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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    is there any link between Carpel Tunnel and PCOS

    im just wanting to know is there any link between PCOS and carpel tunnel?
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    Dr Richard Beatty

    GP (General Practitioner)

    Brisbane GP With Special interest in Complex Medical, Men's health, antenatal, paediatrics. Skin Cancer Clinic Designated Aviation Medical Examiner Specific interests in Vasectomy, Dermatology & … View Profile

    That's a good question. There's no direct physiological link but they could occur together for two reasons

    (1) Both are area both associated with increased weight / BMI; in this situation, reducing weight (easier said than done!) could improve both problems, particularly the PCOS. Also note that Carpal tunnel syndrome is more common in people with diabetes and that is independent of obesity (pretty mucy everybody with a diagnosis of PCOS will have had a fasting glucose done - but it's worth checking you have).

    (2) Both are common (Carpal tunnel affects about 5% of people, and PCOS around 10-20% depending on the criteria used)

    Just a tip on the “pecking order” I use for treating carpal tunnel - use a wrist splint you can buy from a pharmacy and wear it at night for night-time symptoms, reduce repetitive hand / wrist movements, consider eg. Ibuprofen, consider a steroid wrist injection (many GP's do these) for short term benefit (2 months), give it time to settle on its own … or finally consider surgery if it's intractable or causing really troublesome symptoms or is causing weakness of the hand muscles.

    PCOS is best treated through diet and exercise; most women will also need medications for troublesome skin problems (hirsutism and acne can be particularly distressing). A  common conundrum is that the hormonal treatments (contraceptive pill brands such as yasmin or diane) are too risky to use if the BMI is more than 35 (but other medications like spironolactone can help). Metformin is being increasingly used to improve menstrual function and fertility, and potentially reduce the risk of diabetes.

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