Dr Fountain On Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

September 21, 2023 | 0 Comments

Dr. Annabel Fountain wants to raise awareness about Polycystic Ovary Syndrome [PCOS] that “affects so many women and is the leading cause of infertility.”

A spokesperson said, “Mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and negative body image add to the physical burden of polycystic ovary syndrome [PCOS], a common endocrine disorder in women around the world. According to the World Health Organization [WHO], 8–13% of women of reproductive age suffer from the condition.

“During September, PCOS Awareness and Prevention Month, Dr. Annabel Fountain, endocrinologist and Medical Director of Fountain Health, wants to raise awareness about this condition that affects so many women and is the leading cause of infertility.

“Polycystic Ovary Syndrome [PCOS] impacts women throughout their lifespan. Symptoms of PCOS first appear around puberty and persist through and beyond reproductive years. These include excessive facial and body hair [hirsutism], hair loss from the scalp, acne, irregular periods and weight gain.

Dr. Fountain said: “PCOS is a complex and often misunderstood hormonal disorder. It is associated with elevated insulin levels and insulin resistance which is why women with PCOS are more likely to develop gestational and type 2 diabetes. Other hormones are imbalanced as well. The ovaries don’t respond normally to regulatory hormones from the pituitary, and they produce more androgens [e.g. testosterone], and multiple follicles [the cysts] that don’t mature so ovulation fails. This is why they have issues with hirsutism, irregular periods and infertility”.

“Up to 70% of affected women remain undiagnosed worldwide [WHO]. It is more common in certain ethnic groups and runs in families. Diagnosis of PCOS is based on three characteristics: elevated androgen levels [can be obvious, without the need for blood tests], enlarged ovaries with multiple cysts on ultrasound scans, and irregular menstruation.

“Women with PCOS have significantly higher risks of obesity, gestational diabetes, type 2 diabetes, endometrial cancer, and unfavourable cholesterol profiles that are associated with heart disease.

“Because of these factors, it’s extremely important to manage the condition,” says Dr Fountain. “Early PCOS detection, especially in adolescents, gives the opportunity for education and interventions to prevent health issues developing in the future. PCOS management should be individualized to the patient’s symptoms and health priorities and includes nutrition education, physical activity, and weight management to address metabolic concerns,” she explained. “Some women and girls are more worried about their skin and their weight whilst others are trying to conceive.

“Often, young women are put on the contraceptive pill to ‘regulate their periods’. This doesn’t fix the underlying problem; it just causes regular bleeding which is fine if convenience is the priority. However, these women often later find that they have difficulty conceiving once they come off the pill.

“Some of the symptoms of PCOS are associated with negative body image or social stigma and can lead to anxiety and depression. It is therefore important that mental health is considered as part of management. Timely diagnosis, education, support and personalized treatments are crucial to ensure optimized health and quality of life,” Dr. Fountain says.

“Dr. Fountain completed her specialist training in the UK in 2010. She is certified in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Internal Medicine and provides care to people with a range of health conditions and disorders related to hormones, including PCOS and infertility. Visit fountainhealth.bm for more information.”

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