PCOD In Women - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment
Created by Dr. Surbhi Saini Updated on Dec 13, 2018
Polycystic ovarian disease/syndrome is a hormonal disorder that leads to the formation of multiple small cysts (small sacs filled with water). It is generally associated with infertility, obesity and certain masculine changes in the body. Let’s look a the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment, and the do’s and don’ts.
Symptoms Of PCOD/PCOS
The most common symptoms of PCOS are:
- Irregular menstrual cycle or delay in starting of menus in a girl with a family history of PCOD
- Hirsutism (excessive hair on the body, especially on the face like beard and moustaches)
- Infertility/difficulty in conceiving
Causes Of PCOD
Now let’s dig the probable causes of PCOD.
1. Raised levels of testosterone - Although all women make small amounts of testosterone; the male hormone but increased levels of this hormone can prevent the ovaries from releasing ova/egg regularly during the menstruation cycle.
2. Raised levels of prolactin and luteinising hormone - Increased levels of both these hormones also hinder the regular ova production.
3. High Insulin levels - Increased levels of insulin lead to excessive androgen secretion that interferes with ovaries ability to ovulate.
4. Obesity – overweight women are at higher risk since weight gain leads to insulin resistance leading to produce more oestrogen by fatty tissues causing ovulation disruption.
5. Hereditary - if one’s mother or sister have had PCOD, it’s likely that you could also have it.
A woman can be diagnosed with PCOS even if she has regular periods or normal androgen levels. This means women with PCOS can experience very different types of symptoms.
- Typical history - irregular menstrual cycle, scanty blood flow, need to take medication to induce the period
- Obesity, hirsutism
- On vaginal ultrasound, the ovaries appear enlarged and there are multiple small cysts
- Hormonal irregularities found in the blood test are- high LH, normal FSH, reversal of LH: FSH ratio, high DHEA-S
Dietary Guidelines For Women Diagnosed With PCOD
Diet is not always about pick and choose, it is also about when and how. Here are some do’s and don’ts regarding diet.
What To Eat?
- Eat loads of fruits and green vegetables on a daily basis
- Chicken and fish can be taken
- Drink at least 2 to 3 litres of water on a daily basis
- Include buttermilk, coconut water, vegetable soup, smoothies
- Include whole wheat products like wheat pasta, poha
- Rice if taken should be brown rice
- Millets like bajra, ragi, oats
- Walnuts and almonds
- Include pulses
What Not To Eat?
- Avoid dairy products
- Avoid red meat
- Aerated drinks, sugary food, saturated fats, hydrogenated fats should be completely prohibited
- Avoid maida
If fertility is not an immediate concern, most symptoms are cured by hormonal therapies that mainly include OCP’s that help in reducing hirsutism, and acne, maintain the regular menstrual cycle, and prevent endometrial cancer.
PCOS is curable and women with PCOS or PCOD can live a normal life and even conceive provided they follow a healthy diet, exercise regularly and not take this lightly. A timely awareness and taking care of it medically is all it takes!