The most common hormonal disorder among women mostly in between 15-45 years of age. PCOD affects millions of women worldwide. Women with the syndrome are at an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease. It causes
- Irregular menstrual cycle; either in terms of days (more than 35 days) or in terms of cycles (less than 8 cycles per year) or could also contribute to the complete absence of menses.
- Increased hair growth; mostly on the upper lip, chin area and the back
- Oily skin, acne, dandruff & thinning of hair
- Weight gain mostly waistline obesity
- Sleep apnea; a sleep disorder where breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep and is usually followed by loud snoring.
- Infertility – a leading cause – due to ovulatory cycles.
- Fluid-filled cysts; about 60%-80% of women experience this condition. It can be confirmed if there are more than 12 follicles in the ovary.
Medical Tests FOR PCOD:
The main objective of the investigations is to rule out other diseases mimicking the symptoms and to maintain the long-term health.
Blood Tests to assess the hormones:
- LH: FSH (Ratio) test: -To assess the proper functioning of ovaries, both hormones are responsible for ovulation.
- Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) test: To check for an underactive or overactive thyroid
- Prolactin levels: To rule out the pituitary gland disorders which affects the menstrual cycle too
- Total testosterone &17-hydroxyprogesterone: To check for any adrenal gland disorders which mimic the symptoms of PCOD.
- Lipid Profile: This is a blood test determined to test for cholesterol in the body. If this test shows increased cholesterol, then combined with PCOD, the probability of heart diseases will increase significantly.
- Glucose testing: About 30-40% of women with PCOD will have impaired glucose metabolism which increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and about 8-10% of them get type 2 Diabetes
Ultrasound of abdomen & pelvis:
This test is important to confirm any issues with fertility. If this is an issue, then in results the ovaries will appear enlarged with small fluid-filled cysts attached to them in a string pattern.
COMPLICATIONS OF PCOD:
The most common complications are infertility due to irregular & anovulatory (no ovulation) menstrual cycle, Diabetes type 2, depression, anxiety, eating disorder, and high cholesterol.
PCOS OBESITY AND TYPE 2 DIABETES:
About 60% of women with PCOD are overweight or obese. Obesity itself causes insulin resistance, which in turn leads to type 2 diabetes early on in women. Women diagnosed with PCOD should be screened and followed regularly to avoid these long-term complications.
A modest 5% reduction in body weight can lead to reduced facial hair growth as well as improved menstrual cycle. A healthy diet remains the most important aspect as it would help in maintaining a healthy weight as well as improve the symptoms.
PCOS AND HEART DISEASE:
Women with PCOD are at an increased risk of developing heart disease, hypertension, and insulin resistance (type 2 diabetes). This causes high levels of fat in the body with low levels of good cholesterol (HDL). Prevention is better than cure, hence eating a healthy diet rich in fiber and low in sodium, with moderate exercise at least five days a week early in life can reduce the chances of life-threatening complications.
MANAGEMENT OF PCOD:
Lifestyle changes such as diet control, weight management & exercise are better than treatment by medication & should be therefore considered as the first line of treatment.
Refined carbohydrates like pasta, white bread, rice, cakes, and cookies must be avoided. Whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, beans, lean protein such as fish & poultry should be increased in the diet. Results such as reduction in facial hair can be evident in just 4 – 12 weeks of making the diet modifications.
2. Weight management to fall in ideal BMI range: By eating right and increased physical activity, body weight can be managed better.
Reduced weight can make the medicines (if required) more effective. In case of stressful lives, let exercise be your stress reliever, not the food.
If diet control and weight management don’t improve the symptoms much, then medication is given to women. This could mean that the PCOD has reached a certain point where it needs more involved intervention to control it.
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