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What Every Woman Should Know About Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

posted on 8/9/2016 Facebook Facebook

Polycystic ovarian syndrome or more popularly known as PCOS affects about 10% of all women worldwide. In India, this number is much higher and affects about 18% of the female population, particularly of child bearing age i.e. 18 to 30 years. Undiagnosed PCOS can lead to infertility and in the long term can cause several health complications.

What Is PCOS?
The word ‘polycystic ovary’ fills most women with fear. However, it is a common misconception that PCOS is only about ovarian cysts. The syndrome is in fact a characteristic combination of a constellation of symptoms such as cosmetic, gynecological and metabolic.

While the exact cause of the syndrome is not fully understood, years of research has highlighted the role changes in the levels of hormones (increase in male hormones and decrease in female hormones) and insulin resistance. Typical symptoms include the following:

•Irregular menstrual cycle and fertility issues
•Hirsutism— Excess hair growth on the face, chest, abdomen or upper thighs.
•Loss of hair on the scalp
•Unexplained weight gain

Since the syndrome is marked by insulin resistance, it is important that women understand their risk for metabolic diseases associated with the same. Women suffering from PCOS are at a heightened risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and blood clots.

Is There A Genetic Basis For PCOS?
The familial heritability of PCOS is long been known. In recent times, scientists have resorted to genomic studies to understand the genetic nature of this disorder. The best evidence of an association of a single gene (locus) with PCOS is the dinucleotide repeat microsatellite marker D19S884. In August 2015, researchers from the Northwestern University found 11 susceptibility regions in the genome which play important role in the development of PCOS. While these findings are promising, researchers are confounded in determining the prevalence of most of these genes since their expression is governed by lifestyle, environment, family history etc.

PCOS is diverse in nature and is a matter of concern for millions of women across the globe. Treatment often includes medications to manage hormones and insulin levels. However, the need of the hour is being aware of the disorder. Genetic testing can help determine the risk of PCOS and also suggest preventive measures to manage any diagnosable risk.

Do you have a family history of PCOS or other gynecological issues? Speak to our genetic counselors today who can help you understand the importance of genetic testing for PCOS. Call us at 1800-3070-6727 (Toll-Free) or write to us at: info@positivebioscience.com. 

1.Sirmans SM, Pate KA. Epidemiology, diagnosis, and management of polycystic ovary syndrome. Clin Epidemiol. 2013 Dec 18;6:1-13. doi: 10.2147/CLEP.S37559. Review. PubMed PMID: 24379699; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3872139.
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3.Madnani N, Khan K, Chauhan P, Parmar G. Polycystic ovarian syndrome. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2013 May-Jun;79(3):310-21. doi:10.4103/0378-6323.110759. Review. PubMed PMID: 23619436.
4.Zhao H, Lv Y, Li L, Chen ZJ. Genetic Studies on Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 2016 May 19. pii: S1521-6934(16)30024-4.doi: 10.1016/j.bpobgyn.2016.04.002. [Epub ahead of print] Review. PubMed PMID:27264388.

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