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Do you suffer with polycystic ovary syndrome? New research hopes to help you

Up to one in five women are estimated to be affected by the condition.

Image: Shutterstock/Viktoria Gavrilina

THE LONG-TERM effects of an ovary syndrome that is estimated to affect up to one in five woman can be managed by health and lifestyle changes, according to new research.

Patient information published today by the UK’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists says that the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can, for many women, be reduced by healthy eating and regular exercise.

The research shows that medication has not been proven to be any more effective than lifestyle changes.

PCOS is a common condition that can affect a woman’s menstrual cycle, fertility, hormones and aspects of her appearance.

Estimates of the number of women affected by the condition vary widely, ranging from 2% to 26%.

The most common symptoms associated with PCOS are irregular periods or no periods at all, an increase in facial or body hair, a loss of hair on the head, oily skin, acne and being overweight.

Woman with PCOS are also at higher risk of complications during pregnancy.

The long-term effects of the condition include diabetes, high blood pressure, womb cancer, snoring, fatigue, depression and mood swings.

Geeta Kumar, chair of the Royal College’s patient information committee, said that PCOS tends to run in families, though its exact cause is unknown.

Women who think they have symptoms associated with the condition should speak to a doctor about adjusting their diet and exercise to reduce its long-term risks, she said.

Cath Broderick, chair of the university’s women’s network, said that a small amount of weight loss can have a significant impact on the symptoms of PCOS.

It decreases the risk of insulin resistance and diabetes, reduces risk of heart problems and cancer of the womb, improves problems with acne and excess hair, and increases the chance of becoming pregnant.

Read: A study which claimed eating chocolate helps you lose weight was an elaborate hoax >

Read: Infertility can be utterly devastating for a man – don’t allow him to suffer in silence > 

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Catherine Healy

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