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PCOS on the alarming rise in Kashmir: Experts

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS has assumed an alarming status in Kashmir as some experts warned that nearly 30 percent of adolescent females are facing the risk of infertility and other complications.

Post by on Thursday, May 27, 2021

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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS has assumed an alarming status in Kashmir as some experts warned that nearly 30 percent of adolescent females are facing the risk of infertility and other complications.

The major trigger factor for the emergence of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is the poor lifestyle and unhealthy dietary habits among young females.

“The prevalence of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome in females has seen a steep increase over a decade now,” Dr Rizwana Habib, a leading gynecologist told Rising Kashmir.

“The main reason behind this is the sedentary lifestyle among the females and increased consumption of junk food,” she said.

Dr Habib claimed that most of the adolescent females in Kashmir who visit a gynecologist are daigonised multiple cysts in ovaries.

 “This is a major reason why girls visit us. Later, the condition can lead to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) in them if they don’t follow a healthy lifestyle and proper treatment,” she said.

According to her, the hormonal imbalance following the emergence of PCOS can lead to obesity, metabolic disorders, hypertension, diabetes, and other complications among women.

“Lifelong ailments can also emerge among the females with PCOS if the underlying pathophysiology like pre-diabetes or pre-hypertension is neglected,” she said. 

The long-term ailments include gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced hypertension, poor obstetric outcome, risks for cardiovascular diseases and endometrial proliferative diseases, she said.

PCOS is a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age. This has become a major public health concern over the years as a large number of females reported having complications especially infertility following multiple cysts.

The main symptoms include irregular periods, male features and excessive weight besides having physiological implications.

As per the latest research, the prevalence of PCOS is high among Kashmiri women and is probably the highest in a published series globally.

The study titled “Prevalence of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) among reproductive-age women from Kashmir valley” says that 35.3 percent of the selected females were diagnosed with PCOS.

“Out of a total of 3300 eligible women, 964 women were evaluated in this study. Among these, 446 (46.4 percent) were identified as “probable PCOS” cases. Out of 171 probable PCOS women who completed all biochemical, hormonal, and sonographic assessments, 35.3 percent qualified for a diagnosis of PCOS,” says the study.

The study was conducted at the Department of Endocrinology, SKIMS, headed by Professor Ashraf Ganai.

It shows the “prevalence of PCOS is high among Kashmiri women and is probably the highest in a published series globally.”  The study published in the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics in 2020 estimated the prevalence of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) among women of reproductive age across educational institutions in Kashmir.

Another research conducted by the Biochemistry Department of the University of Kashmir found that uncontrolled or untreated PCOS can raise the risk of infertility and other ailments like diabetes, heart disease.

“Females who follow a poor lifestyle, consume excessive junk food, no or low physical activity, more intake of carbohydrates and high-stress levels get affected with PCOS,” the study revealed.

It also discovered that lack of awareness increases the problem among the affected women.

Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, the country’s leading medical research institute too pointed out some crucial outcomes about PCOS.

It says the PCOS has heterogeneous representation and most women suffered in ignorance and isolation.

“They hardly have any information about the disease and were dependent on the internet as their main source of information. The routine treatment for PCOS is comparatively expensive and less effective.  Poor lifestyle is a major reason for the rising prevalence of the disease,” it said.

According to the PGI study, weight reduction has a comprehensive impact in controlling other health problems like insulin resistance, diabetes, hypertension, etc.

“With the weight reduction, there was also improvement in the symptoms and the test reports. Probiotic supplementation had an overall additional benefit in reducing the abdominal fat, LH: FSH ratio, total testosterone, LPS level, menstrual regularity and also preserving the gut motility. Thus, it can be used as a new PCOS treatment modality in the future,” it said.


Managing the symptoms

Diet changes

Eating the right foods and avoiding certain ingredients may help you manage your symptoms. A nourishing diet can help regulate your hormones and your menstrual cycle. Eating processed, heavily preserved foods can contribute to inflammation and insulin resistance.

Balance carb and protein intake

Carbohydrates and protein both impact your energy and hormone levels. Eating protein stimulates your body to produce insulin. Unprocessed, high-carb foods can improve insulin sensitivity. Instead of trying a low-carb diet, focus on getting enough healthy protein.

Aim for anti-inflammatory

PCOS is described by one study as low-level chronic inflammation. Adding anti-inflammatory foods to your diet can help ease your symptoms.

Up your iron intake

Some women with PCOS experience heavy bleeding during their period. This can result in iron deficiency or anemia. If your doctor has diagnosed you with either condition, talk with them about how you can up your iron intake. They may recommend adding iron-rich foods such as spinach, eggs, and broccoli to your diet.

Consider soy products

Before adding more soy to your diet, ask your doctor about the latest research. Soy acts like estrogen in your body. This might help balance hormones if you have PCOS. But there’s also evidence that adding soy to your diet could disrupt your endocrine system.

Combined vitamin D and calcium

Vitamin D is a hormone that’s vital to your endocrine system. Vitamin D deficiency is common in women with PCOS. Vitamin D and calcium may improve irregular periods and help you ovulate.


Probiotics don’t just help with your digestion and gut health. They can play an important role in treating PCOS. They can also reduce inflammation and regulate sex hormones like androgen and estrogen.

Consider taking probiotic supplements and eating probiotic foods, like kimchi and kombucha.

Maintain a healthy weight

Maintaining a healthy weight can help decrease insulin resistance, regulate your period, and reduce your risk of conditions associated with PCOS.

If you’re overweight, some  studies suggest gradual weight loss through a low-calorie diet as a promising first-line treatment for PCOS.

Balance your exercise

Exercise is important for maintaining a healthy weight. But too much exercise can disrupt your hormones, so talk with your doctor about a healthy balance.

Gentle, low-impact exercises like yoga or Pilates can be practiced for longer durations. Swimming and light aerobics are also recommended. High-intensity interval training and long-distance running may also help improve symptoms of PCOS.

Practice good sleep hygiene

Sleep affects your stress levels and helps regulate cortisol to balance your hormones. But sleep disturbances are twice as common for women with PCOS.

Reduce stress

Reducing stress can regulate cortisol. Many of the strategies mentioned above, such as yoga, getting enough sleep, and cutting caffeine, can contribute to lower stress levels.

Taking walks outside and creating space in your life for relaxation and self-care can also reduce how stressed you feel. (Healthline)

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