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Case Studies

1 in 15 women in India are affected with PCOS: In many cases leading to infertility issues

Treatment profile

A young woman, with multiple personal and health problems approached Dr Aviva Pinto Rodrigues, Nova IVF Fertility, Basaveshwaranagar, Bengaluru, for her fertility treatment. Here is how her dream of becoming a mother came true while she overcame all the hurdles with the help of a specialist.

Padmavathi, a 28-year-old woman from a small village in North Karnataka was married at the age of 16 to a man who was 12 years older than her. She was ostracised, because even after 12 years of marriage, she had not been able to conceive.

Padmavathi had her first period at age 12. She never had a regular cycle and it got to a point where she got her periods only after taking medication. As the years passed, she developed hirsutism (excessive body hair in areas where it is normally absent or minimal, such as on the chin, chest, face or body) and acne. During this time, she started getting depressed and ended up over-eating resulting in obesity issues.

Consultation & treatment at Nova IVF Fertility

Padmavathi heard about Nova IVF Fertility from a neighbour’s relative, who had been successfully treated at Nova. She gathered courage and walked into one of the centres in Bangalore. She was overweight and hirsute but determined to have a child at any cost. Upon examination, it was clear that all she had was PCOS, where she was not forming and releasing oocytes on her own. Post further investigation, she was put on medication to reduce her insulin resistance. This is something that is commonly seen in patients with PCOS.

Dr Aviva Pinto Rodrigues, IVF specialist, encouraged her to lose at least 5-10 % of her body weight and was asked to return to the clinic, with her husband. 5 months later, after having lost 12 kilos, she returned to the clinic. This time around, feeling a lot more confident and happy, and for the first time in many years, she had 2 menstrual cycles on her own.

At this point the couple was advised to go forward with an IVF/ICSI.  She underwent a cycle of IVF for which multiple eggs were retrieved, and embryos were formed and frozen. In a subsequent cycle, 2 embryos were transferred, and she conceived, but ended up with an early miscarriage, a common complication associated with PCOS.

Finally, in the 3rd frozen embryo transfer cycle, she conceived again and today she is the proud mother of a healthy baby.

Common ovarian disorders in women

The IVF specialist, Dr Aviva Pinto Rodrigues says, around 10% of Indian women, including many young women, are affected with PCOS. Modern-day lifestyle, unhealthily dietary habits and lack of physical activity has been a key contributor to this rising trend. This also leads to weight gain in many cases. For women planning to conceive, maintaining an optimal body weight is advised, ensuring that their body mass index (BMI) lies within the range of 18.5 – 22.9.

Today, PCOS affects as many as 1 out of 15 women. Often the symptoms begin in the teen years. Early diagnosis and treatment can help control the symptoms and prevent long term complications, such as infertility, heart disease and diabetes. Normally, the ovaries make a small amount of male sex hormones (androgens). For women suffering from PCOS, the ovaries start producing more of this hormone. This may cause the body to stop ovulating, develop acne, and grow extra facial or body hair and in some cases, also cause baldness.

PCOS affects 8-10% of women in the reproductive age group, with a large number being impacted with infertility.  A lot of adolescents also present these signs of hirsutism, obesity and acne that can be psychologically distressing to a person who’s undergoing a treatment.

PCOS can be considered as a lifestyle disease, and the long-term effects called metabolic syndrome can be devastating. However, with proper management and lifestyle changes, it can be managed and treated. The key is early diagnosis and treatment.

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