(Image sourced from PCOS.org)
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a complex condition, in Australia studies show this condition effects around 10% of childbearing age women. Signs and symptoms for each woman varies, no two cases are identical therefore treatment is varied and is usually based on the individual’s symptoms. At this stage PCOS is not fully understood and there is no cure for the condition, however there are additional health considerations, such as heart disease – which should not be ignored.
PCOS should not be viewed as a condition which ‘just is’ and left unmanaged. External, physical signs may appear in some women such as skin tabs, darkened skin in bodily creases and excess of body hair; there are various options/ treatments for some of these signs. However, internal symptoms can manifest over time and when unmanaged, can begin to cause additional health concerns.
Dr Joham, an Endocrinologist at Monash University published a paper that discusses their study of 9,145 women in which they looked at the link between PCOS and asthma. The study showed that those women who had PCOS and an increased BMI also suffered increased asthma symptoms. His research paper was presented in Boston at ENDO 2016.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is associated with an irregular menstrual cycle or a cycle which stops altogether. Therefore, eggs cannot be released as they should, not only does this effect infertility but it can also cause the lining of the uterus to thicken over time and this can lead to an increased risk of additional health concerns in some women, such as cancer. In those women that experience irregular cycles, a contraceptive pill maybe prescribed to help regulate the cycle. Your medical practitioner will be able to advise you if this is suitable for you. PCOS is also associated with insulin resistance, this needs to be carefully monitored as studies show there is a strong link between PCOS and the development of diabetes, especially in those women who have a family history of the disease.
Current recommendations for PCOS include a healthy lifestyle and optimal weight management, as studies show that increased BMI has been linked to PCOS. Regular exercise inline with the Australian Heart Foundation guidelines of thirty minutes of walking per day plus two to three sessions of ‘vigorous’ exercise per week in addition to healthy eating. Both of these combined will help to maintain a healthy visceral fat rating, BMI and waist measurement – to best manage your polycystic ovarian syndrome symptoms.
Speak to your medical practitioner about the options available for you. Click here to access Westmead Hospital Information Sheet, which has been published by the Department of Women’s & Newborn Health. This guide is really useful, contains detailed information and contacts to assist your further.
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Westmead Hospital Information Service
Mothers & Newborn Department – PCOS Information Guide
mydr.com.au – Asthma Link to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
American Association of Clinical Endcrinologists – www.aace.com