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Long-term Complications of PCOS Include Cardiovascular Diseases

Dr. Geetanjali Sachdeva, Director of ICMR-National Institute of Research in Reproductive & Child Health (NIRRCH), and Dr. Anushree Patil, Scientist E at ICMR-NIRRCH, discuss with ETHealthworld's Rashmi Mabiyan Kaur the vital role schools can play in raising awareness about adolescent reproductive health.

We've seen a rapid increase in the incidence of disorders such as PCOS, PCOD, and endometriosis. Could you elaborate on the causes of these disorders and their prolonged impact on reproductive health?

The precise origin of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) remains elusive, but factors like obesity, insulin resistance, and elevated androgen levels are pivotal. Additionally, prenatal exposure to heightened maternal testosterone may contribute. Family history and genetic factors are also implicated. Moreover, endocrine disruptors such as plastic and parabens may play a role.

Speculation also surrounds endometrial cell migration via blood vessels or tissue fluid, alongside immune system dysfunction. Both PCOS and endometriosis significantly impact affected women's quality of life, with PCOS potentially leading to cardiovascular diseases and endometriosis posing a risk factor for ovarian cancer in certain cases.

Taboos hinder sexual health awareness; Pap smear underutilization persists in India despite its significance. What misconceptions prevail?

Pap smears screen for cervical cancer, yet face accessibility challenges in India, requiring training of healthcare professionals for grassroots implementation.

Women avoid Pap smears due to fear of gynecological exams, especially when symptom-free. Some believe they're painful, though discomfort is mild. Widespread awareness is crucial for early cervical cancer detection.

Untreated STIs and undetected RTIs can significantly impact women's reproductive and sexual health.

Untreated RTIs/STIs can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, ectopic pregnancy, increased HIV transmission risk, and cervical cancer. They pose risks during pregnancy, resulting in preterm birth, low birth weight, and newborn infection transmission. STIs cause discomfort, menstrual disruptions, and vulnerability to other infections, potentially disrupting daily life and leading to fatal consequences.

Given the behavioral complexities during adolescence, how can parents, teachers, and guardians address Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health (ARSH)?

We advocate for open communication and destigmatization, particularly among parents and adolescents, as crucial for raising awareness about ARSH issues. Additionally, integrating ARSH education into school curricula is essential for providing accurate information to adolescents alongside the resources available online.

Sources - The Economic Times



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