Female Reproductive Health- Know About PCOD
What is PCOD or PCOS?
The terms Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD) are commonly used interchangeably. It is a hormonal problem commonly seen in young girls and ladies.
What are the symptoms of PCOD?
- Irregular cycles
- Hirsutism (excess facial/body hair in females)
- Excessive acne
- Excessive scalp hair loss
- Lack of, or infrequent ovulation resulting in difficulty to conception
- Ovarian Cysts or enlarged ovaries in ultrasound
- High levels of testosterone
- Chronic pelvic pain
How common is PCOD?
PCOD is most common hormonal problem/endocrine disorders in females in reproductive age group. Almost 10-15 % of girls and women have PCOD.
What is Hirsutism?
Hirsutism is the excess growth hairs over face or other body parts in females. Women affected by PCOD commonly experience hirsutism due to increased levels of the male hormones called androgens/testosterone.
Who all are at increased risk for developing PCOD?
- Indian girls and women are in general at higher risk as compared to other races
- Ladies who are overweight/obese
- Ladies with family background of PCOD (Who have sisters/mothers/aunts with PCOD)
- Ladies with family background of diabetes
What causes PCOD?
An exact cause of PCOD is yet to be determined. There may be a genetic link; that this condition is passed through generations.
Studies show that a large number of women with PCOD also have insulin resistance, and that insulin resistance can alter or negatively affect hormone levels, causing infertility and other cycle irregularities.
What is Insulin resistance?
Insulin resistance is a condition common to PCOD in which the tissues of the body become less responsive to the hormone insulin.
If left untreated, these people are at risk of developing diabetes in future. If diagnosed appropriately, there are treatments available which can prevent the progression to diabetes.
Are depression and anxiety common in women with PCOD?
Recent studies show that many women with PCOD suffer some type of depression or anxiety issues. This is believed to be caused by the possible link between hormone imbalances and depression.
How do you make the diagnosis of PCOD?
In order for your doctor to make the diagnosis of PCOD he/she will have to obtain a detailed medical history. In addition blood tests for various hormones and ultrasound pelvis are required.
What all health hazards are associated with PCOD?
It’s so important to understand the long-term health risks associated with PCOD. Not all women with PCOD will develop all of these, but PCOD does increase your risk.
- Endometrial hyperplasia and/or endometrial cancer
- Type 2 diabetes
- Sleep Apnea
- High blood pressure and High cholesterol
- Heart disease
Regular monitoring of PCOD and its symptoms are so important. Regular blood tests including blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides are important.
What is the lifestyle precautions advised for PCOD ladies?
All patients of PCOD should follow a healthy lifestyle. Those who are overweight/obese, losing weight in these ladies make marked relief in their symptoms. Ladies with PCOD should follow a healthy diet and should do regular exercises.
What is the treatment of PCOD?
With proper treatment many of the symptoms can be controlled and possibly even eliminated. With appropriate treatment hirsutism, acne, irregular periods, weight gain, and infertility all can be treated.
All women with PCOD should seek the care of an Endocrinologist to optimize their health and prevent progression of symptoms.
Can ladies with PCOD get pregnant?
Women with PCOD generally have irregular, infrequent, or even absent ovulation. Without ovulation there is no egg or ovum that is available for fertilization.
Also, there is increased risk of miscarriage in women with PCOD. Your doctor can provide you with medications that can help you ovulate, in a process called ovulation induction.