Always a skinny girl, Swati (name changed), a 25-year-old biochemist, started putting on weight in her early twenties. Chalking it down to a slowing metabolism, she didn’t think much of it. Until she missed her period. And missed it again in the following months. After visiting her gynaecologist and undergoing an ultrasound exam, Swati was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS.
Put simply, PCOS is a metabolic syndrome that manifests in women of childbearing age (between 15-30 years). Its external symptoms include irregular or no period for months, growth of excess facial and body hair, mild to severe acne, and weight gain.
PCOS—Diabetes’ little sister is growing up fast
PCOS, a commonly diagnosed syndrome in young women, is facilitating the off-label use of drugs due to divided opinions in the medical fraternity and a lack of biomedical research
PCOS cases in young Indian women are on the rise; studies say 1 in 5 Indian women of reproductive age suffers from PCOS
Most diagnosed women are prescribed oral contraceptive pills and insulin-sensitisers such as Metformin to manage their symptoms
The medical community is divided on treatment guidelines due to limited evidence and flexible definitions
The result is a diagnosis and prescription overdrive, leading many to question whether the whole thing is a pharma-driven bubble