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PCOD (Polycystic Ovarian Disease) or PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome): Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment Options.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS may have infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods or excess male hormone (androgen) levels.

Besides unpredictable hormonal behavior, this condition can trigger 

  • Diabetes
  • Infertility
  • Acne
  • Excessive hair growth

PCOD affects a woman’s ovaries, the reproductive organs that produce estrogen and progesterone -hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle. The ovaries also produce a small amount of male hormones called androgens.Group of symptoms that affects the ovaries and ovulation. Its three main features are:

  • Cysts in the ovaries
  • High levels of male hormones
  • Irregular or skipped periods

Causes of PCOD

The exact cause of PCOS is unknown. Early diagnosis and treatment along with weight loss may reduce the risk of long-term complications such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Factors that might play a role include:

  • Excess insulin. Insulin is the hormone produced in the pancreas that allows cells to use sugar, your body’s primary energy supply. If your cells become resistant to the action of insulin, then your blood sugar levels can rise and your body might produce more insulin. Excess insulin might increase androgen production, causing difficulty with ovulation.
  • Low-grade inflammation. This term is used to describe white blood cells’ production of substances to fight infection. Research has shown that women with PCOS have a type of low-grade inflammation that stimulates polycystic ovaries to produce androgens, which can lead to heart and blood vessel problems.
  • Heredity. Research suggests that certain genes might be linked to PCOS.
  • Excess androgen. The ovaries produce abnormally high levels of androgen, resulting in hirsutism and acne.

Common Symptoms of PCOD

Some women start seeing symptoms around the time of their first period, some only discover when they have gained a lot of weight or trouble getting pregnant.
The most common PCOD symptoms are:

  • Irregular periods. Infrequent, irregular or prolonged menstrual cycles are the most common sign of PCOS. For example, you might have fewer than nine periods a year, more than 35 days between periods and abnormally heavy periods.
  • Excess androgen. Elevated levels of male hormones may result in physical signs, such as excess facial and body hair (hirsutism), and occasionally severe acne and male-pattern baldness.
  • Polycystic ovaries. Your ovaries might be enlarged and contain follicles that surround the eggs. As a result, the ovaries might fail to function regularly.
  • Weight gain

Diagnosis

There’s no test to definitively diagnose PCOS. Your doctor at Westminster Ortho Med Clinic may take your medical history, including your menstrual periods and weight changes. A physical exam will include checking for signs of excess hair growth, insulin resistance and acne.

Your doctor might then recommend:

  • A pelvic exam. The doctor visually and manually inspects your reproductive organs for masses, growths or other abnormalities.
  • Blood tests. Your blood may be analyzed to measure hormone levels. This testing can exclude possible causes of menstrual abnormalities or androgen excess that mimics PCOS. You might have additional blood testing to measure glucose tolerance and fasting cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  • An ultrasound. Your doctor checks the appearance of your ovaries and the thickness of the lining of your uterus. A wandlike device (transducer) is placed in your vagina (transvaginal ultrasound). The transducer emits sound waves that are translated into images on a computer screen

Treatment Options

The cure is yet to be determined for PCOD. The disease is to be controlled by making lifestyle modifications. And multidisciplinary approach needs to be taken that involves the dietitian, gynaecologist, endocrinologist, dermatologist and infertility expert.

The best way to control and manage PCOD is by ensuring proper weight management. Even a 5% reduction in weight can help a lot in treating the disease. Thus, PCOD patients must exercise on a regular basis and maintain a healthy diet. The diet should be low on sugars and carbohydrates. High protein and high fibre intake are recommended for patients suffering from PCOD.

Rest of the treatment can be done based on the symptoms. Here are the different modalities:

  • Medicines are available to treat insulin resistance and balance hormones to correct menstrual cycles.
  • Skin treatments are available for acne, pigmentation and hair growth.
  •  Fertility drugs are administered to infertile patients.
  • Oral medicines and injections are available for ovulation induction and to rupture egg for enhancing fertility.
  • Some cases may require Second-line therapy such as aromatase inhibitors, laparoscopic surgery or ovarian drilling.
  • Usually, PCOS is treated aggressively for patients who are willing to conceive. Adolescent patients are treated with hormones and metformin to regularize the periods and insulin resistance.

Lifestyle changes

To help decrease the effects of PCOS, try to:

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Weight loss can reduce insulin and androgen levels and may restore ovulation. Ask your doctor about a weight-control program, and meet regularly with a dietitian for help in reaching weight-loss goals.
  • Limit carbohydrates. Low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets might increase insulin levels. Ask your doctor about a low-carbohydrate diet if you have PCOS. Choose complex carbohydrates, which raise your blood sugar levels more slowly.
  • Be active. Exercise helps lower blood sugar levels. If you have PCOS, increasing your daily activity and participating in a regular exercise program may treat or even prevent insulin resistance and help you keep your weight under control and avoid developing diabetes.

Your doctor may recommend weight loss through a low-calorie diet combined with moderate exercise activities. Even a modest reduction in your weight — for example, losing 5 percent of your body weight — might improve your condition. Losing weight may also increase the effectiveness of medications your doctor recommends for PCOS, and can help with infertility.

Should you require additional information or would like to make an appointment with Dr. Saima Salahuddin, Specialist – Family Medicine ,please call us or e-mail us at info@westminsterclinic.ae

References:

  1. PCOS Awareness Association: https://www.pcosaa.org/
  2. Mayoclinic.org
  3. nightingales.in – Nightingales , the home health Specialist
  4. Health.harvard.edu

Disclaimer: All contents on this site are for general information and in no circumstances information be substituted for professional advice from the relevant healthcare professional, Writer does not take responsibility of any damage done by the misuse or use of the information.

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