PCOS Awareness Month: Know If You Have PCOS, Endometriosis Or Both
PCOS is a condition which affects women during their reproductive years. Endometriosis is another condition which affects women. Read here to know from expert the difference between these condition.
PCOS Awareness Month: PCOS is one of the leading causes of infertility
- PCOS may lead to unhealthy weight gain
- In endometriosis the lining of the uterus grows to other areas
- Symptoms of PCOS and endometriosis should not be ignored
Women are so occupied balancing their personal and professional lives that they often ignore their health which sometimes lead to serious issues like a common reproductive disorder. It has been seen that health conditions like PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and endometriosis often go undiagnosed as they feel that certain symptoms are variations of a normal menstrual cycle. PCOS is so common in women in their 20s that every 1 in 5 women go through it, while endometriosis is diagnosed in women, who are in between their 30s and 40s.
Here are some differences and the similarities between the two, and when it's time to visit your doctor:
What is PCOS?
PCOS is a common hormonal disorder in which ovaries produces more male hormones than normal resulting in irregular or absent menstrual periods, weight gain, hair growth in unusual places like your face, neck, or abdomen, thinning hair on your scalp, acne on your face, chest, or back, and infertility issues. But with the changing times, there is a difficulty in diagnosis of the condition. Experts suggest that they have been seeing many such women, who do not have all the classic symptoms but they still have been diagnosed with PCOS. While the cause of PCOS is still unclear but genetics are thought to play a role and high levels of insulin and androgens exacerbate the problem. Excess insulin, which can lead to weight gain, is thought to boost androgen production in the ovaries. So, you are more prone to developing this disorder if you have a family history of PCOS, obesity or diabetes.
Also read: A Complete Guide To PCOS
What about endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition in which the lining of the uterus, known as the endometrium, grows outside the uterus or on other areas such as the ovaries, the outer surface of the uterus, the fallopian tubes, the vagina, the cervix, or even on the bladder or rectum. If a woman is going through the disorder, she will have immensely painful periods with pelvic and lower back pain, pain during or after intercourse, pain while using the bathroom, excessive bleeding, digestive problems, and infertility are also common symptoms. With a typical menstrual cycle, your endometrium thickens, breaks down, bleeds, and exits your body through the uterus each month. Like PCOS, endometriosis can be difficult to diagnose. Endometriosis is also challenging to diagnose because some women will have no symptoms, and other women who have all of the symptoms above may not necessarily have endometriosis. The exact reason behind endometriosis is also unknown. There are several theories, but none explain all aspects of the disorder.
Also read: Endometriosis: Your Complete Guide To Endometriosis
Can you have both?
Unfortunately, you can have both. Though less common, since they have similar symptoms it gets difficult to diagnose. Many mix-and-match possibilities can present themselves in women suffering from both, but the most common overlapping symptom is infertility. The regularity of your menstrual cycle and hormone testing can help differentiate between the two conditions. It is more common to see endometriosis present in women with regular cycles. However, if a patient with PCOS reports significant pelvic pain, this raises the possibility of another condition being present with PCOS, such as uterine fibroids or endometriosis, since PCOS does not cause pain during periods. However, any time if you experience especially painful or irregular cycles, notice abnormal hair growth, or struggle with infertility, then it's time to visit your doctor.
What You Can Do
There are no known cures for PCOS or endometriosis, but both are treatable and the symptoms can be managed once correctly diagnosed. PCOS can be managed through hormonal birth control pills, which can help level hormones and therefore regulate periods. If you're trying to get pregnant and can't take birth control, then a doctor suggests some hormone therapy medications. For endometriosis, you can take an extended-cycle pill, which means you have a few periods or eliminating your period completely. A hormonal intrauterine device (IUD) is another option. It can be inserted to help reduce pain and bleeding. Surgery for endometriosis may improve your chances of pregnancy, depending on how extensive the condition has become.
(Dr. Sandeep Chadha, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Noida)
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