Over the last few decades, several uncommon issues have become highly prevalent with each passing day. Among them is the PCOD (polycystic ovarian disease) problem in women. As per data, about one in five women suffer from this condition, but it mostly comes to light mainly after marriage, as women find it difficult to get pregnant. It must be highlighted that the PCOD problem for pregnancy is a condition that can be managed by treatment and lifestyle changes.
Polycystic Ovarian Disease is when the ovaries produce large amounts of immature eggs. This, over time, turns into cysts in the ovaries. Due to the presence of these cysts, the ovaries secrete huge quantities of androgens (male hormones) and also become enlarged, leading to many issues like abnormal weight gain and irregular menstrual cycles, due to which getting pregnant may become difficult, causing infertility. While there is currently no cure for this condition, it can be controlled and managed through lifestyle and diet modifications.
The PCOD causes irregular periods, delayed menstrual cycles with less bleeding or heavy menstrual bleeding, dark pigmentation on the skin, especially under the breasts, on the groin or neck, acne on the face, back and chest, hair falling out on the scalp or the hair gets thinner, excessive growth of hair on the back, chest, and belly and excessive weight gain, inability to get pregnant and sleep disorders like insomnia and depression.
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The exact reason some women have PCOD is not clear but what is seen is that it can be due to environmental, genetic, and physiological causes.
It is noticed that women with an unhealthy diet and a sedentary lifestyle are more prone to it than others. Those who take many over-the-counter supplements and hormone-changing medications also risk having PCOD. In some cases, it can run in families.
One of the physiological reasons that increase the risk of PCOD is excessive insulin production. High insulin levels increase androgen production and inhibit ovulation. Inflammation due to autoimmune disorders can also increase androgen levels. This causes an increase in body and facial hair, skin, and acne issues and poses a risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Women who have PCOD and go undiagnosed and untreated are more affected as many body functions become impaired. So I would request women with the symptoms mentioned above make an appointment with a gynecologists'. During the visit, an investigation of the medical history, lifestyle, diet, and if any OTC medications or supplements are taken is determined.
Blood tests are done to check for hormones, triglycerides, total cholesterol levels and glucose tolerance. An ultrasound imaging test may be recommended to find cysts in the ovaries and the uterus lining. If there are cysts, their size is checked to determine the line of treatment. Additional tests like the PCOD profile test may be recommended based on the findings of the reports.
The first line of PCOD treatment we recommend to our patients is making lifestyle changes. With that, managing the symptoms can vastly improve the quality of life. Some of the changes that we recommend are dietary changes, as it goes a long way in managing PCOD. Eliminating fatty and sugary foods is a top priority as it helps reduce weight and manage symptoms greatly. It also reduces the risk of other complications like diabetes, cholesterol, and cardiovascular diseases. Regular exercise is highly recommended as it helps reduce weight. Moving on to medication is the next choice if we don’t see much improvement in the PCOD symptoms during the subsequent visits.
You can get pregnant even with PCOD. Finally, I want to assure women with PCOD difficulties who have fertility issues that they can get pregnant even with PCOD. Several patients with PCOD have successfully become pregnant and delivered their babies at full term.
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