Silent epidemic unveiled: Impact of PCOD or PCOS on Kashmiri women
Health Jammu And Kashmir Opinion

Silent epidemic unveiled: Impact of PCOD or PCOS on Kashmiri women

Polycystic Ovary Disease (PCOD) or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) has silently unfurled its impact in the picturesque valley of Kashmir. These conditions cast a growing shadow on the reproductive health of women beyond the serene exterior.

Between 2013 and 2015, recent studies showed that out of 3300 eligible women aged 15-40, 28.9% met the National Institute of Health (NIH) criteria for PCOS while 33.3% fell under the Androgen Excess-PCOS (AE-PCOS) criteria. Urgent nationwide research is needed to validate these findings and understand the true extent of PCOD or PCOS prevalence among Kashmiri women.

Studies showcasing health hazards of PCOS

The study by the Department of Endocrinology at SKIMS goes beyond genetic factors to highlight lifestyle and dietary habits as significant triggers. Modern trends, especially increased junk food consumption, have emerged as contributors to the rise of PCOS among Kashmiri women. Understanding the role of dietary choices emphasizes the need for lifestyle interventions.

The study measures the prevalence and warns of the lasting effects of untreated PCOS, as published in the International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics in 2020. The risk of infertility, diabetes, heart attacks, and high blood pressure were highlighted by recent research conducted by the Biochemistry Department at the University of Kashmir. Timely detection and intervention are important to overcome these risks.

A conscious approach is needed

The escalating rate of PCOS among women in Kashmir necessitates a comprehensive approach to address this silent epidemic globally. Raising awareness is about more than numbers alone; it should involve an understanding of societal, cultural, and individual factors contributing to PCOD and PCOS. Encouraging openness and creating an enabling environment where women prioritize their reproductive health cannot be overemphasized.

Reproductive health discussions are suppressed in conservative societies. The notion that seeing a gynecologist is a taboo makes treating PCOS difficult. It should be noted that seeking medical help should not be seen as anything disgraceful; hence, the first step to dealing with this stigma is breaking this silence.

It is true that often, half of the women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome are not diagnosed until they come face to face with challenges like infertility or unexplained weight gain. Recognizable signs include irregular periods, excess facial and body hair, male-patterned hair loss, severe acne, and weight gain. Hormonal imbalance driven by overproduction of androgens, decreased progesterone levels, and increased insulin is the cause of these symptoms.

Risk factors need to be assessed

Understanding the risk factors for PCOS is essential. There is a genetic predisposition; this means that you might be at risk if your mother or sister has PCOS. In different families, the syndrome varies. Another possible complication factor is psychological stress: affected women are more prone to mood problems such as depression and anxiety. The symptoms are further fuelled by high insulin levels which escalate due to factors such as weight, inactivity, or unhealthy diet.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) frequently involves difficulty losing weight and additionally gaining it back. An association between weight problems and PCOS could lead to a quick diagnosis in women with irregular periods. It’s important to understand that symptoms related to body size can vary greatly among women with PCOS; similarly, not all women suffering from PCOS have notable issues with their weight.

Doctors do physical examinations to diagnose PCOS in most cases. These healthcare providers evaluate hormone and glucose levels through blood tests, medical history, family history, weight, blood pressure, and physical examinations. Pelvic exams and ultrasonography can help one to know the extent of the disease.

Treatment plan

Although there is no cure for PCOS, symptom management greatly improves health and quality of life. Treatment can involve medications for acne and hair growth, infertility treatments, or lifestyle changes that aid in weight loss. If not treated, PCOS increases risks associated with high blood pressure, high cholesterol as well as insulin resistance which are risk factors for heart disease and diabetes.

With proper treatment, however, PCOS can be well-managed throughout life. Other women experience more regular menstrual cycles closer to menopause thereby emphasizing the need for continuous proactive care.

Call to action

  1. Raise awareness about the complexities of PCOD or PCOS among Kashmiri women;
  2. Foster an understanding of these two conditions;
  3. Help women prioritize their reproductive health without hesitation or shame.

We should make a commitment towards such approaches as demystifying discussions on reproductive health, instituting lifestyle interventions, and enhancing medical research would lead to a better tomorrow for Kashmiri women as well as other societies across the globe.

The journey to understanding, managing, and ultimately conquering PCOD and PCOS is a shared responsibility that spans communities, healthcare providers, and policymakers alike.

Mehwish Hilal

[email protected]

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