Understanding PCOS - 101

by Janki P Mehta

Polycystic ovarian syndrome or more commonly known as PCOS is a condition that affects the hormone levels of women of reproductive age. All round the world, the statistics show that 1 in every 10 women have PCOS whereas in India, it is 1 in every 5 women, which is around 20%, are affected by PCOS. Wait, wait! That's not it, did you know that, “A statistical report by Futterweit, estimated that 50–75% of women with PCOS are unaware that they even have this syndrome”

There is much confusion, false information, myths circulating around PCOS signs and symptoms. The definition of PCOS itself is so broad, also signs and symptoms vary from person to person, thus making it difficult to diagnose or understand it.

So, let’s make it simple. We are here, to help our cysters out there, in understanding the PCOS, its signs, symptoms and treatment options that are usually available. Let's do a deep dive, shall we?

We shall start from the beginning, answering the first and foremost question, What is PCOS?

We already covered that, Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects the hormone levels of a woman of reproductive age. We women have both male and female hormones, with the amount of male hormones being lower or minute in quantity. But the women with PCOS produce higher-than-normal amounts of male hormones, that is, androgens and testosterones. This causes hormonal imbalances that lead to the problems in the ovaries which leads to a bunch of other PCOS related problems that we will discuss about moving forward. A very important point to note is that PCOS can happen at any age after puberty.

PCOS causes:

The exact PCOS causes are not known, but most experts believe the following factors play role in PCOS

  1. High levels of insulin
  2. High levels of androgens
  3. Increase in inflammation
  4. Genetics

There are also four different types of PCOS, depending on the cause of PCOS. They are :

  1. Insulin resistant PCOS
  2. Inflammatory PCOS
  3. Hidden-cause PCOS
  4. Pill-induced PCOS

These various causes of PCOS lead to various other symptoms of PCOS, which brings us to our next question: What are the first signs of PCOS?

Symptoms of PCOS:

Here are some of the first signs of PCOS and symptoms of PCOS you can be on a lookout for:

  1. Irregular menstrual cycle
  2. Excessive unwanted hair growth that includes facial, chest, back, stomach hair
  3. Acne
  4. Obesity
  5. Thinning hair
  6. Hyperpigmentation around the neck
  7. Fertility Issues

Not everyone suffering through PCOS has all of the above symptoms. A women to be diagnosed as PCOS, she should suffer from two out of the following three symptoms and they are:

  1. Cysts in the ovaries
  2. Irregular periods
  3. Hormonal imbalances

The next question is when we should go to a doctor to get a PCOS test done. If you are facing any of the above symptoms or if you have close family members suffering from PCOS, it is a good idea to get yourself tested too. The earlier the better.

Treatment for PCOS

Traditional treatments for PCOS include treatments for the symptoms of PCOS. That includes recommending birth control pills to regularise periods, medication called metformin to prevent diabetes/take care of insulin resistance, statins to control high cholesterol, hormones to increase fertility and procedures to remove excess hair.

These traditional treatments are essential especially if your symptoms are worse, but are not just enough to help you manage PCOS. PCOS can be very well managed especially at the earlier stages with good diet, exercise and supplements.

PCOS and its symptoms can become worse if you are not maintaining a healthy lifestyle. None of the treatments of PCOS target the root cause of PCOS that is hormonal imbalances or the oxidative stress that leads to more of the common PCOS symptoms like acne, facial hair, infertility, weight gain or irregular treatments.

Unhealthy food habits, lack of exercise, stress can worsen your PCOS symptoms. So the first step to managing your PCOS is changing your lifestyle and incorporating healthier habits. Regular exercise, healthy food, avoiding processed food, cutting out refined sugars are some of the habits that will help you maneuver through and fight against it, ensuring that you are #StrongerThanPCOS.

Traditional treatment of dealing with PCOS has its place especially when symptoms are worse and medical help is needed. But it is also essential to target the root cause of hormonal imbalance and oxidative stress for which incorporating a supplement in your diet will be very helpful. While choosing the right supplement for PCOS ensure that it is clinically proven and has the ingredients of superior quality to give your body the best you can. 

Our newly launched Chicnutrix Cysterhood is India’s 1st ever PCOS Effervescent supplement. As we have always said, we want to ensure that women get the best nutrition available to ensure that they can be their best self and tackle their everyday problem with the touch of science and glam quotient. So, to ensure our Cysters get the right nutrition in their fight against PCOS, we have launched Cysterhood with its clinically proven N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and Vitamin C that will help you manage PCOS and ensure hormonal balance, regular periods and ovarian health.

So all the Cysters out there, let's join the fight against PCOS and ensure that we are #StrongerThanPCOS.