At least 50,000 women in the UAE suffer from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOs), which is expected to grow at a rate of 6.81 per cent till 2030, according to a survey.
Aster Hospital and Clinics recently revealed the results of the survey done by independent research agency YouGov to determine awareness levels of endometriosis and PCOS among UAE residents.
In addition to causing infertility, endometriosis and PCOS are also associated with other medical conditions such as cancer, hypertension, diabetes, obesity etc. Late detection and inappropriate management of the condition have been identified as risk factors for developing complications.
Around 70 per cent of women in the age group 25-29 years – commonly when the onset of the condition happens – are unfamiliar with endometriosis. Knowledge of the symptoms can help in early detection and proper treatment. Awareness levels are the lowest among Arab expats (77 per cent) and the Asian population (66 per cent).
PCOS affects 1 in 10 women around the world, but the survey revealed that only 16 per cent of UAE residents surveyed felt they were extremely aware or moderately familiar with PCOS symptoms. “We are frequently coming across patients who seek help for infertility with endometriosis and PCOS as the underlying cause,” said Dr Ann Mini Mathew, Specialist Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Aster Hospital.
“In most cases, the symptoms were unrecognised for years leading to late detection and ensuing complications. The first step to tackle a disease in its early stage is awareness; this survey has proved that awareness levels among women in the UAE is far from optimal. There is an urgent need for this not just for women, but the men as well. This will aid them in supporting their partners and family members and help them to seek medical help in time.”
Alisha Moopen, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Hospitals and Clinics (GCC) said, “Aster is pushing the boundaries of medical services to deliver superior quality patient care with new services and treatment options to create better future for patients. In line with our commitment to helping women in the UAE better manage their health, we have begun a long-term PCOS awareness initiative to evoke change that will have a real time impact on women across the UAE.
“We undertook this survey to get a better understanding of the levels of awareness of Endometriosis and PCOS among UAE residents. The results provide us with valuable insights about the lack of awareness and equip us to undertake steps in the right direction, starting with bridging the knowledge gap which is one of the key objectives of this new initiative.”
Initiated in September, which was also PCOs Awareness Month, Aster has educated its patient base with educational materials and is in the process of setting up exclusive PCOs and Endometriosis clinics.
Aster is also conducting Health Talks within communities and corporates in order to further educate both men and women.
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* 91 per cent of UAE residents lack sufficient knowledge of endometriosis syndrome to take the appropriate action
* Emiratis are very aware of the symptoms associated with endometriosis, while Arab expats seem least aware, with 59 per cent saying that they are not aware of any symptoms
* 58 per cent of UAE residents are not aware of health complications that might arise from endometriosis: infertility (20 per cent), ovarian cancer (15 per cent) and adhesions (14 per cent) are the top three health complications they associated with it
* 51 per cent residents are not aware of any endometriosis symptoms; painful periods (25 per cent), pain in the lower belly before and during periods (22 per cent) and excessive bleeding during periods (18 per cent) are the top three symptoms they associated with it
* 48 per cent of UAE residents are not at all familiar with PCOs. Females were more familiar with it (66 per cent) than males (45 per cent)
* Arab expats are least aware about PCOs, with 54 per cent saying they are not at all aware of PCOs, followed by Asians at 49 per cent and Emiratis at 35 per cent. Westerners are more familiar with PCOs symptoms
* 45 per cent of residents are not aware of health complications that might arise because of PCOs, while infertility (26 per cent), abnormal uterine bleeding (18 per cent) and depression and anxiety (18 per cent) are the top three health complications they associated with it
* 38 per cent of residents are not aware of any symptom associated with PCOs, while irregular menstrual periods (37 per cent), cysts on the ovaries (32 per cent) and infertility (28 per cent) are the top three symptoms associated with it