PCOS: One In Five Indian Women Suffers From PCOS



Published on: 22-Nov-2022


10 min read


Updated on : 02-Nov-2023




Sana Fakir


PCOS: One In Five Indian Women Suffers From PCOS

PCOS: One In Five Indian Women Suffers From PCOS

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Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), an unsettling consequence of the increasingly sedentary lifestyles that have become the norm in our cities, affects one in every five women in India. 

Unfortunately, doctors and researchers warn that PCOS is becoming a more commonmedical condition, with most of those affected women between the ages of 15 and 30.

So, what exactly is PCOS? Well, let us break this down!

It is essentially a metabolic, reproductive, and endocrine disorder linked to lifestyle choices that can harm fertility and cause other related problems if left untreated. The cause of PCOS is unknown.

However, it is ametabolic disorder  metabolic disorder  with several underlying factors. This syndrome's confluence of genetics, diet, lifestyle, and environment results in hormonal disturbances that cause PCOS symptoms.

Women with PCOS have many cysts that expand their ovaries, giving the disorder its name. Unreleased eggs that remain in the ovaries are what produce these cysts. They can result in hormonal problems even if they are not inherently hazardous. 

To understand more about PCOS, let us dive deep into this.

Table Of Contents

1. What Happens In PCOS?

2. How Is It Diagnosed?

3. Factors Contributing To PCOS

4. Why Is PCOS On The Rise In Indian Women?

5. Recommended Treatment

6. Dietitian’s Recommendations

7. The Final Say

8. FAQs

What Happens In PCOS?

WHAT HAPPEN IN PCOSPCOS symptoms differ from person to person.  Some situations could include irregular menstrual cycles, hirsutism, obesity, and hair loss. While in the long term, PCOS can also cause diabetes, heart issues, and even cancer in later life (especially endometrial cancer).

Increased testosterone production, sadness, and trouble getting pregnant or being unable to get pregnant are a few possible underlying signs. 

Additionally, PCOS increases the chance of major health issues like difficulty in insulin management of type 2 diabetes (due to increased insulin resistance), uterine cancer, or an increased risk of a heart attack if left. untreated for a protracted length of time. However, these symptoms are not always constant.

How Is It Diagnosed?

PCOS can be diagnosed via ultrasound, or hormone profile testing can also be done to examine oestrogen levels, luteinising hormones, follicle-stimulating hormones, and other factors.

Factors Contributing To PCOS

Women are more susceptible to the endocrine condition known as PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Generally speaking, this illness is characterised by an imbalance of sex hormones (oestrogen and progesterone), which causes the development of several tiny cysts in the ovaries. PCOS symptoms include sadness, irregular menstrual cycles, and acne.

Although the exact causes of PCOS are unknown, experts believe that the following factors can contribute to the condition's onset:

1. Increased Insulin Secretion

Women who have insulin resistance may develop PCOS because their bodies can not utilise insulin efficiently, which causes the pancreas to secrete more insulin. 

In turn, this makes the ovaries generate more androgen (the hormone associated with the male sex), which makes it challenging for the ovaries to ovulate.

2. Reduce Inflammation

Your body's WBCs develop immunity to infections through an inflammatory process. As lower levels of inflammation encourage polycystic ovaries, which generate more androgens. 

3. Genetic Factor

If you have a family history of PCOS, you are more likely to develop it because the disease is linked to your genes.

Why Is PCOS On The Rise In Indian Women?

According to a PCOS Society study, one in five women in India has polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a prevalent endocrine system illness among women of reproductive age. Teenage females make up six out of ten women with PCOS who are diagnosed.

In 1935, PCOS was first identified. Even now, the condition is not widely known in India, where it frequently stays unnoticed for years. It is believed that 10 million women globally suffer from this illness.

A study by the endocrinology and metabolism department of the AIIMS found that 20–25% of Indian women of reproductive age have PCOS. Although 60% of PCOS-afflicted females are obese, 35-50% have fatty livers. 

Approximately 70% of people have insulin resistance, 60% to 70% have elevated testosterone levels, and 40% to 60% have glucose intolerance.

According to studies, PCOS was present in 22.5% of women in Maharashtra and 9.13% of women in South India. Due to the disorder's diverse symptoms and severity, many parts are still poorly understood. Women with PCOS usually have higher insulin levels than usual.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has begun a nationwide survey due to increased PCOS prevalence among women and adolescent girls. This illness can cause infertility and other long-term health problems if not treated or detected, making it risky.

Preventing health issues requires early discovery and treatment. There are now many more teenage females with PCOS than there were ten years ago, and numerous examples exist. Poor diets, unhealthy lifestyles, and lack of exercise are the main causes of PCOS.

You Can Also Read: How Is Urban Lifestyle Leading To PCOD And PCOS?

Recommended Treatment

Unfortunately, there is no cure for PCOS. However, by reducing symptoms, it can be effectively controlled. Exercise and a balanced diet should be the main priorities for PCOS women to control their menstrual cycle and lower blood sugar levels.

By reducing blood sugar levels and slowing digestion, high-fibre diets can aid in the fight against insulin resistance. PCOS-afflicted women might gain from this. 

Excellent sources of fibre include broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts, red leaf lettuce, green and red peppers, tomatoes, spinach, almonds and walnuts, olive oil, fruits like blueberries and strawberries, and fatty fish like salmon that are high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Although they lack fibre, lean protein sources like tofu, poultry, and fish are satisfying and a smart dietary choice for PCOS sufferers.

They should consume five little meals instead of three large ones to help with digestion and weight maintenance.

To help a woman with PCOS ovulate, fertility medications may be recommended. However, doctors might recommend birth control tablets if a woman does not want to get pregnant.

The suggested action is to stop excessive hair growth and reduce acne by taking anti-androgens. While many women have been told to exercise regularly (at least 30 to 45 minutes per day, five to six days per week).

An improvement in symptoms, hormonal balance, and menstrual cycle regularity can be seen with weight loss of 5–10%. A comprehensive evaluation, timely intervention, and appropriate treatment are necessary for PCOS in women, especially teenagers.

Other treatments include metformin to manage symptoms, hormonal pills and oral contraceptives to control menstrual cycles, and anti-androgens to prevent excessive hair growth (for hirsutism). Laparoscopy is sometimes used to perform a little surgical procedure to puncture the cysts.

Dietitian’s Recommendation 

As previously mentioned, PCOS cannot be cured, but it can be readily managed with a good diet and regular exercise. To better understand and treat PCOS, I advise women with PCOS to pay attention to their health, get regular examinations, and keep a record of their medical information, food, and exercise regimen.

-Dietitian Lavina Chauhan

The Final Say

Although it is not life-threatening, PCOS is one of the most common metabolic illnesses among Indian women and, if addressed, can lead to significant health problems. 

It is crucial to promote healthy lifestyles, the necessity of regular exercise and enhanced awareness programmes on PCOS to offer a comprehensive solution to this issue.

The most crucial thing for PCOS-afflicted women is to maintain their composure. All you need to do to control PCOS and be aware of and observant of your condition.


1. What proportion of women has PCOS?

With 6% to 12% of women of reproductive age (up to 5 million) affected, PCOS is one of the most prevalent reasons for female infertility.

2. How many PCOS cases exist in India?

Depending on the population investigated and the diagnostic criteria employed, PCOS prevalence in India ranges from 3.7 to 22.5 per cent.

3. Does PCOS get worse with age?

After menopause, the reproductive hormones in women with PCOS differ from those without PCOS. Most importantly, as women with PCOS age, inflammatory and metabolic parameters deteriorate, increasing the likelihood of lifelong health problems beyond menopause, particularly the chance of developing CVD and type 2 diabetes.

4. Why is PCOS not treatable?

We should not anticipate having a single long-term effective medication that will cure this widespread illness because the pathophysiology of PCOS, which has a significant genetic component, at least in some cases, is not entirely understood.

5. At what age does PCOS stop?

A person can have PCOS for the rest of their life. Menopause may come on an average of 2-4 years later in a person with PCOS than in a person without the condition. According to research, patients with PCOS continue to have different levels of sex hormones than those without, even after menopause.

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