Dealing With Poly Cystic Ovarian Disease
Poly Cystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD) or Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome is a common hormonal/ lifestyle disorder that causes hormonal imbalance, which leads to issues with periods, ovulation and fertility. Characterised by irregular or prolonged periods, this condition causes androgen (male hormone) to rise and the ovaries develop numerous fluid-filled cysts (follicles), failing to regularly release eggs.
What happens in PCOD?
Hormones are chemical messengers of the body that trigger different body processes and signal the release of another hormone. In PCOD, for reasons not yet determined, the sex hormones go off balance. Ovaries, which generally make a tiny amount of androgens or male sex hormones or androgens start producing more, which leads stopping of ovulation, acne break-out, and excess facial/ body hair.
The body may also develop a problem in using insulin (a condition called insulin resistance), which results in elevated sugar levels and increased chances of diabetes.
The most way to manage this condition is early diagnosis and treatment, along lifestyle changes and weight loss. This can prevent long-term complications like infertility, heart diseases and type 2 Diabetes.
PCOD can present different symptoms and it is recommended that you consult a doctor if you notice any of the following signs:
The most common symptom of PCOD is erratic, infrequent and prolonged menstrual cycles.
Excess body and facial hair due to raised levels of androgen
Increase in body weight and difficulty in losing weight
Thinning Hair/ balding of scalp
Difficulty in getting pregnant
How is PCOD diagnosed?
A Gynaecologist can diagnose PCOD by:
Assessing symptoms and menstrual cycles pattern.
Physical examination to look for signs including excessive body hair
Assessing like high blood pressure, weight and body mass index (BMI)
Investigations to check blood sugar, insulin, and hormone levels
Hormone tests to check thyroid problems
A pelvic ultrasound check for cysts in the ovaries
How is PCOD treated?
A lifestyle disorder, PCOD can be managed through lifestyle changes including:
Eating right at the right time
Self-management of PCOD
Along with regular medications, one can actively and effectively control PCOD by:
Ensuring regular exercise.
The best and the easiest of exercises is brisk walking for 40 minutes a day. This not only burns calories and keeps the body weight in check, but also prevents a whole lot of health problems including heart ailments, hypertension and diabetes. It also improves blood circulation and keeps the bones and muscles healthy.
Adopting a healthy eating habit can make a lot of difference to one’s body and body weight. Include vegetables, small fish, dairy, nuts, seeds, fruits, green leafy vegetables, lentils and lean protein meat in the diet. Drink plenty of water (at least 2-3 litres) through out the day. And yes, eat right at the right time. Skipping meals can lead to unhealthy weight gain.
Quit drinking and smoking, Alcohol can worsen the problem.
At times, birth-control pills are prescribed to manage PCOD. One may need to seek the treating Gynaecologist’s advice if planning for pregnancy.
It is important to follow-up with the doctor to ensure that the treatment is working and everything is fine.
Remember, it will take time to treat the condition and symptoms to go off completely. Do not get depressed; it will go off. And yes, stress will only worsen the condition.