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October 31, 2020

Fact or Fiction: Understanding PCOS

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS is a common gynaecological disorder which, according to the New Scientist, affects one in five women worldwide. Symptoms of PCOS include infrequent menstrual cycles, hair loss, excessive body hair growth, weight gain, depression, acne and hyperpigmentation.

Due to its myriad of symptoms, many often turn to Google for answers. However, oftentimes the advice given may lead to more harm than good.

Here to separate fact from fiction is Dato’ Dr. Zamri Abdul Rahim, an expert in the field of reproductive medicine with over 20 years of clinical experience in Obstetrics & Gynaecology. A Consultant at the recently rebranded Avisena Specialist Hospital he weighs in on the common statements tied to PCOS.

Statement 1: Only Overweight Women have PCOS Fiction- All patients, regardless of size, are diagnosed following the Rotterdam criteria that looks at: -Hyperandrogenism (excessive levels of male sex hormones such as testosterone) – Ovulatory Dysfunction (irregular period cycles and not ovulating) – Polycystic Ovary (excessive follicles) If two of the above criteria are found, they will be diagnosed accordingly.

Statement 2: Weight Loss is the Cure to PCOS Fiction- Excessive weight gain is caused by high testosterone from the ovaries resulting in a spike in insulin levels. We cannot cure PCOS, but regular exercise and a balanced diet can control the symptoms.

Statement 3: You Cannot Get Pregnant with PCOS Fiction- PCOS does lead to infertility however for those trying to conceive can still seek treatment. These include birth control pills to regulate your period, inositol, lipoic acid and metformin. Now that you know the facts, Dr. Zamri advice is to treat PCOS at an early stage as it would affect your metabolic syndrome as you get older, resulting in diabetes, hypertension and cancer.

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