PCOD (Polycystic Ovarian Disease)

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

pcos-cimarWhat is a PCOD or PCOS? How it can be treated?

PCOD or PCOC (Polycystic Ovarian Disease or Syndrome) is a medical problem in which the level of sex hormones in a women becomes abnormal. This will cause improper development of the follicle which does not grow beyond a point, forming multiple cysts in the ovary and improper ovulation. These cysts are mostly benign in nature.

The different symptoms of PCOD can be treated by medical endocrinologist, reproductive endocrinologist, dermatologist, psychologist and/or psychiatrist and dietician. Skin related problem need to be treated by a dermatologist and infertility related issues needs to be tested by reproductive endocrinologist.

Surgical management of PCOD

Doctors may go for surgical management of PCOD essentially for restoring ovulation. In fact, many laparoscopic methods such as electrocautery, laser drilling, multiple biopsy, etc are being used today. Laparoscopic ovarian drilling is considered in women with resistant PCOD or surgical management via ovarian drilling may be beneficial in cases where in the patient is resistant to certain drugs, according to Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC). Potential complications or long-term effects of ovarian drilling can reduce the ovarian function. So it’s important that the patients are correctly selected prior to the procedure.

How healthy lifestyle and hormone therapy control PCOD?

Leading a healthy lifestyle which results in weight loss is the primary solution for PCOD. However, even then many fail to lose weight or do not get ovulation (even after weight loss); at this juncture, doctors may try medication to trigger ovulation. If a PCOD affected person is not planning pregnancy, she may use hormone therapy to control ovary hormones; to correct the menstrual cycle problems, hormones are used to keep the endometrial lining from building up for too long. Hormone therapy is also used for male type hair growth and acne. So if your effort to lose weight and medicine do not help restart ovulation, you may request your doctor to look at other treatments.

Balanced diet and weight management for PCOD

A healthy lifestyle is lot about eating a balanced diet that has lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and the required amount of fat. One must do some sort of an activity to control weight and feel better. Smoking must be avoided as women who smoke regularly show high levels of hormones hence higher complications from PCOD. Managing weight is the most important aspect to balance your hormones and start the normal menstrual cycle and ovulation.

Insulin Resistant PCOD

This is by far the most common form of PCOD (referred to as Type 1) as high level of ​insulin ​hamper ovulation and stimulate ovaries. Those with Insulin Resistant PCOD may have a greater potential for developing ​full fledged ​diabetes and higher hormone levels. It would lead to an increased weight gain, while ​the ​excess hormone could induce hair loss or facial hair growth. Normally, any improvement for Type 1 PCOD is gradual, over 6-9 months.

Unusual gain or loss in body weight is another visible aspect of PCOD. This is due to – insulin resistance (when cells of the body do not respond properly to the hormone insulin) – which leads to type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes and pre diabetes. The scenario is associated with obesity as high insulin levels raise the production of male hormones, which cause weight gain around the abdomen (like men). Researchers say this is why instead of a pear shape, women with PCOD have more of an apple shape.

Fertility and PCOD

PCOD generally induces a woman’s body to produce high levels of hormones, male hormones, which can interfere with the development and regular release of eggs (anovulation). It would also cause a woman to miss her menstrual period or to have irregular periods. Such a scenario makes it very difficult for a woman to conceive naturally. Some women also face a higher risk of miscarriage even though this does not mean that all women with PCOD are infertile; some may experience reduced fertility or “sub fertility” (they may take longer to conceive).

Mood swings in PCOD patients

A commonly seen symptom of PCOD is mood swings​. The ​mental health of a woman with PCOD is shaky and the condition can cause severe mood swings at any point. She ​may fall into a depressed mood ​without any particular triggering factor​. ​Emotional outbursts and breakdowns are recurrent incidents at this phase. The hormonal imbalance along with frustration and stress due to disturbed sleeping​ pattern​ ​is responsible for this unpredictable state of mind.​ ​PCOD comes with elevated levels of anxiety that doesn’t develop due to a particular rational reason. This anxiety is caused by the chemical changes in the body.

Fatigue – worst symptom of PCOD

Fatigue is perhaps the worst symptom of PCOD; most often it leaves women exhausted and anxious while many complain of an intense desire to sleep, severe muscle fatigue, headaches, etc. Many even get obstructive sleep apnea. Additional causes of fatigue include an underactive thyroid, low vitamin B12 and anemia. Some may even be suffering from hormonal imbalances that can lead to rapid changes in blood sugar and insulin levels – which are not signs of “normal” sluggishness but of insulin resistance. The ‘afternoon slump’ reduces one’s ability to complete even routine tasks.

Common symptom of PCOD – Acne

Acne is another common symptom of PCOD, generally seen in many. As PCOD increases hormone levels, it causes sebaceous glands (located within the hair follicle to lubricate the skin to produce too much of the oily sebum, resulting in acne (lesions or cysts forming on the skin). This normally occurs in areas where there are more sebaceous glands – like the face, back and upper part of the chest. Sometimes, instead of small bumps on the skin, many get tender knots under the skin which can be painful.

Production of male hormones – Hyperandrogenism and PCOD

PCOD can cause hyperandrogenism (when the body produces too many hormones or male hormones) and if hair follicles are androgen-sensitive, it may lead to thinning and loss of hair on the scalp. Conversely, it could also lead to an increase in the growth of body and facial hair. Studies show that PCOD is the most common endocrine-related cause of female pattern hair loss (FPHL).

Irregular period (monthly cycle of ovulation and menstruation) for PCOD patient

One of the most common symptoms of Poly cystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOD) is an irregular period as higher levels of androgens and excess insulin can disrupt the monthly cycle of ovulation and menstruation. Many women who suffer from PCOD experience ‘irregular’ or ‘no period’ at all. In normal case, the average menstrual cycle is 28 days with one ovulation though experts consider periods between 21 and 35 days also as ‘normal’. Thus, an ‘irregular’ period cycle can be loosely defined as: eight or less menstrual cycles per year or menstrual cycles longer than 35 days.

Ask the doctor regarding PCOS

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