Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS is one the most common hormonal disorder affecting young women of reproductive age. It’s a condition characterized by numerous small cystic growths in the ovaries which prevent ovulation, thereby leading to infertility in females. PCOS usually presents with irregular menstrual cycles, excessive facial hair growth, weight gain, acne, Infertility and Diabetes in more severe cases.
In a normal menstrual cycle, ovulation happens when a mature ovarian follicle ruptures to release an egg, around the 14th day of the menstrual cycle. In case of polycystic ovaries, even though the ovaries contain multiple follicles, they do not produce a mature egg, which is essential for conception to take place. Since women with polycystic ovaries ovulate irregularly or in some cases do not ovulate at all, they are very likely to suffer from Infertility.
While PCOS is globally prevalent, affecting 5-15% of the female population in the world, the rapid incidence of PCOS and Infertility is a rising concern in the UAE. Dr. Pankaj Shrivastav, a leading fertility specialist in the UAE, finds in his practice that many patients who consult him for Infertility treatment present with Polycystic Ovaries. “At our practice in Conceive Hospital, we find 1 out of 4 patients is a PCOS sufferer,” says Dr. Shrivastav.
Dr. Shrivastav, who was greatly concerned by the rising number of PCOS cases in his daily practice, stepped forward to evaluate the levels of PCOS in the “normal” female population of different ethnic backgrounds here in the UAE. In a study conducted by him, 501 women in total from the UAE were sampled from South Asian, Gulf Arab and Caucasian ethnicities. The results were indeed quite alarming. While the Caucasian women had only 10-12 percent, the South Asian and Gulf Arab women indicated a 40 and 35 percent prevalence of PCOS. What is more concerning is that, 96.5 percent of the South Asian women and 80.9 percent of the Gulf Arab women with PCOS were found to have insulin resistance. “These are staggeringly high figures when compared to the prevalence of insulin resistance in PCOS women, as reported in World Literature (50-70%). Growing incidence of PCOS in the region means that more and more couples will have to seek infertility treatment,” he said.
According to Dr. Shrivastav, it’s the bad genes and bad lifestyle that leads to PCOS. “PCOS usually begins with insulin resistance, which is quite often hereditary but can be exacerbated due to an increase in body weight and stress levels. While family history of Diabetes may predispose an Individual to develop insulin resistance, it’s the hectic lifestyles, obesity and unhealthy dietary habits that make things worse,” explains Dr. Shrivastav.
Can PCOS associated Infertility be treated?
Although there is no permanent cure for Insulin resistance or PCOS, the outlook isn’t as bleak for women with PCOS. The disorder can be easily managed by simple lifestyle changes and medical treatment. “Early diagnosis and treatment of the disorder helps preserve a woman’s fertility,” states Dr. Pankaj Shrivastav. “At Conceive, we have a program called ‘Fitness for Fertility’ whereby a fitness trainer and a dietician who work together to boost the fertility of our patients. We are also looking to add a yoga instructor to the team as recent literature suggests that this could have positive effects on both the patients’ fitness as well as their state of mind.”
Since PCOS associated Infertility is basically due to lack of ovulation, establishment of regular menstrual cycles through lifestyle changes and ovulation medications will automatically restore the fertility levels. Achieving and maintaining the ideal Body Mass Index (BMI), in order to rectify the hormonal imbalance is the key factor. With a healthy lifestyle, balanced diet, sufficient exercise and sleep, it is possible to keep weight gain under control and restore the normal menstrual cycles.
If you have question on PCOS or Infertility, Dr. Pankaj Shrivastav is available to answer your question on Dubaimoms.com. To ask a question to Dr. Shrivastav, please click on the link – Ask a Question.