PCOD (Polycystic Ovarian Disease) also commonly referred to as PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) has impacted the lives of women significantly.
In our country, it is one of the major concerns that young women are dealing with. It mostly occurs at an early age, causing a severe concern both physically and emotionally. It is a normal hormonal disorder of unknown aetiology, affecting 5-10% of women of reproductive age. The average age group suffering from PCOD varies between 18 and 45 years.
Hence, it is of utmost importance for the young women to understand this disease at its initial days / start, causes and implications, so that they can handle the problem in a better manner.
PCOD occurs as multiple small cysts in the ovaries. As a result, it enlarges the ovary and leads to excessive production of androgen and oestrogen hormones leading to various bodily implications.
Many women have PCOD/PCOS but don’t know it. Approximately, up to 70 percent of women with PCOS do not know / or not diagnosed for PCOD
What causes PCOD
The exact cause of PCOD is still unknown. But following few are supposed to be the contributory factors
- Excess Insulin Production
- Excessive Production of Male Hormones
What are the symptoms of PCOD
- Menorrhagia (Heavy bleeding)
- Irregular periods, occurring every 2 to 3 months (amenorrhea)
- Hirsutism (Unusual body and facial hair growth)
- Uncontrolled weight gain around the waist area especially
- Pigmentation or darkening of the skin around the neck region (Acanthosis nigricans)
- Male-pattern baldness
- Prolonged / intermittent Headaches
Symptoms are person independent and by and large may vary. There could be one or more of the above listed symptoms. Body features can still mislead in diagnosing PCOD, since a healthy appearing person with normal parameters can still be affected by PCOD. Endocrine disorders affects many systems of the body. Nevertheless, the main pathology leading to the cause of the disease is Insulin Resistance and hyperinsulinemia.
Complications of PCOD / PCOS
Unmanaged PCOS can impact short and long term health and correspondingly may lead to numerous health manifestations. It’s associated with type 2 diabetes, infertility, cardiovascular disease, obesity, sleep apnea (disrupted breathing in sleep), non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and depression. Early diagnosis and treatment can help reduce these risks significantly.
When to see a doctor
It is recommended to See your doctor if:
- You’ve missed periods, and you’re not pregnant.
- You have symptoms of PCOS, such as hair growth on your face and body.
- You’ve been trying to get pregnant for more than 12 months but haven’t been successful.
- You have symptoms of diabetes, such as excess thirst or hunger, blurred vision, or unexplained weight loss.
What are the treatments options available for PCOD
The complete cure is yet to be determined. For now, controlling the disease by making lifestyle modifications. Multidisciplinary approach needs to be taken that involves the gynaecologist, endocrinologist, dietitian, dermatologist and infertility expert.
Other than these various other modalities available are:
- PCOS is treated aggressively for patients who are willing to conceive.
- Teenage patients are treated with hormones and metformin to regularize the periods and insulin resistance
- Medicines are available to treat insulin resistance.
- Hormones to correct menstrual cycles
- Fertility drugs are administered to infertile patients
- Surgery can be an option to improve fertility if other treatments don’t work.
It is advised to see your doctor if your body has skipped periods, or you have other PCOS symptoms like hair growth on your face or body. Also see a doctor if you’ve been trying to get pregnant for 12 months or more without success.