Relation of PCOS with Thyroid - Medicircle

Learn the interconnection of PCOS with thyroid. Know more about the two changes that can help you lower the risk of both PCOS and thyroid.

Dr. Shivani Gour is an IVF specialist, obstetrician, and gynaecologist having twenty years of experience as a specialist. She is the founder & Director of SCI Healthcare and SCI IVF Centre. Her Special awards and recognition are Rashtra Gaurav Samman-2015 & Rashtra Rattan Samman from Minister of Women & Child Welfare, Member of Editorial Board of International Journal of Reproduction, Contraception, Obstetrics and Gynaecology (IJRCOG), In the Limca Book of records for surrogacy public awareness organised by Indian Society for Third Party Assisted Reproduction (INSTAR).

Excessive hair growth in PCOS

Dr Gour begins, “PCOS affects more than 7 million women worldwide. Within this 10 to 15% of women experience excessive hair growth. This is known as hirsutism. This is quite common in PCOS. In fact, it is one of the ways in which PCOS is diagnosed. The other two signs of PCOS are finding tiny cysts in the ovaries under ultrasound and getting their periods delayed by 45 days.”

“Along with these two, the third sign is excessive hair growth. This is also known as hyperandrogenism. In simpler terms, this indicates that the male hormone has increased in the woman’s body. Many label this as hormone imbalance. Male hormone (testosterone) is present in women in some quantity. But when this increases we call it hyperandrogenism.”

“This makes hair grow in areas like above the lips and near the chin. The hair that grows here is very characteristic with it being dark, shorter and thick in nature. This is hirsutism and it is very common in PCOS. There are many simple treatments for this. For instance, there are tablets that are given by the government for free. If people are hesitant about the tablets then we advise them to bleach, wax, thread or use laser therapy.”

“Here they also ask us whether the problem will be repeated. Over a period of time, the number of cysts reduces, especially after the age of 35 and 40. But before you reach that age there will be many problems that you will face, for instance, depression. The biggest problems in PCOS are being mentally conscious, feeling depressed and having low self-esteem. For this, we counsel them and encourage them to understand that this is very normal in PCOS.”

One in ten women suffer from POCS and it is not something to be scared of. With the advancement in tech, there are many tablets, pills and creams that can be used. So there is no need to be scared of this.”

Thyroid and PCOS

Dr. Gour says, “In a large survey of India it was revealed that hypothyroid without PCOS was present in 7% of all women. Whereas hypothyroid in PCOS women was around 22% to 27% present. This leaves no doubt that women with PCOS are at a slightly higher risk of developing thyroid. This is also known as subclinical hypothyroidism or autoimmune antibodies. This means that our body is carrying certain cells that are attacking our thyroid gland. Due to this, the thyroid levels go down and the body is in need of taking thyroid hormones externally.”

“Then the question arises of whether hypothyroidism came first or PCOS. The answer to this is still not found. But one thing is for certain that these 2 are interconnected. When the hormone estrogen rises in PCOS, which is caused by the small cysts, it also increases the chance of thyroid. So when you consult your doctor for this, they will recommend simple to follow dietary changes and might put you on medication for a while.”

Importance of healthy life in PCOS 

Dr. Gour explains. “There is a famous saying that goes ‘Let thy food be thy medicine.’ This quote is very true for PCOS. Controlling PCOS is in your hands. The food that you put in your stomach has the power to heal you. It is possible only with a changed lifestyle.”

“This is easier said than done. PCOS is a life-long companion. To treat it you must reduce your intake of carbohydrates and maintain your weight in the ideal BMI range.”

“At the same time maintain a low glycemic index diet, like Mediterranean food. By just following these tips, you would lower your PCOS symptoms by 90%. You also do not need to shed a lot of weight. If you lose around 5% of your current weight, that alone would help you lower the PCOS symptoms. So aim to reduce your weight by 5% to 10% and include daily walks of around 20 to 30 minutes.”

“PCOS can increase the risk of diabetes, and cholesterol and can damage your lipid profile that can damage your heart. It can also increase the risk of stroke. PCOS can cause obesity, irregular periods and hair growth.”

Benefits of losing weight in PCOS

Dr. Gour mentions, “If you lose weight while having PCOS then the majority of your issues will be solved. A lot of research has happened on this. Keto diet, DASH diet, intermittent fasting and other types of diet have been followed and the results are evidence themselves.”

“One thing that works is that you have to eat 250 - 300 calories less than what you used to have. For instance, a chocolate bar has 250 calories, so skip that. Another thing that is recommended is to include 30 mins of exercise in the form of brisk walking.”

“Also pay attention to the glycemic index. Food items like rice and potato, junk food and processed food have a lot of carbohydrates, so stay away from them. Instead eat mung sprouts, idli and dosas. If you crave a snack then have chana, mattar or rajma along with salsa. Nowadays you also get PCOS special green tea. I have seen an aisle dedicated to PCOS foods.”

Edited By: Priyal Shah

Contributed By: Dr. Shivani Gour, Founder and Director, SCI Healthcare and SCI IVF

Tags : #Healthcare-Trending-Topics #DrShivaniGour #SCIHealthcare #SCIIVF #PCOS #PCOD #pregnancy #PCOSweighgain #weightgain #smitakumar #medicircle

About the Author

Priyal Shah

Priyal Shah is a graduate of Media from Mithibai College, Mumbai. She is a writer, researcher and avid reader.

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