What is PCOD (Polycystic Ovarian Disease)?
PCOD (Polycystic Ovarian Disease) is a disease condition in women wherein ovaries produce a large number of immature or partially mature follicles. The complication arises over a while when the immature follicles start forming cysts inside the ovaries. Eventually, ovaries enlarge and start secreting high levels of androgens (male hormones), leading to the following.
- 1. Irregularities in the menstrual cycle
- 2. Loss of hair
- 3. Infertility
- 4. Abnormal gain of weight.
PCOD is slightly different from PCOS as PCOD can be controlled using various lifestyle modifications and recommended diets.
Treatment options of PCOS
Non-pharmacological treatment method
Treatment goals for treating PCOS consider the following to be resolved:
- 1. Correcting anovulation
- 2. Inhibiting the mechanism of action of hormone androgens
- 3. Reducing insulin resistance
Weight reduction method: For treating obese patients suffering from PCOS, weight reduction works a lot. Weight loss help in the following ways:
- 1. Decreases the levels of hormones like androgen, LH (luteinizing hormone), and insulin levels.
- 2. Help in regulating the process of ovulation
- 3. Improving the chances of pregnancy
Pharmacological Methods to treat PCOS
Anovulation: The process wherein an ovum or egg (ovum) is not released from the ovary during the menstrual cycle. It can be treated using the medication Clomiphene to induce ovulation in people with PCOS. They are recommended at a dose of 50 mg daily for 5 days.
The medication may have certain side effects like:
- 1. Ovary enlargement
- 2. OHSS (Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome)
- 3. Multiple pregnancies
- 4. Hot flashes
- 5. GI distention (gastrointestinal distention or stomach enlargement)
- 6. Bloating
- 7. Abdominal discomfort
Other medications like antidiabetic agents are added to the important drug is clomiphene. THe combination yield enhances the outcome. Antidiabetic drugs help in improving the following:
- 1. Fertility
- 2. Deal with insulin resistance
- 3. Reduce levels of circulating hormones, mainly androgen
Type of hormones are mainly made of peptides hence called peptide hormones. They regulate the functioning of ovaries in females and, therefore, become crucial for the development of reproductive organs and genitals’ normal growth.
The gonadotropins like HMG (Human menopausal gonadotropin) and FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) can induce ovulation in case other therapies like clomiphene and metformin fail to function.
Hormone-responsive breast cancer is treated with aromatase inhibitors like Letrozole
Decreasing the levels of androgen may help in improving complications related to PCOS. Antiandrogens can achieve decreased androgen levels. Some of the examples of anti-andrgens include:
- 1. Spironolactone
- 2. Flutamide
- 3. Finasteride
These antiandrogens work by reducing acne and hirsutism.
Another Therapy include
Medroxyprogesterone acetate: MPA helps women suffering from PCOS with amenorrhea and abnormal uterine bleeding.
Causes of PCOD
Various hormonal, genetic and environmental factors lead to PCOD.
There is almost a 50% chance of a woman getting PCOD if her immediate female relatives are already suffering from PCOD. With PCOD, there are higher chances of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Insulin resistance and Lifestyle changes
According to the estimations, 70% of women suffering from PCOD also have the problem of insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas and helps use the sugar from the dietary food intake to make energy. When a person has insulin resistance, the cells cannot use the dietary sugars and meet the body’s energy demands.
Factors that cause Insulin Resistance:
- 1. Genetic factors
- 2. Obesity – overweight (due to a sedentary lifestyle)
- 3. Inflammation
Symptoms of PCOS
- 1. Enlarged ovaries with numerous small cysts
- 2. Irregular menstrual cycles
- 3. Pelvic pain
- 4. Hirsutism
- 5. Alopecia
- 6. Acne
- 7. Acanthosis nigricans
- 8. Skin tags
How common is PCOS?
PCOS is common pathology related to the endocrine system of the body in females in their reproductive age worldwide. The combination of diseases leads to the highly prevalent syndrome in India and affects almost 25% of females.
Complications that arise in females suffering from PCOS
- 1. Infertility
- 2. Gestational diabetes ( Increased blood pressure at the time of pregnancy)
- 3. Miscarriage
- 4. Premature births
- 5. Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (fat getting accumulated in the liver cause its severe inflammation)
- 6. Metabolic syndrome (wherein levels of blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol become significantly high, causing an increased risk of cardiovascular disease)
- 7. Type 2 diabetes
- 8. Sleep apnea
- 9. Depression
- 10. Anxiety issues
- 11. Eating disorders
- 12. Excess uterine bleeding
- 13. Endometrial cancer
- 14. Obesity
Difference between PCOD vs PCOS
In PCOD, the ovaries start releasing immature eggs that lead to hormonal imbalances and swollen ovaries, among other symptoms. In PCOS, endocrine issues cause the ovaries to produce excess androgens, making eggs prone to cysts.
PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)
PCOD (Polycystic Ovarian Disease)
The condition cannot be reversed
Condition can be reversed using medications
Endocrine disorder wherein ovaries have immature follicles
Metabolic disorder that occurs as a result of hormonal imbalance
More severe than PCOD
Affects less number of people
A common problem among women
Affects fertility of women
Fertility is not affected
Usually contain more than 10 cysts
Fewer cysts are present in ovaries
Diagnosis of PCOS
There are no particular diagnostic tests to confirm that a female is suffering from PCOS. The doctor usually starts with a discussion on medical history, regularity of menstrual periods and weight alterations over time. A physical examination of the patient might check if there is excessive hair growth, unusual acne, and insulin resistance.
Pelvic examination –To inspect the patient’s reproductive organs and associated abnormalities.
Blood tests – For measuring hormone levels, fasting cholesterol and levels of triglycerides.
Ultrasound – To visualize any physical abnormality in the ovaries and uterine lining.
Additional tests might be recommended like :
- 1. Blood pressure check
- 2. Test for glucose tolerance
- 3. Levels of cholesterol
How to cure PCOD at home?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOD) is a disease with no specific medications for its permanent cure. Certain medications and lifestyle changes will help manage symptoms:
Consumption of grains and Whole Foods: Help in maintaining the levels of insulin to keep PCOD in control.
Controlled intake of carbohydrates: Taking a diet rich in less in carbs but high in fibre and proteins helps with PCOD.
Add anti-inflammation-rich foods: Tomatoes, tree nuts, leafy vegetables, fatty fish, and olives have anti-inflammatory properties.
Try to keep a high iron intake: To prevent iron deficiency and anemia, add iron-rich spinach, liver, eggs, and broccoli to the diet.
Increase magnesium intake: To help with good sleep and maintain insulin levels, take magnesium-rich bananas, almonds, and spinach into the diet.
Fibre intake is necessary: To help with easy digestion, have broccoli, lentils, beans, sprouts, and avocados.
Avoiding coffee: Caffeine causes hormonal imbalance; therefore, it should be avoided.
Consume soy products: To help balance estrogen levels in the body.
Avoiding fatty junk: To prevent weight gain and cause symptoms of PCOD to become more severe, fatty and all kinds of junk should be avoided.
What can be expected in an appointment with a doctor?
Before getting an appointment, take the following measures:
- 1. Please list all health and appearance-related concerns and give them the most priority.
- 2. Take the entire information collected on the day of the appointment to the doctor.
- 3. Consider bringing a friend or family member with you on a doctor’s visit.
- 4. Try to give time to the doctor and keep the doctor updated on all your conditions or discomforts.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the main cause of PCOD?
Many reasons, like genetic factors, lifestyle, and insulin resistance, can be considered the cause of PCOD. But the exact cause cannot be pointed out in any patient as multiple factors in a patient might lead to the disease. There is various evidence of genetics playing a major role in causing PCOS.
Is PCOD a serious problem?
PCOD is not considered a serious problem when compared to PCOS. Serious complications usually arise in patients with PCOS, like heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and endometrial cancer.
What are PCOD symptoms in females?
Some of the indications of PCOD in females:
- 1. Irregular periods
- 2. No periods at all.
- 3. Difficulty in getting pregnant
- 4. Hirsutism – excess of hair on the face, back or chest.
- 5. Weight gain.
- 6. Hair loss
- 7. Oily skin
- 8. Acne
How can I treat PCOS naturally at home?
- 1. Diet changes
- 2. Balance carb and protein intake
- 3. Whole foods
- 4. Anti-inflammatory foods
- 5. Fibre-rich diet
- 6. Cut out Caffeine
- 7. Supplements like Inositol, Chromium, Cinnamon, Turmeric, Zinc, vitamin D and calcium, Cod liver oil
- 8. Adaptogen herbs – Maca root, Ashwagandha, Licorice root, Chasteberry, tulsi
- 9. Probiotics – For better digestion and healthy gut
- 10. Exercises to maintain a healthy weight – Swimming, long-distance running, and light aerobics
- 11. Sleep balance – Proper sleep at night (8-10 hours of sleep)
Avoid fatty foods
- 1. Reduce stress – Yoga, proper sleep, and no caffeine help lower stress levels. Give time for self-care and relaxation.
- 2. Consider acupuncture – An alternative PCOS treatment that helps by
- 3. Enhancing blood flow to the ovaries
- 4. Reducing levels of the hormone cortisol
- 5. Ease the weight loss
- 6. Improve sensitivity to pancreatic insulin
Can PCOD be cured?
Certain medications can manage the worsening symptoms of PCOD, but a permanent cure is still not present.