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PCOM or polycystic ovarian morphology
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PCOM or polycystic ovarian morphology

PCOM -- the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and prevention
PCOM in women
Photo source: Deon Black/Unsplash

Have you heard of the term polycystic ovarian morphology meaning(PCOM)? Experts say it is found in 25 per cent of women with normal ovaries. However, the natural history of PCOM is unknown, according to ‘Polycystic ovarian morphology in normal women does not predict the development of polycystic ovary syndrome,’ a paper published in PubMed.

The ultrasound examination of the ovary of a person with PCOM will show multiple cysts arranged peripherally. Polycystic ovarian morphology causes the increase of the ovarian volume. Doctors say PCOM is the key diagnostic criterion for the diagnosis of PCOS.

Dr B Gowthami, obstetrician and gynaecologist, Milann Fertility and Birthing Hospital, Bengaluru, said PCOM is commonly found in adolescent girls and occurs in a mild form. PCOM is caused due to lifestyle changes and obesity. “In PCOM, water cysts (fluid-filled sacs) are formed in ovaries due to ovarian androgen hormones dysfunction and leads to disturbance in ovulation and retention of water in the ovary,” she told Happiest Health.

Dr Prasanna Latha, senior gynaecologist, Kamineni Hospitals, Hyderabad, said PCOM involves a complex interaction between genetic and environmental factors. “These include disordered hypothalami-pituitary-ovarian (HPO) axis which leads to hormonal imbalance, excessive androgens, obesity, insulin resistance and higher circulating insulin levels,” said Dr Latha. HPO axis is a system controlling female reproduction, and its dysfunction leads to ovulation disorder.

Symptoms 

Dr Latha said that the symptoms of PCOM are menstrual irregularity, acne, unwanted excess hair growth and obesity.

Heavy bleeding and an increase in the body mass index (BMI) are the other symptoms of PCOM, said Dr Gowthami. However, mostly persons with PCOM are asymptomatic or may have mild symptoms of PCOS, she said.

“The cause of asymptomatic PCOM is not known clearly,” said Dr Gowthami. “But it is believed that due to obesity and lack of physical activity, women/girls generally go through chemical and hormonal changes. This in turn affects ovarian morphology.”

Diagnosis 

“PCOM can be diagnosed using the diagnostic criteria for PCOS, menstrual irregularities with anovulation, excessive androgens, ultrasound,” said Dr Latha. “It can also be diagnosed by checking insulin levels by elevated fasting for 24 hours irrespective of whether a woman is obese or not.”

Polycystic ovarian morphology treatment and prevention

Both Dr Gowthami and Dr Latha said PCOM can be treated and prevented by lifestyle modification, eating a balanced diet, regular exercise, keeping track of calorie intake and maintaining a BMI between 18 and 24 kg/m2.

A woman with polycystic ovaries can get back her normal ovaries by following these suggestions. But if these recommendations are neglected, there is a higher chance of getting PCOS.

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