Ufaq Fatima

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome on rise in Kashmir

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Doctors blame bad diet, lack of exercise

Srinagar, July 01: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal disorder that leads to different health issues in females is on the rise in Kashmir with hundreds of such cases being reported in hospitals here each month.

Shazia,25, was recently diagnosed with PCOS when her lower abdomen started to pain severely.

“I got worried after I was diagnosed with PCOS. However, the doctor assured me that it can be cured with proper medication and diet,” she said.

A survey conducted by Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Soura, in the year 2014 shows that every 3rd or 4th woman in Kashmir is suffering from PCOS and over the past years, the syndrome has been spreading at an alarming rate in the Valley.

Dr Muhammad Ashraf Ganie, Consultant, Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), who also serves as President, Metabolic Syndrome-Pre-Diabetes-Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (MPPCOS), Kashmir, said the rate at which PCOS is increasing in Kashmir is “astonishing”.

“The research that we conducted at Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in the past showed that more than 29 percent of young women in Kashmir have signs of PCOS. It showed phenotypic differences in clinical, biochemical, hormonal parameters, despite patients belonging to the same region,” he said.

Talking about the common symptoms of PCOS, he said that abnormal male patterned hair, irregular periods, severe acne, obesity and infertility in chronic cases are the most prevailing signs of the disorder.

PCOS is just not a mere physical disorder in Kashmir but the common social stigma of being infertile attached with it is what adds to the problems of such patients.

“PCOS in itself is not a big problem for me, but the response of society towards it is what bothers me the most. My mother has strictly instructed me to not tell anyone about my disorder as if it was a crime. Girls with PCOS are not seen fit for marriage which I have been hearing since a long time,” said a university student.

Most of the experts term unhygienic and unhealthy routine as the main cause of PCOS, especially in Kashmir, where women-folk involve themselves less in regular physical exercise.

Dr Rafia Andrabi, a Srinagar-based gynaecologist said that the disorder is on rise among young girls because of consumption of junk food and lack of physical exercise.

“The primary diet of teenage girls is merely junk food, which degrades their health. Also, college-going girls keep themselves confined to books and do not do much physical exercise which triggers PCOS,” Andrabi said, adding that here in Kashmir women do not exercise routinely which adds to the problem.

Women that visit her for treatment are mostly between the age group of 16-22.

“PCOS is considered as mother of all life-style disorders because the main cause of it is wrong food habits, which forms base of all the problems related to the syndrome,” she added.

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