Of the many health issues that affect women around the world, PCOS/PCOD has become quite common. But because there is little knowledge out there, as to how to live with the condition, seek treatment, etc., many women are unable to live a healthy life.
Dr Sushma Tomar, consultant obstetrics and gynecology, at Fortis Hospital, Kalyan says that these conditions bring complications that deteriorate the quality of life among young women.
But what is the difference between PCOS and PCOD?
“In women with PCOS, their ovaries produce higher levels of androgen, which interferes with the development and release of eggs. Some of the eggs develop into cysts — which are the little sacs filled with liquid. Instead of being released during ovulation, these cysts build up in the ovaries and at times even get enlarged,” explains the doctor.
“PCOD (Polycystic Ovarian Disease) is a condition where the ovaries release a lot of immature or partially-mature eggs, which eventually turn into cysts. Some of the common symptoms are abdominal weight gain, irregular periods, male pattern hair loss, and infertility. In this condition, the ovaries usually become enlarged and secrete large amounts of androgens that can cause havoc with a woman’s fertility and her body,” she adds.
How to manage them?
Dr Tomar says that obesity is recognised as an important contributory factor in these conditions. “So, diet control, exercise, and monitored weight loss are the first line of treatment. Even 10 per cent weight loss helps with hormone imbalance management and in bringing body mass index to < 25. This also improves menstrual disorders, infertility, insulin resistance, Hirsutism, and acne.”
It should be understood that PCOD/PCOS is not a disease, but a “hormonal imbalance, where male dominating hormones increase, so oral contraceptive pills can control these hormonal changes”.
“Hormonal changes cause abnormal uterine bleeding, prolonged menses, and anovulation (absence of ovulation). For endometrial hyperplasia, sometimes endometrial biopsy has to be done. For young females with infertility, ovulation induction is done with hormones. Sometimes if the person is not responding to medicine, laparoscopic ovarian drilling is done. There are rare cases where if weight loss is not possible with diet and exercise, then bariatric surgery is prescribed. Anti-androgen medicines are used for cosmetic purposes in Hirsutism patients. Laser is also used for hair removal,” the doctor explains.
Ultimately, eating right and “avoiding certain carbohydrates and fats can help manage the symptoms”. “Try to consume whole foods which are free from sugar, hormones and preservatives; fruits, vegetables whole grains and legumes should be preferred. Moreover, plant-based proteins and unprocessed high carbohydrates can improve insulin sensitivity. Try to consume more fiber in your diet, reduce the consumption of coffee. Soy, turmeric, cinnamon vitamin-D3, calcium, zinc, primosa oil, and cod liver oil should be added to your diet,” suggests Dr Tomar.