Dr. Anuja Dokras
Ladies, we were recently given a great opportunity to speak with Dr. Anuja Dokras. Dr. Dokras is the Director of the Penn PCOS Center and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at University of Pennsylvania. She firmly believes that women with PCOS are better served by a dedicated multidisciplinary PCOS center. Her research program has two main interests; understanding long term cardiovascular morbidity and risk of depression and anxiety disorders in PCOS. Both cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mood disorders are associated with significant physical and emotional morbidity and add to the financial burden of the healthcare system.
I came to know Dr. Dokras through her support of PCOS Challenge and all their works, including their yearly symposium, which Dr. Dokras takes time to endlessly support and speak at yearly. She was a main supporter and speaker during the recent Washington DC briefing on PCOS. This briefing lend to PCOS Challenge and its supporters to gain approval and votes the now have September as the official awareness month for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
Below are the questions you voted on to be asked:
PCOSHelp: What should be the first plan of action after receiving a PCOS diagnosis? Dr. Dokras: Understanding what criteria the diagnosis is based on – which 2 or 3 (irregular menses, high androgens/hair growth/ PCO on ultrasound). This is important to understand the risk of complications. They are higher in women with high androgens.
PCOSHelp: What labs should a patient request to be completed? Dr. Dokras: Other reasons for irregular menses (thyroid,prolactin) and check androgens (total/free testosterone, DHEAS) and anti-mullerian hormone (high if ovaries are PCO-like)
PCOSHelp: Should there be a different treatment plan for a teen with PCOS vs an adult? Also, how do you treat someone who is past menopause? Dr. Dokras: The treatment plan should always be personalized to a patient. It will depend on their symptoms. As PCOS has 3 criteria and not all women has the same criteria, the treatment will differ. Also, it will depend on any complications eg diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity etc.
PCOSHelp: Since so many with PCOS also seem to have Thyroid issues, is there a link that you are aware of? Dr. Dokras: No link but thyroid problems should be checked and treated. Both thyroid problems and PCOS are very common, therefore it just seems like women with PCOS have them.
PCOSHelp: If you had to choose two supplements that everyone with PCOS would benefit from, what would they be? Dr. Dokras: Multivitamin, vitamin D (if levels are low), biotin (if they have hair loss)
PCOSHelp: How genetic do you feel PCOS is? For example: if a mother has PCOS and has a daughter, how high are the chances of the daughter also having PCOS? Dr. Dokras: There is a genetic reason for PCOS. As a result in about 1in 4 women there is another family member who might have some form of PCOS.
PCOSHelp: With it being so hard for some to find doctors knowledgeable in PCOS, what do you think should take place to educate more healthcare professionals? Dr. Dokras: Development of new international guidelines for diagnosis and management of PCOS will help healthcare professionals all over the world stay updated on PCOS. These will be published later in 2018.
PCOSHelp: With you currently conducting a PCOS study (information below) we are wondering what other breakthroughs you foresee on the horizon with PCOS research. Dr. Dokras: We are very excited about our study called COMET-PCOS. We need a clear answer to select first line therapy for overweight /obese women with PCOS who are not trying to get pregnant i.e. birth control pills, metformin or both. There are a number of studies currently underway to understand genetics of PCOS in other races and ethnicities, best weight loss strategies, fertility outcomes in PCOS, role of Vitamin D in PCOS to name a few.