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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS Malaysia)
PCOS Meaning: What is it?
The term PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) is a hormonal medical condition in which it affects the ovaries of a woman. For the uninitiated, ovaries are the organ which releases or produces eggs.
This medical condition is when the female body produces an overwhelming amount of androgens or male hormones. In other words, women encounter an imbalance of hormones and metabolism which affects their appearance and health.
Every woman will have a different set of PCOS symptoms, but generally, there are some common ones which most women would face. Some may face only one or two symptoms while others may experience all of the symptoms.
These symptoms would usually show up around the late teen years or early 20s. Below are the common PCOS symptoms:
- Missed or irregular periods
- Infertility whereby you have difficulty in getting pregnant
- Hair loss (on the head)
- Acne, oily skin or skin issues such as excess skin or darkened skin (neck/armpits)
- Increase in hair growth on parts of the body such as face, arms, etc.
- Mood swings or changes
- Regular pelvic pain
- Weight gain
What causes PCOS?
There is no exact cause as to why women experience PCOS. Below are some of the causes:
- Inflammation of the body: This refers to the production of white blood cells’ that are made to fight against infections. When the polycystic ovaries produce more androgens due to the inflammation, blood vessel or heart issues will arise.
- Resistance to insulin: Insulin is a type of hormone found in the pancreas which enables the body to make use of sugar from the foods you consume in order to have energy. When your body is resistant to insulin, your pancreas would produce even more insulin to compensate for it , which triggers the ovaries to produce even more male hormones as well.
- Genetics: They say certain genes play a role in this condition.
What happens to your body when you have PCOS?
So, what exactly happens to your body when you have a higher level of androgen levels? Below are some of the common ways on how your body is affected:
1.Lower Metabolic Rates
It has been said that many women tend to become overweight or suffer from obesity. Thus, this leads to various health conditions such as high blood pressure or sugar, low good (HDL) cholesterol and high bad (LDL) cholesterol. All of these results in diabetes, stroke or heart diseases.
Ovaries is what enables pregnancy. So if you have PCOS, you won’t be ovulating regularly, which reduces the chance of getting pregnant as the chance of the eggs fertilising with the sperm is quite slim.
3. Mental Health Issues
Women who experience PCOS tend to suffer from depression and anxiety due to the various hormonal changes going on in the body which affects the physical appearance (such as excessive hair growth in unwanted areas).
4. Uterine (Endometrial) Cancer
This type of cancer starts in the uterus, which is caused by your uterus lining that doesn’t shed enough while ovulating. When your uterus lining is too thick, the cancer will start to form.
PCOS Diet & Lifestyle Tips: The Do’s & Dont’s
A healthy lifestyle is key when it comes to battling PCOS. Here are some of the recommended ways on how you can live your life while suffering from PCOS:
1. Exercise on a regular basis
This is the only reason why having more testosterone in your body is advantageous for women suffering from PCOS. Since testosterone helps us to build muscles, you will be able to increase your muscle mass with ease when you exercise.
Since the metabolic rate will be affected, when you build more muscle mass, it would help you to increase your metabolic rate as well so you can burn more calories.
Consider getting in more movements by taking the stairs or parking your car far away. These may be small, but all of these add up to your overall health.
2. Maintain a good diet
Increase the intake of vegetables and fruits! This helps you to maintain an anti-inflammatory diet because one of the main causes of inflammation would be inflammation that happens in our body. For instance, the below are great to reduce inflammation:
- Olive oil
- Strawberries or blueberries
Other than that, you should avoid highly processed foods – the key is to consume natural, unprocessed foods on a daily basis. Instead, here are some of the food to include in your daily diet:
- Sweet potatoes
- Brussels sprouts
The common foods that you should avoid would be:
- Refined carbohydrates (such as muffins or white bread)
- Desserts high in sugar
- Food made with white flour
3. Manage your stress levels better
One of lifestyle changes you must make would be to manage your stress as high stress levels would increase your blood pressure while increasing insulin levels as well, causing potential weight gain. Consider taking up meditation or yoga to reduce stress.
PCOS Treatment Malaysia
Other than making lifestyle changes, PCOS can also be treated medically. PCOS is treated in clinics or hospitals in Malaysia, and it also depends on your goals (such as trying to get pregnant, lose weight etc).
Here are some of the common medical treatments for PCOS:
1. Birth control pills
Birth control pills usually come in the form of a vaginal ring, patch or pill. When you take progestin on a daily basis, you will be able to regulate your ovulation, maintain a healthy hormone balance and prevent excessive hair growth.
2. Hair removal
You could either make use of laser hair removal, electrolysis or consider a drug (must be prescribed) called Eflornithine/Vaniqa cream which is said to slow down the rate of hair growth.
Metformin is actually a drug which is known to treat patients with type 2 diabetes because it helps to regulate insulin levels. Hence, it would be beneficial for PCOS as well.
Clomiphene is a type of fertility drug that is used to help women get pregnant.
PCOS Support Group Malaysia
Now if you are looking to help those suffering from PCOS or if you happen to have PCOS yourself, there are a couple of support groups in Malaysia.
The Key Takeaway
Although there is a direct solution or cure to getting rid of PCOS, the symptoms can be managed effectively with the right methods.