Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, also called PCOS is a very common gynaecological problem that 8 out of 10 girls or females face now-a-days. In simple words, it means an imbalance in the female sex hormones.
In an interview with this writer, senior Guwahati based gynaecologist Dr Chanakya Das said that one of the common causes of PCOS may be the lack of Vitamin D in the body, which plays a significant role in maintaining hormonal balance and is also important for ovulation, promoting a regular menstrual cycle. Vitamin D also corrects some metabolic disorders like high insulin levels and high cholesterol levels in the blood.
Dr Das emphasized that some symptoms like fatigue, depression, frequent illness and any kind of prolonged infections, which are often overlooked and ignored can also indicate the presence of low levels of Vitamin D in the body.
"The best source of Vitamin D is taking a sunbath early morning for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Other sources of Vitamin D are mushrooms, egg yolks, fatty fish, cod liver oil and some vitamin D tablets", said Dr Das. He also explained in detail about why and how this gynaecological problem occurs.
The ovaries are a part of the female reproductive organ along with the fallopian tubes, uterus and vagina. The ovaries contain the lifetime supply of eggs. These eggs are immature and are stored in tiny fluid-filled structures called follicles. The pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain, produces hormones that direct the functions of the ovaries. Each month the pituitary gland secrets Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) into the bloodstream.
After these hormones reach the ovaries, several hundred immature eggs start to mature, expanding the size of the follicles. As the eggs mature, the follicles secrete estrogen, the main female sex hormone. Once the amount of estrogen in the blood reaches a certain level, the pituitary gland sends a surge of luteinizing hormones to the ovaries, causing the most mature follicle to open and release its egg in a process called ovulation. The free egg then travels through the fallopian tube where it awaits fertilization. The remaining immature follicles and eggs dissolve. If the egg is not fertilized, the egg and the lining of the uterus are shed during the next menstrual period.
One of the common causes of PCOS may be the lack of Vitamin D in the body, which plays a significant role in maintaining hormonal balance and is also important for ovulation, promoting a regular menstrual cycle.
If one has PCOs, the pituitary gland may release abnormally high amounts of luteinizing hormones into the bloodstream, disrupting the normal menstrual cycle as a result the follicles do not mature and ovulation does not occur, which can further lead to infertility.
Along with the issue of infertility, there can also be irregular menstruation (as an initial symptom), which can later be a cause of endometrial cancer. The insulin resistance in the body might even give rise to Type 2 Diabetes in future along with some cardiovascular diseases.
PCOS can be characterized by obesity, infertility and increased facial hair growth. In this context, it can be said that androgen, which is a male hormone is present in the female body to some extent but in this case, it becomes so high that it becomes the cause of facial hair growth and oily skin.
As the polycystic ovarian syndrome is also associated with lifestyle, so it is suggested to maintain a healthy lifestyle by including exercise and walking which can help in weight management.
Speaking about its treatment, the requirement of the patient is the first thing that is observed. If the patient simply wants to regularize her period, she is generally put on some oral contraceptives after going through necessary tests. In some other cases, if the lady wants to conceive, then she's put into fertility treatment.