The polycystic ovarian disease, commonly known as PCOS or PCOD, is a hormonal disorder that affects women in their reproductive years. Some women of childbearing age suffer from this disease. Many women with PCOS grow several small cysts on their ovaries. In normal cases, these cysts are not harmful, but they are a wider cause of an imbalance in hormone levels.
Dr. Rakshita, Chief IVF And Infertility Specialist at Indira IVF Hospital, Explained that: “As of now, there is no established cause of PCOD. However, sometimes it can be associated with excess insulin, low-grade infection, and genetics.”
PCOD is one of the most common hormonal disorders among the 10 to 20 percent of the women of concerned age. About 70 percent of the issues associated with ovulatory fertility is related to PCOD but how can PCOD diagnosis be done, is still a question to the doctors because there is no definite test to diagnose PCOS. The symptoms and the situations are the only way to find about it.
The following situations are.
• If 12 or more follicles can be seen on one ovary, or the size of one or both the ovaries is increased.
• The level of ‘male’ hormones in the blood increase as well.
• Menstrual dysfunction such as lack of periods, menstrual irregularity or lack of ovulation.
As PCOD diagnosis criteria cannot be completed with a particular test, your medical history and symptoms are the only way to discover about the problem. Regarding this, your doctor will review and discuss your symptoms and medical history, which may include menstrual periods and weight changes. He will also check your physical weight and BMI (body mass index). After the general questionary, the doctor will likely conduct a physical test, a blood test, a pelvic exam, and an ultrasound.
Physical test: In this, the healthcare practitioner will look for signs of excess hair and acne which are the factor of high levels of androgens. It will also be checked whether you are insulin resistant or not.
Causes of PCODBlood test: Blood test is important to measure hormone levels. Your glucose tolerance and fasting cholesterol and triglyceride levels will be tested as well by an additional blood test.
Pelvic exam: The doctor will conduct a pelvic exam to execute any lump, growth or other abnormalities.
Ultrasound: An ultrasound of the uterus, ovaries and the pelvis can be carried out to see the appearance of your ovaries, cyst and the thickness of the lining of your uterus. This transvaginal ultrasound is a painless test in which a transducer is inserted into the vagina. It produces a much accurate picture than an abdominal ultrasound because it emits sound waves that are translated into images on a computer screen.
Symptoms of PCOD include:
• The most common symptom is irregular periods
• Excess androgen levels-hormones
• Pauses in breathing or periods of shallow breathing during sleep
• Higher stress levels, it is a cause as well
• High blood pressure
• Infertility due to a lack of ovulation
• Skin problems such as acne, oily skin, hair fall and dandruff
• Dark patches on the skin especially in the area with folds
• Fatigue and dizziness
• Thinning of scalp hair and Balding like male pattern
• The danger of getting type 2 diabetes
• Pain in pelvic
• Mood swings which even lead to depression and anxiety
• Hirsutism which is known for excessive facial and body hair growth
• Difficulty in managing the weight
Though PCOD can lead to many disorders and diseases, it greatly affects the quality of life of the women suffering from it. Following are some effect of PCOD.
Not Being able to ovulate is common and the prime cause of infertility in women with PCOD. Follicles on the ovaries may not able to mature and excessive increase in testosterone production can be the reason why ovulation is not taking place. Even if ovulation occurs, the hormonal imbalance may prevent the implantation of the mature egg.
It has been thoroughly reported that women suffering from PCOD have higher levels of psychological stress. Studies have found overall stress level in PCOD patient is higher than in any normal person. Other symptoms of PCOD make it more complicated, leaving a strong impact on the psychosocial struggle of women emotionally and physically. Addition to this, it has been seen that women with PCOD shows the sign of higher levels of depression and stressful mental health and decreased quality of life regarding health. A PCOD patient also suffers from anxiety. Anxiety is one of the symptoms and it gets exaggerated due to other effects such as irregular menses, infertility and not able to shed weights.
The stress level in patients is also due to the other factor of PCOD which is Hirsutism. Hirsutism is a condition where excessive hair growth in women like a male distribution pattern takes place. Women having facial hair, like males show a type of disturbance. Additionally, the substantial amount of time and energy to keep the condition hidden also adds to their mental distress. They feel shame in going out in public and usually cut themselves from the outer world. It also affects their public and social well being.
In due course, reports show that women with PCOD are at higher risk for metabolic disease, coronary artery disorder and have an increased risk for cardiovascular illness. Metabolic syndrome is a combination of cardiovascular disease risk factors associated with glucose intolerance, hypertension, and obesity. It is a risk factor because cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of being diseased and mortality in women. Many research has shown the need for attention in the area of metabolic syndrome and coronary artery disease in PCOD’s patients.
As 60% of woman with PCOD observed obesity the distribution of fat is not depended on BMI but associated with higher insulin concentrations. It is demonstrated that women with type 2 diabetes are diagnosed with PCOD 7 times more than others. Combination of insulin resistance and abdominal obesity accounts for the higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes.
Long term risks of PCOD can have a possible relation with endometrial cancer. Long term use of unopposed estrogens, obesity, infertility, hypertension, and diabetes are the factors which increase the risk of endometrial cancer. These are the similar symptoms of PCOD and thus it can be established that PCOD may be a reason for endometrial cancer.
Before going out to the doctor, one can take a hint that if they are suffering from PCOD or not by checking it through PCOD test online.
The treatment of PCOD is different for every other person and each concern. With prescribed medicine, a person should also focus on maintaining a healthy weight and BMI. Weight loss will help in reducing insulin and androgen levels that can restore ovulation. A well planned weight-control program will be helpful in reaching the set goal.
Eating habits should also be changed because it is important to have a low-carbohydrate diet if you have PCOD.
Exercising regularly helps in lowering blood sugar levels. It also helps in keeping the weight under control and avoids developing diabetes.
The doctors also have recommendations to reduce excessive hair growth and problem in ovulation.