City-based doctors say they now see cases of ovarian cysts more frequently, particularly in urban women. They attribute this to the urban lifestyle and stress, as well as late pregnancies and fertility treatments.
In a recent study conducted by All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), taking a large sample population from different parts of the country, it was found that one out of every four women suffered from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition that causes hormonal imbalance, and can lead to various associated problems including infertility. Based on this report, the Indian Council of Medical Education has taken up a nationwide study.
Metropolis Health Care Ltd, a chain of medical and pathological labs, conducted a comprehensive pan-India study in August 2015, on 27,411 samples of testosterone, over a period of 18 months. The researchers found that around 4,824 (17.60 per cent) of the women subjects faced hormone-associated risks because of PCOS.
The increasing cases of PCOS is predominantly seen in the age group 15 to 30 years. Among the samples tested, eastern part of the country showed a higher percentage of women (25.88) affected by PCOS. The figure was 18.62 per cent in North India and 18 per cent in South India.
Chitra Ramamurthy, a gynecologist at Apollo Cradle maternity hospital, said: “Currently, we get around 4 to 5 cases a week of teenage girls suffering from PCOS, which is significantly high, compared from a decade ago. A big reason is sedentary lifestyle of teenagers. However, it can also be hereditary.”
Dr Deepmala, gynecologist at Motherhood hospital, believed the condition was more common in cities. “In fact, 1 in 200 women are also developing ovarian cysts during pregnancy, which is often a fallout of fertility treatment,” she said.
In a majority of the cases in which women develop ovarian cyst during pregnancy, symptoms do not present themselves and neither the mother nor the foetus is in danger. But if the cysts are over 6-8 cm in size, complications could arise and can be fatal to the mother and the baby.
Dr Deepmala spoke about a recent case she encountered. A 28-year-old in her third trimester developed a 9 cm cyst that caused her ovary to twist. She had been suffering from severe pain in her lower abdomen and back. At first, it looked like urinary tract infection, but an MRI revealed the real cause.
“We found that she had a 9 cm tumour in her right lumbar area. It was a challenging case because she was more than 26 weeks into the pregnancy. We had to do a very small incision to remove the tumour while keeping the baby safe,” said the doctor.
An hour-long surgery was performed to successfully remove the tumour and also prevent a premature delivery.