PCOD: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, and many more!

Overview | Difference between PCOD and PCOS | How it occurs? | Ovulation’s effect on periods | Effects of PCOD | Causes | Symptoms | Risks factors | Complications | Diagnosis | Treatment | Home remedies |

What is PCOD?

PCOD refers to Polycystic Ovarian Disease. This disease is one of the most common health complications in women for ages. This disease is found particularly in women of reproductive ages. In this, two ovaries in women produce male hormones in a little amount, but when PCOD arises, these ovaries begin to produce immature or mature eggs which further turns into cysts. Women develop a cyst on their ovaries and start producing male hormone androgen, in excess. This excess production of male hormones is called hyperandrogenism. In PCOD, enlargement of ovaries can be noticed. This excess amount of male hormone creates disruption and results in irregular and less than normal periods in women. Along with other effects, irregular periods and infertility are some of the most common effects of PCOD.

Fact: In India, around 1 in 5 women are affected with PCOD.

Unfortunately, PCOD is a common disease now, not only in India bit all over the world. Even in India only, there are more than 1 million cases od PCOD recorded per year. Still, a study concluded that about 70 % cases of PCOD are not even diagnosed ever. However, time and mentality is changing gradually, and so is the condition of women.

Many of us, believe that PCOD and PCOS is a same thing. Well in reality, PCOD and PCOS are correlated and quite similar but there is a slight difference between both of them.

Let’s clear the confusion first.

Difference between PCOD and PCOS:

  • Cause –

PCOD is occurs mainly due to hormonal imbalance, while

PCOS is an endocrine system disorder.

  • Cases –

PCOD is more common in women than PCOS.

  • Infertility –

PCOD does not always lead to infertility, in most of the cases.

While, those women who are experiencing PCOS are at high risk of developing infertility due to massive hormonal irregularities.

How does PCOD occur (in medical terms)?

Polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD) is a group of syndrome that affects the  ovaries and ovulation. Ovulation refers to the process of release of eggs through ovaries. The term ‘polycystic’ means cysts, but actually these cysts are follicles they house an immature eggs that will never mature enough to participate in ovulation and thus, ot can’t be passed out. Due to this process repeatedly, there occurs a lack of ovulation process. This lack of ovulation increases the level of main hormone androgen and decreases the levels of female hormones i.e. estrogen and progesterone. This hormonal imbalance disrupts the menstrual cycles of women and results in the form of PCOD.

How does ovulation effects periods?

A lack of or insufficient ovulation stops the lining process of the uterine from shedding every month, i.e. periods.

What can be the effects of PCOD on women’s health and physical appearance?

  • Infertility
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood sugar levels
  • Low level of HDL (Good cholesterol)
  • High level of LDL (bad cholesterol)
  • Sleep apnea
  • Constant headaches
  • Acne
  • Abnormal growth of facial and body hair
  • Negative feelings
  • Miscarriage
  • Anxiety
  • Depression etc.

Other Causes of PCOD:

  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Insulin resistance
  • Inflammation
  • Excess production of insulin  

The exact cause is still unknown but above mentioned factors also lead to PCOD.

Symptoms of PCOD:

  • Irregular periods
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty to conceive
  • Heavy bleeding during menstruation  
  • Depression
  • Darkening of the skin
  • Headache
  • Acne
  • Hair thinning
  •  Excessive growth of facial and body hair.
  • Male pattern baldness

Risks factors:

PCOD increase the risk of –

  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Depression
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Endometrial cancer etc.

Complications:

  • Psychological disorders such as depression etc.
  • Abnormal uterine bleeding
  • Eating disorders
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Miscarriage
  • Premature birth of your baby
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Sleep apnea
  • Hypertension
  • Induced pregnancy
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Non – alcoholic steatohepatitis  etc.

Diagnosis:

Firstly, your doctor will ask you about your menstrual periods, weight changes, other symptoms and medical history in detail. Then the order of the diagnosis procedure would be like this —

  • Physical examination – It is conducted to check the vitals such as blood pressure, pulse rate, height, weight etc.
  • Pelvic exam – This is conducted to check if you have enlarged ovaries.

If your ovaries are enlarged and there are some symptoms of PCOD, then to diagnosis it, following tests can be prescribed:

  • Blood test – to check the presence of any other conditions similar to PCOD
  • Hormonal levels – To check the hormonal levels is very important. As hormonal levels of PCOD patients shows high fluctuations. Levels can be understand as

Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) can be low

Testosterone is elevated usually

 Estrogen levels can be normal or elevated

 AMH is usually increased

 Sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) can be reduced

Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels shows that whether you have hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.

 Prolactin’s elevated levels can cause menstrual irregularities and infertility.

Tests to check complications of PCOD are:

  • Lipid profile
  • Blood glucose and insulin levels
  • Ultrasound
  • Transvaginal ultrasound

Depending upon the severity of your condition, treatment would he prepared by your doctors.

Treatment of PCOD:

A patient sitting and listening to a doctor in the hospital.

The treatment of PCOD is mostly symptomatic. Medicated drugs would be provide by your doctor to  promote ovulation, regulate menstrual cycles and to treat it’s symptoms.

Apart form it, the most important step in your treatment is being fit and healthy.

  • Surgery
  • Have a healthy and rich diet
  • Avoid packaged and processed food
  • Take estrogen and progesterone pills, if allowed by your doctor
  • Metformin can help to control PCOD, only if followed by a healthy diet
  • Exercise and yoga should be an unavoidable part of your daily regime
  • Maintain a healthy weight

Home remedies:

  • Aloe Vera – It is one of the best natural sources to treat PCOD. It hinders the growth of cysts and prevents further formation of cysts also.

It is also quite helpful in the management of hormonal imbalance and promotes regular periods also.

  • Fennel seeds – It contains many medicinal properties. Along with other benefits, it can be very helpful to prevent the formation of cysts in the ovaries.
  • Fenugreek seeds – It has many benefits, which makes it a good natural ingredients for hair, stomach etc. But, do you know that fenugreek can also be used and is quite beneficial to normalise the hormonal levels? If no, then try it.
  • Fish oil – We all know fish oil is quite rich in Omega -3 fatty acids, and it is also helpful in the reduction of hormonal imbalances.
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