Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD) is the most common hormonal disorder affecting women all around the world with reproductive age. It is found that one out of every five women have PCOD. PCOD is a clutter of symptoms and it may take different methods and treatments to treat these symptoms. It is not a disease that can be treated by one treatment done only once and you are good to go. It may take years to reduce the symptoms of PCOD.

In this article, we are talking about what PCOD is? Its symptoms, causes, various treatment options, and how you can manage them simply at home.

What is Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD)?

Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD) is a set of symptoms related to hormonal imbalance [1]. In PCOD, a woman’s body creates excess amounts of male hormones called androgen. Because of PCOD, the balance of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) in a woman’s body disrupts because of which small cysts are formed in the ovaries which finally results in hormonal imbalances. And because of the formation of multiple (poly) cysts in the ovaries, it is called Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD).

What are the causes of Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD)?

Researches are scientist have not yet found the exact cause of PCOD. However, there are some environmental and genetic factors that researchers think may cause or contribute to the development of this disease.

It has been found that PCOD symptoms may run in families, this disease may be caused by some kind of genetic mutation or change in one or more genes.

It may also be caused if your body is producing excessive insulin. If your body is producing excessive levels of insulin it can in turn push the body to make more androgen which can cause PCOD.

What are the symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD)?

As mentioned earlier, PCOD is mostly caused when your body produces higher than normal levels of androgen.

Your ovaries produce hormones that are responsible for controlling various functions of your body. One of the most important hormones is estrogen which is also sometimes called a female hormone. A woman’s body also makes a hormone called ‘androgen’ which is sometimes called a male hormone. As it is produced in men in excess amounts but it women it is produced in low amounts. But when your body starts making androgen in excess amounts that is when you start seeing changes like excessive facial hair, excessive hair in other parts where a man usually has hair, etc. All of these are some of the signs of PCOD.

If you are suffering from PCOD your body may show symptoms like [2]:

  • Irregular periods
  • Excessive hair in face and body (Hirtuisim)
  • Male pattern baldness
  • Acne
  • Obesity

How is polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD) diagnosed?

If you have the symptoms mentioned above then it is advised to consult a doctor. If you do go to a doctor, they may do the following exams and tests to diagnose PCOD.

  • Physical exam
  • Pelvic exam
  • Ultrasound
  • Blood tests

How to manage symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD)?

The symptoms of PCOD can be managed at home by managing your day to day lifestyle and your eating habits. The tips mentioned below can help you manage the disease at home in a better way.

Regular exercise to manage PCOD:

One of the symptoms usually associated with PCOD is obesity. An unplanned weight gain can be one of the reasons for weight gain. To manage weight gain exercising regularly is a good option. However, make sure you have consulted a doctor before starting this routine. They will inform you about your idle weight and how much you need to lose as well as types of exercise that you should be doing. This will give you a proper target to achieve [3].

If you are not comfortable with exercising, you can also go for a daily walk or run. Avoid high-calorie food and increase your run or walk slowly. Do not do excessive running as it can cause your stress levels to rise which can contribute to your fertility issue.

You may focus more on low abdomen exercises. They help reduce belly fat fast.

You can also try practicing yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises. They will help manage your stress levels and fertility issues caused by PCOD.

Form a daily healthy diet plan:

Make a proper diet plan which includes all the healthy food and follow it religiously.

Breakfast is the most important part of a daily meal. Make sure your breakfast is full of healthy fruits like blueberries, red grapes, cherries, and blackberries.

Avoid eating processed or refined foods like pasta, sugar, white flour, and bread.

Increase your daily water intake. Drink about 20 glasses of water every day.

Increase your fiber intake. Fiber helps with digestion and is effective in fighting against insulin resistance.

Try avoiding food that contains refined sugar like artificial sweetener, trans fats, high saturated fats, corn syrup, artificial colors, etc.

Divide your daily diet into 3 to 4 meals small meals. This will not cause any sudden spike of blood sugar level in your body.

Balance your diet containing protein and carbs. If you are having a protein as a meal, balance it out with a portion of food containing carb. For example, if you are eating chicken have a banana with it. This will balance your diet.

Caffeine and Alcohol contribute to the fertility issues that you are having because of PCOD. Hence, avoid them.

Include High Fiber foods like:

  • Whole Grains (brown rice, whole oats, bulgur, quinoa)
  • Legumes (lentils, black beans, chickpeas)
  • Seeds (sunflower seeds, chia, flax)
  • Berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries)

Include lean protein in your diet:

  • Lean poultry (skinless chicken, turkey)
  • Fish (salmon, shrimp, tuna, cod)
  • For vegetarians – Plant protein sources (beans, peas, tofu)

Include antioxidant-rich food in your diet:

  • Unsaturated fats (nuts like pecans, olive oil, avocado, nut butter)
  • Vegetables (spinach, kale)
  • Whole Grains (whole wheat, quinoa, brown rice, whole oats)

Other treatments:

Apart from your daily diet and exercise, you can also go for other treatments available. These treatments target not all of but one or a couple of symptoms of PCOD. For example, for excessive hair, you are going for hair removal remedies (home remedies or parlor), for sometimes doctors also prescribe oral contraceptives for dealing with excessive hair and other symptoms of high levels of androgen. Likewise, there are medications available reducing the symptoms of PCOD. Also, if you are having fertility issues because of PCOD and other treatments are not working you can always go for a laparoscopic ovarian drilling surgery. However, the surgery is rarely required and most of the time the symptoms will come in control by any of the treatments mentioned.

What are the complications with Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD)?

If you have PCOD you may be prone to some of the complications mentioned below.

  • Abnormal uterine bleeding
  • Type II Diabetes
  • Cholesterol and lipid abnormalities
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Cancer of the uterine lining
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Gestational diabetes

Reference:

Nichd(.)nih(.)gov. “Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)”. National Institutes of Health, 31 January 2017.

Nwhn(.)org. “Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)”. National Women’s Health Network, 24 August 2020.

Artofliving(.)org. “5 simple home remedies for PCOS”. The Art of Living, 24 August 2020.


By Vaani Minhas
who is from Bangalore. I am a medical student and am presently pursuing my graduation in BDS. I also take up freelance projects as a content writer and love writing on topics related to Women’s health, Pregnancy, Mental health and wellness, and Sexual Wellness. Hope you find my articles informative. Enjoy reading. Thank you…

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