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Teen girls at infertility risk

09 December, 2013

NEW DEHLI: Love for fast food and inability to handle stress is predisposing teenage girls to a hormonal disorder that raises risk of infertility and diabetes

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder among women which derives its names from the appearance of ovaries enlarged and containing numerous small cysts located along the outer edge of each ovary (polycystic appearance).

While doctors have reported a rise in the number of PCOS cases among adult women, it's the high incidence among teenage girls that they find worrying. Dr Dhillon-Pai, a consultant with Lilavati and Jaslok Hospitals, says, "Of the total PCOS cases I see, 25 per cent are adolescents."

With patients worrying most about skin problems such as, acne and excess facial hair, dermatologists are the first doctors the teens tend to consult. Irregular menstrual cycles are often ignored, attributing them to 'hormones settling down' during the teenage years.

However, the problem is not just cosmetic. Dr Dudhedia, who sees 15 cases a week, adds, "Such patients have high levels of serum insulin, insulin resistance and homocysteine (amino acids). Therefore, they have a tendency towards central obesity."

While studies state that many patients are genetically predisposed to PCOS, eating excessive junk food, stress and a sedentary lifestyle increase the risk manyfold. Treatment, experts warn, will not cure the problem, but help manage it better. And it might mean being put on medication for a prolonged period.

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