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Freedom from PCOS and its effects on overall health and wellbeing

With September being recognized as World PCOS Awareness Month, the medical community is focused on improving the lives of those affected by PCOS, by helping them overcome symptoms by making appropriate lifestyle changes.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a significant public health issue with reproductive, metabolic and psychological features. It manifests with common symptoms including irregular menstrual cycles, ovarian cysts and hirsutism, and is thought to be the most common endocrine disorder found in women. Those with the condition also face significant increase in risk factors such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and infertility.

Genetic and lifestyle factors are known to influence the etiology of PCOS and insulin resistance plays a key role in pathogenesis of PCOS especially in those who are overweight or obese. Another characteristic feature of PCOS is elevated male hormones (androgens) such as testosterone. Hyperandrogenemia can be diagnosed clinically through the presence of acne, unwanted hair growth around the face, chest, or trunk, male-pattern baldness or the thinning of hair. 

PCOS is often associated with infertility, which is present in an estimated 40% of women diagnosed with the condition. The root of infertility in these women is likely from reoccurring menstrual disturbances, which is often presented as abnormally long or erratic menstrual patterns. It is also important to mention that up to 30% of women diagnosed with PCOS have normal menstrual cycles, which emphasizes again the high degree of heterogeneity in this condition.  

Mental health outcomes are also a concern when examining a multifaceted condition with dermatological symptoms, weight gain, fertility issues. Body image is defined here as the way a woman may feel, think about and view their body including their appearance. These patients suffer low self body image.

Why is multidisciplinary care important for PCOS?

PCOS is a multifaceted and complex syndrome that requires care from multiple providers to ensure holistic treatment across the full spectrum of the condition. It can be a difficult condition to treat due to its heterogeneity between patients, which therefore requires specialized, individualized and focused care, from a diverse team of healthcare providers including endocrinology, dermatology, gynecology and fertility experts to treat PCOS comprehensively.

The effectiveness of employing mixed methods in the treatment of PCOS, placing a priority on combining cognitive behavior therapy with lifestyle modifications, including energy-restricted diets and exercise with lifestyle modifications will strive to improve the quality of life in diagnosed PCOS patients.

The lack of recognition of the diverse features of PCOS culminates in delayed diagnosis and dissatisfaction. When individuals are exposed to multiple providers, it is less likely that a PCOS diagnosis will go unseen. The sooner PCOS is identified and treatment is initiated, the faster the quality of life and prognosis of the syndrome will improve. The perceived benefits of multidisciplinary clinics globally include improved patient satisfaction, greater weight loss, improved body image and better management of PCOS from a holistic standpoint, when compared to single care providers.

In this context, Rathimed under the guidance of Dr. Praveena has launched an EXCLUSIVE PCOS CLINIC WITH MULTIDISIPLINARY evidence-based guideline for assessment and management of PCOS, addressing psychological, metabolic and reproductive features of PCOS. A full evaluation for PCOS at this clinic includes report of menstrual irregularities, clinical signs of hirsutism, ovarian ultrasound, fasting glucose and lipid profile (HDL-high-density lipopotein, LDL-low-sensity lipoprotein and triglycerides) and fertility related issues.

Highlights of the PCOS exclusive clinic

  • Multidisciplinary approach for holistic care
  • PCOS expert clinician
  • Lifestyle coach
  • Diet advice
  • Specialised dermatologist
  • Psychologist