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PCOS - Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome

PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a conundrum of reproductive and endocrine systems dysfunction. This occurs as a result of hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis dysfunction Contrary to what was previously believed, one does not need to have cysts on the ovaries to suffer from this disorder. For this reason, this diagnosis will most likely undergo a name change in the near future. 

Unfortunately over half of approximately 12 million women who may have this problem are un-diagnosed. Most of this has to do with uncertainty and confusion around this diagnosis. 

According to the most recent guidelines released by major medical societies, anyone showing 2 out of the following 3 features qualifies for the diagnosis of PCOS

  1. Oligomenorrhea or Anovulation (irregular periods)

  2. Clinical or biochemical signs of hyper-androgenism (facial hair, acne, elevated testosterone, DHEA levels etc)

  3. Cysts on the ovaries 

Following labs or work up is done to evaluate for PCOS

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Can I live a healthy life even if I have PCOS?

Yes. Having PCOS does not and should not compromise the quality of our life. First step is to get the right diagnosis. Next, a healthy lifestyle including proper diet and exercise goes a long way and finally, medications and medical procedures help as well. 

Is PCOS hereditary?

Yes. PCOS runs in the families and has strong genetic component. Because several (dozens if not hundreds) genes are linked to PCOS and their expression varies tremendously, it is hard to determine if any one even with genetic susceptibility will develop PCOS. 

Can PCOS be reversed?

Yes. PCOS is thought to be a combination of genetic and autoimmune mishaps. Just like in most situations, we can modify the expression of our genes and tame our immune system, symptoms related to PCOS can be regulated as well. 

Below is an illustrative summary of what you can do to achieve a good quality of life even when living with PCOS.   

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