Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD): Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

I am sure among your peer group, family or friends, you must have noticed one or more females are suffering from PCOD (Polycystic Ovarian Disease). This problem is most common in urban areas. Thanks to our modern lifestyle. PCOD is one of the reasons of female infertility and also disturb overall well - being of women. PCOD can also become cause of certain health conditions like diabetes and blood pressure.

Dr Disha Sridhar

I am a Gynaecologist Obstetrician ( MD, DNB OBGYN )with an emphasis on INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE.

A Lady Comes to Gyneacologist for PCOS treatment

Before getting into details of PCOD (Polycystic Ovarian Disease), firstly let’s understand what is PCOD?

What is PCOD?

Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD) is a disease of hormonal imbalance. It is caused when the ovaries (the body organ that produces and releases eggs) create excessive male hormones. If you have PCOD, then your ovaries start producing unusually high levels of hormones, also known as androgens. The higher amounts of androgens happening in PCOD interfere with egg development and release. Instead of the eggs maturing, cysts (little sacs filled with liquid) develop. This results in irregular or missed periods, hair loss and abnormal weight gain.

What Are The Symptoms of PCOD (Polycystic Ovarian Disease)?

The most common signs and symptoms of PCOD in females are:

  1. Irregular periods: Missing periods or abnormal menstruation includes missing periods or having a period at all. It can also involve heavy bleeding during periods.
  2. Acne: PCOD causes acne problems, especially, on the back, chest and face. These acnes do not necessarily emerge during teenage years. But they may continue for years.
  3. Obesity: The most found symptom in women with PCOD is being overweight and having trouble losing weight.
  4. Abnormal hair growth: Excessive facial hair growth on the arms, chest and abdomen affects around 70% of women with PCOD.
  5. Skin darkening: Patches of dark skin start appearing, especially in the areas of the neck, armpits and under the breasts.
  6. Hair Thinning: Women with PCOD may start losing patches of hair on their heads or also start going bald.
  7. Skin tags: Skin tags are the little flaps of extra skin. They're mostly found on the neck, in the armpits or under the breasts in women with PCOD.
  8. Infertility: Female infertility is also a sign of PCOD. Decreased frequency or lack of ovulation can result in not being able to conceive.
  9. Mood disorders: Anxiety, depression, distress and eating disorders can be found in women suffering from PCOD.
  10. Obstructive sleep apnea: A woman suffering from PCOD feels repeated pauses in breathing during sleep.

What Are The Causes of PCOD (Polycystic Ovarian Disease)?

The exact cause of PCOD is unknown. However, there seems to be a connection with lifestyle, family history and hormonal levels. Let’s check them out one by one:

  1. Lifestyle: Women who don’t keep track of their sleeping patterns, eat more of packaged food, are more exposed to chemicals and pesticides, and don’t workout much have more tendency to develop PCOD.
  2. Excessive insulin: Insulin is the hormone produced in the pancreas. It allows cells to use sugar and supply energy to the whole body. Excessive levels of insulin increase the production of androgens, like - testosterone in the ovaries. This causes difficulty with ovulation.
  3. Androgens: ‘Male hormones’, also known as male hormones are present in both men and women, but at much lower levels in women. Increased levels of androgens in women cause excessive hair growth, scalp hair loss and acne. This contributes to irregular periods and irregular ovulation.
  4. Heredity: Research has proved that PCOD may run in families. If any of your relatives such as mothers, sisters or aunts ever had PCOD, then the risk of developing PCOD in you can be often increased.

What Are The Risks Associated With PCOD?

If PCOD is not treated timely, then it can give birth to complicated diseases:

  •  Infertility
  •  Type 2 diabetes
  •  Abnormal uterine bleeding
  •  Depression
  •  Premature birth
  •  Miscarriage
  •  Endometrial Cancer

How to Diagnose PCOD in Women?

While treating PCOD, the gynaecologist will ask you about your medical history and may recommend certain tests:

  1. Pelvic examination: The doctor physically checks the reproductive organs for abnormalities or any growth.
  2. Blood Tests: The blood tests help you understand the hormone levels that include fasting lipid profile (to check the total cholesterol levels), fasting lipid profile, high-density lipoprotein (HDL)and other glucose tolerance tests.
  3. Imaging Test: Ultrasound imaging test checks the size of ovaries, the lining of cysts and the uterus in ovaries.

Treatments for PCOD Problems:

With slight lifestyle modifications, you can win the battle against PCOD. So, here are the remedies:

  1. Maintaining healthy weight: The women with PCOD must ensure that their BMI (Body Mass Index) should be ideal. It must be in the range of 18.5 to 24.9. Maintaining healthy body weight improves cholesterol levels, reduces high blood pressure and maintains ideal insulin and androgen levels that help restore the ovulation phase in the menstrual cycle.
  2. Limit carbohydrate’s consumption: If you have PCOD, then you are suggested to consume a low carbohydrate diet that helps in maintaining the insulin levels.
  3. Do regular exercises and be active:  If you have PCOD, then doing regular exercise or walking is a must for you. In case you don’t have much time for exercise, then make sure that you keep an active routine all day long. Keep your weight under control.

PCOD Diet: 

So, let’s talk in detail, about what to eat from each food group.

What Foods to Eat With PCOD?

  • Cereals: Oatmeal, quinoa, oats, muesli, barley, bran flakes, whole wheat porridge, brown bread and multigrain bread.
  • Pulses: Chana dal, beans, whole pulses, yellow moong and green moong.
  • Dairy Products: Skimmed milk, soy milk, paneer and tofu yoghurt.
  • Fruits: Watermelons, plums, peaches, berries, papaya, pears, oranges and apples.
  • Nuts: Flaxseeds, almonds and walnuts

What Food to Avoid With PCOD? 

  • Sugary snacks and drinks
  • Inflammatory foods like - processed and red meats.
  • Food high in refined carbohydrates like muffins and white breads.

Other medications include:

PCOD treatment usually starts with lifestyle changes like - weight loss, exercise or diet followed by certain treatments:

  1. Take medicines to regulate the menstrual cycle.
  2. If someone is experiencing infertility due to drugs, then treat it with fertility drugs.
  3. Lower excessive hair growth with laser treatments.
  4. Go for skin treatments for acne and pigmentation problems.
  5. Opt for laparoscopic treatment to destroy androgen-producing tissue in ovaries.

How True Healing Can Help You With PCOD Issues?

Here at True Healing, Dr Disha - the Best gynaecologist in Bangalore offers one-on-one counselling. It is a proven program that helps you to identify your own PCOD 'type' or 'root cause' of your hormone imbalance. She counsels you with the exact lifestyle changes you must adapt to improve your PCOS symptoms and hormone imbalance. So, what are you waiting for? Book an Online Gynaecologist consultation with Dr Disha and find the fastest and most effective way to kick-start new, healthy routines and rituals by letting her hold your hand and offer expert advice.

With this one-of-a-kind hormone program, you will receive daily emails and inspirational guidelines that will definitely help you with:

  • Weight loss

  • Better sleep with the elimination of hot flashes

  • Boosted energy

  • Hair growth (where they belong) and not (where they don’t belong)

  • Vanishing aches and pains

  • Beautiful skin and a Youthful experience

  • A renewed enthusiasm for life

  • Improved memory, focus and motivation

FAQ Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD) :

Q1. Can a woman get pregnant with PCOD?

Ans. Yes, a woman with PCOD can get pregnant. This requires planning and follow-up consultation with gynaecologist.

Q2. How to cure PCOD permanently?

Ans. PCOD is not a serious problem. However, there is no complete cure as well. With, lifestyle changes like - regular exercise, healthy weight and eating healthy food can be really helpful in controlling PCOD problems.

Q3. What is the most common symptom of PCOD?

Ans. Weight gain is the most common symptom of PCOD.

Q4. Can females develop PCOD problems post-marriage?

Ans. Yes, PCOD can trigger in women even post-marriage due to lifestyle and stress changes. 

Q5. Does a sexually active woman suffer from PCOD?

Ans. This is purely a myth. PCOD can occur in any woman whether they are sexually active or not.

Q6. What is the difference between PCOS and PCOD?

Ans. PCOD is a condition in which ovaries produce many mature eggs. This happens due to poor lifestyle, obesity, stress and hormonal imbalance, while, PCOS is a metabolic disorder that can lead to anovulation, where ovaries stop releasing eggs. 

Q7. If a woman is not planning a childbirth, then there should not be any concern about PCOD?

Ans. No, there are long-term bad impacts on health as well like - hypertension, cardiovascular disorder and diabetes 2.

Originally published July 13, 2019 by Dr Disha Sridhar

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