Welcome to the Cysterhood – PCOS

“I am a Muslim cyster” declares health blogger Chelsea on FitMuslimGirl.com — an American-Muslim woman in her mid-twenties. The post published last year has garnered quite a few comments from the ‘cyster’ community online but for many others the statement might be confusing.

Women diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) call themselves ‘cysters’, in reference to the numerous cysts found in their ovaries.

Chelsea writes about how, at 24, she was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome — a common endocrine disorder, affecting one in every ten women globally.

For women like Chelsea, ovarian follicles produce eggs or ovum that do not mature fully as in a normal cycle — resulting in benign cysts. The ovaries also produce excessive amounts of androgens (male hormones) which further block ovulation.

Given how common the disorder is, the lack of awareness about PCOS is absurd.

According to a UAE-based research conducted by Aster DM Healthcare, only 52 per cent of UAE residents were familiar with PCOS. September has been promoted as the PCOS Awareness month by leading health care organisations to create discussions about the condition.

The most common symptom of PCOS is irregular menstruation. However, periods can be irregular or even absent for girls in their teens which is why many mothers and doctors disregard such patterns. In her blog, Chelsea shares that despite having consulted doctors repeatedly when she was younger about her irregular periods, she was not tested further and was prescribed birth-control pills (which are commonly used to regulate periods).

Speaking to Gulf News, Dr Ann Mini Mathew, Specialist Obstetrics and Gynaecologist at Aster Hospital said: “Most women hesitate to consult a doctor about their irregular periods. A woman who doesn’t have periods within a gap of 28 to 35 days is irregular and should ideally menstruate at least eight times in a year [before menopause].”

Other PCOS symptoms include male-pattern hair growth, sudden weight gain and difficulty to lose weight, sleep apnoea, acne, oily skin, pigmentation and pelvic pain. Women can experience one, some or all of these symptoms and there is no consistency from person to person.

Gulf News spoke to Helena, a 25-year old from India, who was diagnosed with PCOS when she was 19. Her periods were regular but she decided to consult her doctor because of sudden and continuous weight gain despite having no changes in her diet or physical activity.

Tara, a 27-year old UAE expat, was diagnosed with PCOS at the age of 20. She had periods only once every five to six months and found pigmentation marks on her neck which was when she consulted her doctor. Though weight-gain is common for PCOS patients, Tara never had this issue. This inconsistency of symptoms is a major reason for incorrect or under-diagnosis.

The root cause of PCOS has not be found yet but genetics play a huge role.

According to research by Aster DM Healthcare, 50 per cent of mothers who suffer from PCOS are likely to pass it on to their daughters. Helena told Gulf News that her mother and elder sister also have the same disorder.

The over production of androgens (male hormones) in the female body due to insulin resistance can be a contributing factor in some cases. Bad lifestyle and diet choices also contribute to the condition.

One of the most common effects of PCOS is the inability for women of the child-bearing age (18 to 44) to conceive.

According to Dr Hena Firoza Kalam, Specialist Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Medcare Women and Children Hospital, some women are diagnosed with PCOS after delivering even up to four children, revealing that infertility is not common to all PCOS patients. Other major health complications include abnormal uterine bleeding, anxiety and depression, cardiac issues, high cholesterol and endometrial cancer.

The risk of endometrial cancer is proven to be two to three times higher for women suffering from PCOS than others.

“Due to lack of proper ovulation and menstruation in PCOS patients, the lining of the uterus thickens over time, increasing the risk of endometrial cancer. It is necessary for them to have at least one period in three months so as to reduce the thickened uterine lining. This can significantly reduce the risk of this cancer”, Dr Kalam told Gulf News.

Inducing ovulation through medicines is used to assist PCOS patients struggling to conceive. Lifestyle and dietary changes also increase a women’s chances of ovulation. “Losing just 5 to 10 per cent of body fat can get a woman’s ovulation process on track”, Dr Kalam told Gulf News. For women who want to regulate their periods and treat symptoms such as acne and male pattern facial hair, doctors prescribe hormonal medicines to induce menstruation. These also lower the level of male hormones in the body.

Ayurveda, the ancient Indian branch of medicine, is becoming a popular alternative treatment option for women who do not want hormonal intervention. Tara, an Indian UAE-expat with PCOS, opted for Ayurvedic treatment along with diet and lifestyle changes. Now after 6 years, one of her ovaries have no cysts and the cysts in the other one have reduced considerably.

PCOS has no permanent cure but with medicines and a healthy lifestyle women can definitely lead a productive and normal life.


What is it?

PCOS is a condition resulting from an imbalance of oestrogen and progesterone in a woman’s body. Ovarian follicles produce eggs or ovum but they do not mature fully or correctly as in a normal cycle — resulting in benign cysts being formed. The ovaries also produce excessive amounts of androgens (male hormones) which further block ovulation.


No definite underlying causes have been discovered but genetics have proven to be a major factor. Insulin resistance, unhealthy lifestyle and diet choices can contribute to the condition.


Infertility is the most common complication arising due to the lack of ovulation in PCOS patients. Abnormal uterine bleeding, multiple miscarriages, anxiety and depression, cardiac issues, increased risk of Type-2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity and physical changes are other complications that may arise. Risk of endometrial cancer is three times higher for women with PCOS than others.


Irregularity in periods is a major indication of PCOS along with other symptoms such as sudden weight gain, male-pattern hair growth, acne, oily skin, pigmentation, pelvic pain, sleep apnoea and male-pattern hair loss. These are highly inconsistent from person to person but self-monitoring can help in early diagnosis and treatment.


PCOS has no permanent cure but symptoms can be treated and managed with medicines, lifestyle changes and healthy diets. Menstruation and ovulation can be induced to increase fertility and control effects of hormonal imbalance in the body.


Source :- Gulf News (http://bit.ly/2dr7PPI)


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We’ll Treat You Well – Aster Clinic’s have a strong team of Cardiologists

Taking informed health decisions help in understanding cardiac risks, and keeping the heart young and healthy

Almost one in every seven people living in the UAE is overweight or obese, according to recent statistics. The reasons for the alarming state of affairs are the usual ones: easy access to fast/unhealthy food, smoking, and lack of regular exercise. Residents of the UAE are not optimally managing chronic diseases and living busy and stressful lives that lead to poor health statistics. A large population is living with diabetes, hypertensive heart disease, coronary artery disease, heart failure, cardiomyopathies, and congenial heart disease. Even though lifelong medications are available to offset some of the risks, in essence such lifestyle diseases hamper healthy and comfortable living.

Doctors and health professionals, therefore, suggest inculcating healthy practices right from childhood. Schoolgoing children should be encouraged to be health-conscious and make choices that aid in healthy living.

Adults, on the other hand, should reduce intake of carbohydrates, have five portions of fruits and vegetables in a day, quit smoking, and exercise regularly. Such minor changes to the diet and lifestyle go a long way in controlling various risk factors associated with cardiovascular and chronic diseases.

At Aster Clinics we believe in the old-age mantra: prevention is better than cure. We conduct various community-related events and activities to educate consumers about the importance of healthy living. We also have preventive health check packages customised for different age groups and health conditions of people to ensure that any untoward health occurrences are avoided,” says a spokesperson of the Aster Clinics’ team of cardiologists.

Busy is Life’, one of the current initiatives by Aster Clinics, aims to promote the importance of healthy living and emphasise Aster clinics’ role as a healthcare partner, which is always available for every individual, if required.

Aster Clinics are present at 45 locations and have 425 doctors, and 700 paramedical staff on board to keep you moving ahead. “Life is busy; everybody is busy doing their daily routine activities and in the rush we tend to ignore our heart. Aster Clinics urge people to eat right, exercise daily, beat stress, quit smoking, and get timely check-ups to have a smiling heart always. We also conduct various corporate engagement activities such as health talks and shows to raise awareness about the importance of healthy living and thereby build a healthy population,” adds the spokesperson.

Aster Clinics and Hospital have a strong team of cardiologists, who are dedicated to ensure that every patient is treated well.


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Ten useful tips for a healthy living.

Ten Useful Tips for a healthy living during pregnancy 

  • Do not diet! Pregnancy is not the time to diet as this can limit the baby’s nutrition and growth. You can avoid excessive weight gain by maintaining a healthy diet and a regular exercise regime.


  • Drink plenty of water. Pregnant women dehydrate more quickly so drinking water and other fluids is important especially in this part of the world due to climatic conditions.


  • Base every meal on Starchy foods as these will provide energy for you and your baby. They are also a source of fiber so help you feel full and satisfied.


  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables as these provide essential vitamins and minerals required for growth of your baby.


  • Foods rich in proteins are a rich source of Iron which is required for the normal growth of your baby. Some examples are Meat, Poultry, Green leafy vegetables, Fish and Fortified cereals.


  • Fiber rich foods such as Wholegrain breads, Pulses, High fiber breakfast cereals will provide a rich source of roughage and prevent constipation.


  • Dairy products are a rich source of Calcium and important for the baby’s bone and teeth development. Choose low fat varieties when you can.


  • Eat small frequent meals. Snacking is common during pregnancy; however, you must be careful of what you eat as unhealthy snacking may cause excessive weight gain. Opt for healthy snacks such as: Fruits, Low fat yoghurts, Smoothies, Breakfast cereals.


  • Do not skip any meals. It is important to eat all your meals at regular intervals especially a healthy and hearty breakfast. Breakfast provides a vital boost to energy levels so that you and your baby have a great day!


  • Exercise regularly. It is very important to exercise regularly in order to avoid excessive weight gain. Before starting any form of exercise it is advisable to consult your doctor.

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Myths and Facts about PCOS .

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition in which there are numerous little cysts in the ovaries. These cysts can influence a woman’s fertility since they disturb hormone cycles. Normally women with PCOS have low levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and an abnormal amount of androgens (male hormones).


I have PCOS — I am never going to be able to have a baby.

MYTH. A few women with PCOS can get to be pregnant with no help. And there are many women able to become pregnant with minor help and others still with IVF. It relies on upon the seriousness of your PCOS and what precisely is going on. Your fertility doctor will work with you to make sense where the issue is. Once your specialist has more data, you can cooperate to make sense of ideal approaches to help you get pregnant.


I would know if I had PCOS.

MYTH.  It would not necessarily be obvious that you have PCOS. In spite of the fact for a few women the indications are obvious, PCOS is connected with a wide range of sometimes vague symptoms. It can sometimes take years to reach a diagnosis. And there are a few other rare conditions that have comparable symptoms. On the off chance that you are experiencing difficulty getting to be pregnant and have any of the manifestations of PCOS, consult to your fertility doctor about doing some tests to investigate the likeliness of PCOS.


I had an ultrasound and it did not show any cysts on my ovaries, so PCOS cannot be the problem.

MYTH. Some women do not demonstrate cysts on their ovaries, however, have different symptoms that lead to them being analyzed and treated for PCOS. Other women have cysts on their ovaries but do not have PCOS. The presence of cysts can be an important symptom in recognizing PCOS, but it is only part of the picture.


Women whose mother or sister has PCOS are more likely to have PCOS.

FACT. There gives off an impression of being a hereditary segment to PCOS.


All women with PCOS are overweight.

MYTH. Numerous women with PCOS are overweight, however, thin women can have PCOS also. If you have signs and indications of PCOS, you ought to your fertility doctor about the likelihood.



I have PCOS — losing weight can improve my chances of becoming pregnant.

FACT. Losing as meager as 5 percent of your body weight can help balance your hormone levels which can help enhance your fertility. Due to the way insulin is handled in many women with PCOS, a diet with a low glycemic index may be the most gainful way to lose weight.


There’s no cure for PCOS.

FACT. In any case, there are treatments and medicines that can improve your health and fertility. Getting thinner is a standout amongst essential things you can do. You might be given clomiphene citrate, which helps you to deliver more FSH. If you are also insulin resistant, you may be given a medication called Metformin (or Glucophage) that makes you sensitive to insulin and can help return ovulation to normal. Contingent upon what other symptoms you have, you might be given medication for acne or excess hair growth, too.


Dr. Keya Rahul Shivadey

Specialist in Obstetrics/Gynecology,

Aster Clinic, Business Bay




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Expert Cautions Womens on Fibroids

DUBAI: Obstetrician-Gynecologist for 27 years Dr. Sejal Devendra Surti recently operated on a 42-year-old single woman found through various tests and ultrasound to have a fibroid removed from inside her uterus.

For a week, the patient, who weighed 45 kilogrammes (kg), had been feeling weak and feeble. She was also experiencing shortness of breath upon exertion.

Further enquiry revealed she had been going through abnormal menstrual cycles with bouts of blood clots since seven years back.

She had also been suffering from abnormal bleeding as well as microcytic anemia, the condition characterised by iron deficiency and excessive blood loss.

When her state became stable, she went under the knife. Extracted from her was a 6.5 kg fibroid.

“It (fibroid) was much bigger than a (newborn),” Surti, who has worked at Aster Hospital in Dubai for seven years, told The Gulf Today.

“I even had to request for a bucket, so it could be delivered to the lab. It was too huge,” said the daughter of a surgeon.

Surti decided to go into obstetrics-gynaecology, because just as medical undergraduates are oriented to all specialities, she realised that “the various phases of a woman’s life are interesting and challenging as women have a lot of health issues.”

One of these is the fibroids; those lumps that may form and grow within or outside the uterine wall, which may be shrunk through medical procedures when detected early.

The reason Surti repeatedly mentioned the need for women to include in their calendar of activities their annual check-ups with their obstetrician-gynaecologists.

“We would only know when we go for our check-ups,” she said, referring back to the case of the 42-year-old woman, who was fortunate that the extracted fibroid was benign.

Stating that the signs and symptoms of the presence of the fibroid are abnormal monthly periods, menstrual pain and difficulty in urinating as the fibroid or fibroids put a “pressure effect” on the bladder, she added that “multiple fibroids could lead to cancer called sarcoma.”

She added: “There are genetic factors related to fibroids, but these are not yet clear.”

Surti cautioned women to keep their weight in relation to their height, adding that the obese have been found to be more susceptible to fibroids.

African women are twice to thrice more prone than Caucasians.

According to Surti, fibroids are “most common” among the 25 to 35 age category and this is not so among menopausal women, because “this is hormone-related.”

Preventive measures include sufficient amounts of Vitamin D as well as diet and nutrition rich in green leafy vegetables such as broccoli and Chinese cabbage to balance the estrogen levels, and restriction of high refined carbohydrates that imbalances the female hormone, and red beef.

Dr. Sejal Devendra Surti
Specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Aster Hospital
Gulf Today Article
Source: http://bit.ly/womenfibroids

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