By Dr Naresh Purohit  

Mumbai: PCOS also known as polycystic ovarian syndrome, is a common health problem caused by an imbalance of reproductive hormones. 

The ovaries make the egg that is released each month as part of a healthy menstrual cycle. With PCOS, the egg may not develop as it should, or it may not be released during ovulation as it should be due to an excess of androgens.

PCOS is associated with obesity and increased insulin resistance and therefore increases the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and other conditions later in life. 

As per an estimates, about 20 per cent of women in India between 15-40 age group are suffering from PCOS.

PCOS can cause missed or irregular menstrual periods. Irregular periods can lead to Infertility (inability to get pregnant). In fact, PCOS is one of the most common causes of infertility in women as multiple cysts (small fluid-filled sacs) in the ovaries takes place.


- Irregular menstrual cycle. Women with PCOS may miss periods or some women with severe PCOS may stop having menstrual periods.

- Too much hair on the face, chin, or parts of the body where men usually have hair. This is called "hirsutism." Hirsutism affects up to 70% of women with PCOS.

- Acne on the face, chest, and upper back.

 -Thinning hair or hair loss on the scalp; male-pattern baldness.

- Weight gain or difficulty losing weight.

- Darkening of skin, particularly along neck creases, in the groin, and underneath breasts.

- Skin tags, which are small excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck area.

Since PCOS hampers with the fertility potential, many women with PCOS experience challenges while getting pregnant. But with proper lifestyle changes, treatment plans or IVF options it is possible to conceive.

 Maintaining a chart to track ovulation with a test kit while monitoring the basal body temperature. If any irregularity is observed, it can lead to lesser possibility of ovulation resulting into lesser chances of conceiving. This tracking needs to be performed for at least six months so that the treating  doctor can interpret and suggest treatment measures.

To Maintain a suitable body mass index (BMI): Obesity is one of the major concerns when it comes to PCOS. It is imperative to lead a healthier lifestyle with an optimum balance of diet and exercise. It will help in balancing the disrupted hormones and will pave the way for a healthier pregnancy. Regular exercise will also help the body in gaining Vitamin D levels.

Nutritious rich food goes a long way in keeping the body healthy. PCOS affects the ability to regulate insulin in the body, therefore one should ensure proper diet rich in fiber and proteins to counteract the situation. Lower chromium and magnesium levels in the body can lead to infertility so it is important to ensure consuming both these vital minerals. It is also advised to stay away from consuming sugars and processed foods to maintain the level of hormones in the body.

Since PCOS is likely to affect the production of egg cells and ovulation in the body, it can create difficulties in getting pregnant. If medication does not improve the condition, then doctors can step in and advise alternative methods such as IVF to conceive a child.