Home Features What is PCOD/PCOS: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

What is PCOD/PCOS: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

by Dr. Himani Singh
PCOD-and-PCOS
  • Introduction
  • What is PCOD?
  • What is PCOS?
  • How PCOD and PCOS are different
  • What causes PCOS/PCOD
  • How does PCOS/PCOD affect Hormones?
  • Symptoms of PCOS
  • Complications due to PCOD/PCOS
  • How is PCOS/PCOD Diagnosed?
  • Tips to cut down the risk of PCOD/ PCOS
  • Home remedies for PCOS/PCOD
  • Conclusion

Introduction

The problem of irregular periods in girls and women is very common these days and to an extent, it’s due to lifestyle disorders. The two words PCOD (Poly Cystic Ovarian Disease) and PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome) have taken the world of women by storm. In India, these diseases showing a major concern in a huge chunk of young females.

We often hear PCOD and PCOS resulting from irregular period problems among women. Statistical data suggests that in India, 1 in 8 women suffer from PCOD and 1 in 5 women from PCOS.

Generally, people use PCOD and PCOS interchangeably when both are very different conditions. Both conditions are related to the ovaries and cause by hormonal disturbances. But in both cases, there are many significant differences.

All women have two ovaries which are responsible for releasing eggs alternately every month. These ovaries also produce different types of female hormones. These hormones are responsible for many things like sexual development, reproduction, regulating bone and muscle growth, promoting hair growth, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, etc. Apart from these ovaries are also responsible for produce very minute quantities of androgens or male hormones.


Androgen

People generally get confused about PCOD and PCOS as both types of diseases associate with ovaries. As we know, women have two ovaries that are responsible for releasing eggs alternately every month.
PCOS is an endocrine system disorder whereas PCOD is developed by the hormonal imbalance in the body.

The exact cause of both is unknown but hormonal imbalances and genetics play an important role in both kinds of disease.It is very important that women get to know about this disease at an early stage so they don’t suffer from the problems caused by this disease.

What is PCOD?

In PCOD, ovaries release a lot of immature or partially mature eggs. They, eventually, turn into cysts. This disorder is usually a result of an imbalance of hormones in the reproductive system. In this condition ovaries usually become enlarged and secrete large amounts of androgens that can affect a woman’s fertility

What is PCOS?

PCOS is a metabolic disorder that is more severe than PCOD. In this condition, ovaries start producing higher levels of androgen, which interferes with the development and release of the eggs. Some of the eggs develop into cysts, which are the little sacs filled with liquid.

This stops the release of the egg leading to an-ovulation because instead of being released during ovulation, these cysts build up in the ovaries and at times even get enlarged.

Women who suffer from PCOS produce higher levels of androgen as compare to a normal level, the male hormone in the body which impacts the monthly ovulation cycle. In men, the androgens hormone support sperm production on the other hand in women androgens produced in the ovaries and adrenal cortex and converted into estrogen.

As we all know that estrogen hormone is responsible for the development of female secondary sex characteristics and also plays a role in participating in the thickening of the endometrium and regulating the menstrual cycle. Androgen that does not convert to estrogen plays a role in increasing sex drive and slowing bone loss.

How PCOD and PCOS are different??

Even though they have similar causative factors, but still PCOD and PCOS are quite different from each other. Both these diseases link to ovaries. You can say PCOS is an endocrinal problem which is quite serious in nature. However PCOD is more of a temporary problem, associated with hormonal imbalance. Thus, you can correct it easily with the right treatment and exercise.

PCOD is more common as compared to PCOS. Around the globe, one third of women suffer from PCOD. Observations state that patients with PCOS are less in number. Women with PCOS are at a higher risk for pregnancy and delivery complications. Women with PCOS have a three fold time risk of miscarriage in early pregnancy.

Sad-woman

But on the other hand, PCOD does not lead to infertility and obstacle towards pregnancy. Those with PCOD don’t have significant fertility issues. With a bit of medical help, they can conceive successfully.

Signs of PCOS are visible in the early stages of teenage. Acne, excessive hair growth, and weight gain are apparent from a younger age due to metabolic disturbances. Gestational diabetes during pregnancy is a concern many women with PCOS face.

In gestational diabetes during pregnancy, hormones from the placenta block the body’s production of the hormone insulin. Thus, it’s the reason why pregnant women suffer from high blood sugar levels. Although this condition is curable, and sometimes it ends on its own. In some women after pregnancy could be converting into type 2 diabetes.

It has often been seen that women who have PCOS are more prone to depression and anxiety. This could be a result of higher levels of androgen hormones.

What causes PCOS/PCOD

Various researches state that genetic and environmental factors are more responsible for the development of polycystic ovary syndrome. However, there’s still no clear evidence stating what exactly what causes PCOS/PCOD. Some research on animal models shows that in some cases, PCOS/PCOD may be caused by genetic or chemical changes occurring in the womb.

As we know PCOS/PCOD is a genetic component. People who have a mother or sister with PCOS/PCOD are more likely to develop PCOS/PCOD than someone whose relatives do not have the condition. This means that if a woman is diagnosed with PCOS/PCOD, her sister or daughter have a 40 percent more chance of it.

Sugar is the primary source in our body. Though, you might want to regulate the amount of sugar in your body, using insulin. People often take insulin injections but naturally, the pancreas is responsible for the secretion of insulin. A person with insulin resistance is unable to use insulin efficiently. Excess insulin can be the reason for androgen production which can affect a woman’s ability to ovulate.

How does PCOS/PCOD Affect Hormones?

PCOS/PCOD can disturb both the hormone’s balance level, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH).

Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is responsible for the development of follicle and egg. This means that it stimulates the ovarian follicle, causing an egg to grow.

Luteinizing hormone (LH) plays the role in controlling the menstrual cycle in women. It triggers the release of an egg from the ovary. This process is what we call ovulation. So, if these hormones are disturbed, a small cyst can be formed in the ovary, which can disrupt the woman’s hormonal balance.

Symptoms of PCOS

Signs and symptoms of PCOS vary from women to women. If you are experiencing at least two of these signs listed below then you should go for a diagnosis of PCOS/PCOD:

  • Irregular and infrequent periods. Occur every 2 to 3 months (Amenorrhea)
  • Heavy bleeding (Menorrhagia)
  • Weight gain especially around the waist. Additionally, you also might have a hard time losing it.
  • Unwanted body and facial hair growth (Hirsutism).
  • Hormone Level Changes can trigger headaches in some women.
  • Due to Excess Peripheral Androgen, women may suffer from stubborn acne that refuses to heal with the usual treatments.
  • Dark patches and pigmentation of skin around the neck, groin, and under the breasts region.
  • Male-pattern baldness.
  • Ovaries might be enlarged due to enlargement of ovaries it might fail to function regularly.

Complications due to PCOD/PCOS

  • High cholesterol (heart disease, high blood pressure and even heart attack).
  • Insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes.
  • Mood disorders (depression and bipolar disorder).
  • Obesity (BMI over 30 and waist circumference greater than 35).
  • Sleep apnea.
  • Infertility.
  • Endometrial cancer (especially when you’re older).
  • Increased risk of breast cancer.

How is PCOS/PCOD Diagnosed?

As of yet, there’s no specific solution in sight, to cure diseases like PCOD and PCOC. However, managing both diseases is easy. While the right kind of diet, along with excercise can treat PCOD, PCOS involves the treatment of several different factors causing the syndrome rather than just one.

  1. You cannot diagnose PCOS/PCOD by a single test. If you visit your doctor for taking advice related to this problem then your doctor will start asking about your symptoms and medical history.
  2. Your doctor will advise you for physical examination, pelvic exam, blood tests (to measure your hormone levels (androgens and testosterone), blood sugar, and cholesterol), ultrasound (to assess the ovaries’ appearance).
  3. Through an ultrasound, your physician will check the condition of your ovaries. Ultrasounds provide a look for cysts, tumors, and measure the lining of your uterus.

Tips to cut down the risk of PCOD/ PCOS

No cure exists for PCOS /PCOD, but treatments can help relieve symptoms, improve the quality of life, and reduce the risk.

Blood-test-and-Ultrasound-collage
  1. Maintaining a healthy weight can take away from diabetes. Weight management is the best way to manage PCOD/PCOS. Per day maintaining regular exercise habit helps lower blood sugar levels and help a lot in treating the disease.
  2. Eating high-fiber carbohydrates in the diet helps slow the digestive process and control blood sugar levels.
    PCOD/PCOS patients might experience water retention. By eating small frequent meals and taking a lot of water throughout the day, patients can be overcome this water retention problem.
  3. Birth control pills that have a combination of estrogen and progesterone. The combination of these hormones regulates the menstrual cycles of women. It may take several months to begin noticing a difference.
  4. Several skin treatments are available for acne, pigmentation, and hair growth. Many ways are available for removing unwanted hair like tweezing, shaving, electrolysis, and laser therapy.
  5. With the right diet many women have reported remarkable improvement in PCOD/PCOS. Studies claim that seed cycling, i.e., consuming certain nuts and seeds during the menstrual cycle can help combat PCOD and PCOS. The diet should be low on sugars and carbohydrates. High protein and high fiber intake are always recommended by doctors for PCOD/PCOS patients.

Home remedies for PCOS/PCOD

If you are undergoing medical treatment for this disease, then along with it, you can also take benefit from these home remedies:

Foods good for PCOD PCOS patients
  • Cinnamon comes from the bark of cinnamon trees. Cinnamon has the ability to stabilize your blood sugar level and reduce insulin resistance. Many researches have found that this condiment has properties for cure type 2 diabetes and safe for normalize your cycles and boost you’re conceiving.
  • It has been shown that fenugreek seed conception is beneficial for the significant reduction in ovary volume. Data of many types of research shown that patients reported that fenugreek seed supplements are very effective for the treatment of PCOS/PCOD. Fenugreeks seed extract has been shown to help increase insulin-sensitizing activity and peripheral utilization of insulin, correcting increased androgen hormones. It also play important role in reducing hypercholesterolemia.
  • Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric, which is known for decreasing insulin resistance and acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent.
  • University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine reported that adequate intake of vitamin D levels could help women with PCOS/PCOD conceive. Vitamin D is beneficial for regulating the menstrual cycle and promote ovulation.
  • Flax seeds are full of fiber, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids and lignans. Flax seeds help in utilizing the glucose and insulin in our body or we can say that effective for cut outside effects of PCOS/PCOD.

Conclusion

PCOD/PCOS triggered in women due to a combination of environmental and genetic factors. The main environmental factors are including environmental toxins, diet and nutrition, and geography. There are a variety of risk factors, some of which include excessive weight, family history, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, mood disorders, Infertility and endometrial cancer, etc.

Diagnosis is generally based on lack of ovulation, excessively high levels of androgen, and cysts in the ovarian region of the reproductive system. By ultrasound, your doctors easily detect cysts in your ovary. PCOD is curable but women with PCOS have less chance for a cure, but you can manage the symptoms of PCOS.

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