hirsuitism etc. I also ask the patient to get a blood test done to investigate serum insulin levels and other hormones. Once I’ve established that the patient does have PCOS, we can start the treatment.
PCOS requires a multi-pronged treatment approach, the first line of treatment being Metformin medication. This coupled with weight loss and exercise works for many women. At Lalbagh IVF Centre, Bangalore, PCOS patients have the benefit of the combined experience of myself, Dr. Priya Chinnappa, a noted endocrinologist, and Dr.Lalitha Priya, a Nutritionist & dietician. We put the patients through the paces with a rigorous diet plan and simultaneous exercise regime. In more severe cases and for those wishing to conceive, Laparoscopic Ovarian drilling is a great option with excellent outcomes.
To summarise, losing weight is essential – an hour of slow walking daily is a good beginning. Reducing fatty and carbohydrate foods and replacing them with fibre and protein rich foods is something all PCOS patients would benefit from. Be positive and follow your doctors advice.