PCOD (Polycystic Ovary Disease) and PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) are two terms used to describe a common hormonal disorder in menstruating women. Both conditions affect women’s ovaries, other reproductive organs, and hormones like progesterone and estrogen that help regulate the period cycle.
This hormonal disorder leads to the symptoms of irregular period cycles, excess facial or body hair growth, acne, and infertility.
Dr. Sonali Malagaonkar, Senior Fertility Consultant at Progenesis Fertility Center says “ As far as pregnancy and your will to get pregnant is concerned, PCOD and PCOS both hamper your natural pregnancy chances making conception and a healthy pregnancy harder or even naturally impossible in some cases. Don’t worry, cure on time is the key when it comes to managing these conditions.”
“So as patients ask: Can I Get Pregnant With PCOD/PCOS? my answer is YES! With the help of advanced fertility technologies, medications, and modern IVF treatment methods.
Know your chances of a ‘Successful Pregnancy’ with PCOD/PCOS
However, they are not the same thing. PCOD is a condition where the ovaries have many small cysts, while PCOS is a hormonal disorder. Both conditions can have a significant impact on a woman’s fertility, health, and quality of life.
The below blog aims to give you a better understanding of both conditions.
- What can be done?
- How to manage these conditions?
- What’s the difference between PCOD and PCOS?
- Best diet and exercises
- Treatments available
Let’s understand PCOD and PCOS from the very basics!
What is PCOD?
PCOD is not a very newly surfaced condition. According to the UNICEF reports – About one-third of all menstruating women around the globe have PCOD. A study conducted in Southern India and Maharashtra estimated a total of 22.5% prevalence of PCOD in the particular region.
During PCOD, ovaries fail to produce mature eggs on time. This results in a delay in egg release which further leads to irregular periods. Also, as these immature eggs are produced in large numbers they get accumulated in the ovaries and over time become cysts.
Due to these unwanted cysts, the ovaries swell, become larger in size and secrete a large amount of male hormone- androgen. Which causes irregular periods, acne, sudden weight gain, excess hair growth on their face and body, and infertility.
What is PCOS?
PCOS is not as common as PCOD, though it isn’t rare either. A study conducted in Southern India and Maharashtra estimated about 9.13% prevalence of PCOS in those regions
PCOS is a metabolic disorder in which ovaries produce specifically higher levels of the male hormone- androgen. This imbalances the reproductive hormones making it hard to regulate the period cycle and get pregnant.
The condition also leads to the formation of multiple cysts on the ovaries. Along with this irregular ovulation makes conception difficult. PCOS is a serious medical condition that if not treated can lead to heart disease and diabetes in long term.
The exact cause of PCOS is not well understood, but genetics, insulin resistance, inflammation and lifestyle changes are thought to play a role.
PCOD / PCOS Causes
The cause of PCOD and PCOS are not well understood, but it is believed to be due to a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors.
- Insulin resistance: During this condition, body’s cells become resistant to the effects of insulin. This can lead to high levels of insulin in the blood, which can cause the ovaries to produce more androgen hormones, such as testosterone.
- Hormonal imbalances: Women with PCOD may have higher levels of androgen hormones than normal, which can cause the ovaries to produce more follicles than usual.
- Genetics: PCOD tends to run in families, there is a 50% chance of your getting PCOD if some of your close maternal family members have it.
- Obesity: Women who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop PCOD. This is because excess body fat can cause hormonal imbalances and insulin resistance.
It’s important to note that while these factors may contribute to the development of PCOD, the exact cause of the disorder is still not fully understood.
What are the symptoms of PCOD and PCOS?
The PCOD problem symptoms can vary from woman to woman, and not all women with PCOD will experience all of the symptoms. Some of the most common first signs of PCOD and PCOS are :
- Irregular periods
- Heavy bleeding
- Excess hair growth (Hirsutism)
- Abdominal weight gain
- Difficulty getting pregnant / Infertility
- Mood Swings
- Thinning hair or hair loss
- Skin Tags
What happens when PCOD or PCOS is left untreated?
Women with PCOD and PCOS usually have an increased risk of developing several health problems, including:
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Sleep apnea
- Depression and anxiety
- Cardiovascular disease/strokes
- Endometrial cancer (PCOS only)
Difference between PCOD and PCOS:
PCOD and PCOS are not the same.
While these conditions share some similarities, below is the PCOD PCOS difference you should know.
|PCOD is a common disorder and can be easily managed with the correct diet and exercise schedule||PCOS is not very common. It is a metabolic disorder that requires proper medical assistance|
|In PCOD, the accumulated immature eggs, hormonal imbalances and swollen ovaries result in ovarian cysts||In PCOS, endocrine issues cause the ovaries to produce excess androgens, which makes eggs prone to become cysts|
|Women with PCOD may or may not have hormonal imbalances||Women with PCOS have hormonal imbalances|
|Women with PCOD don’t have significant fertility issues. With PCOD management natural pregnancy is possible||PCOS majorly affects the woman’s fertility health which results in irregular ovulation and harder conception. Even if the natural conception process takes place there is a risk of miscarriage, premature birth or complications|
|Any fertility issue (if arised)can be treated with minor treatments or medications||Fertility issues might require surgeries. Advanced treatments such as IVF or IUI are beneficial|
|Women with PCOD are not at the risk of developing serious health complications||Women with PCOS are at the risk of developing serious health complications such as type 2 diabetes, high-blood pressure, heart disease and endometrial cancer|
|PCOD is typically diagnosed through an ultrasound||PCOS is diagnosed through blood tests and a physical examination|
Impact of PCOD and PCOS on fertility
PCOD and PCOS can have a significant impact on a woman’s fertility. Women with these conditions can face difficulty getting pregnant due to irregular periods, which makes it difficult to predict ovulation and chances of natural conception.
Hormonal imbalances can also lead to lack of ovulation or irregular ovulation in some cases. PCOS also adds to the higher risk of miscarriage.
How is PCOS or PCOD diagnosed?
The conditions are typically diagnosed through a combination of medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests.
- Medical history and physical exam: The healthcare provider will ask about your menstrual cycle, weight changes, acne, and excess hair growth. They will also perform a physical exam to look for signs of PCOS, such as acne, excess hair growth, and enlarged ovaries.
- Blood tests: Blood tests are used to check the levels of hormones, such as testosterone, LH (luteinizing hormone), FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone), and insulin. Elevated levels of these hormones are often associated with PCOD/PCOS.
- Pelvic ultrasound: A pelvic ultrasound is used to visualize the ovaries and look for the presence of cysts. The ultrasound can also help detect any other abnormalities in the ovaries and the uterus.
Managing PCOD and PCOS
Managing PCOD and PCOS involves making lifestyle changes and taking medications to help regulate hormones and improve fertility.
If you are dealing with these conditions it is advised to maintain a healthy weight through regular exercise and a balanced diet. A diet low in processed foods and high in fruits, vegetables, and lean protein can help improve insulin resistance and hormone levels.
PCOD and PCOS Diet Plan: Best Foods to Eat
A healthy and balanced diet can play an important role in managing PCOD/PCOS symptoms. Here are some PCOD and PCOS diet recommendations:
- Increase fiber intake: Eating fiber-rich foods, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin resistance, which is commonly associated with PCOD/PCOS.
- Choose low-glycemic index (GI) foods: Low-GI foods, such as whole grains, nuts, seeds, and most fruits and vegetables, release glucose more slowly into the bloodstream, helping to maintain stable blood sugar levels.
- Reduce refined carbohydrates and sugars: Avoid or limit foods that are high in refined carbohydrates and sugars, such as white bread, pasta, pastries, candy, and sugary drinks, as they can cause spikes in blood sugar levels.
- Focus on healthy fats: Choose healthy fats, such as those found in nuts, seeds, avocados, and fatty fish, over saturated and trans fats, which are commonly found in fried and processed foods.
- Include protein-rich foods: Eating protein-rich foods, such as lean meats, fish, eggs, and tofu, can help keep you feeling full and satisfied and help stabilize blood sugar levels.
- Avoid dairy and gluten: Some women with PCOD/PCOS may have sensitivities to dairy or gluten, which can exacerbate symptoms. Consider trying an elimination diet to identify any food sensitivities.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water and avoiding sugary drinks can help reduce inflammation and promote healthy hormone balance.
Best exercises for PCOD and PCOS?
Exercise can help manage these symptoms and improve overall health. Here are some exercises that may be beneficial for people with PCOD and PCOS:
- Cardiovascular exercises: Cardiovascular exercises like brisk walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, and dancing can help improve insulin sensitivity, boost metabolism, and reduce body weight.
- Strength training: Strength training exercises like weight lifting, resistance band training, and bodyweight exercises can help build muscle mass, boost metabolism, and improve insulin sensitivity.
- Yoga: Yoga is an excellent way to reduce stress, improve flexibility, and enhance overall health. Certain yoga poses like the seated forward bend, child’s pose, and cobra pose can help improve blood flow to the ovaries and reduce stress.
- High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): HIIT is a type of exercise that involves short bursts of intense activity followed by periods of rest. It has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce body weight.
- Pilates: Pilates is a low-impact exercise that can help improve core strength, flexibility, and balance. It may also help reduce stress and improve overall health.
Note: It is advised to speak with your healthcare provider before following any of the exercises.
How To Cure PCOS and PCOD Permanently?
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for PCOS and PCOD. However, with appropriate treatment and lifestyle changes, it is possible to manage the symptoms and improve overall health.
Treatment options include:
- Medications to induce ovulation: For women with PCOD and PCOS who have irregular ovulation, medications help induce ovulation. These medications work by regulating the menstrual cycle and stimulating the ovaries to release eggs.
- Lifestyle changes: Overweight or obese women dealing with these conditions can benefit from weight loss. Losing weight can help regulate the menstrual cycle and improve fertility. A diet low in processed foods and high in fruits, vegetables, and lean protein can also help improve insulin resistance and hormone levels.
- Intrauterine insemination (IUI): If you are trying to conceive and are struggling with PCOD and PCOS, IUI treatment is beneficial for you! IUI is a procedure where sperm is placed directly into the uterus during ovulation. This increases the chances of fertilization and conception.
- In vitro fertilization (IVF): IVF can be an effective treatment option for women with PCOD and PCOS who have not had success with other treatments. In this procedure, eggs are retrieved from the ovaries and fertilized with sperm in a laboratory. The resulting embryos are then transferred to the uterus.
- Surgery: In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to remove cysts on the ovaries that are affecting fertility. However, surgery is typically not the first line of treatment and is only recommended in severe cases.
Can I Get Pregnant With PCOD/PCOS?
Pregnancy with PCOS:
PCOD and PCOS can have a significant and major impact on a woman’s fertility. Irregular periods, hormonal imbalances, and problems with the development and release of eggs not only make the conception process harder but also can hinder the conceived pregnancy.
However, for women trying to conceive, advanced fertility technology, medications, and modern IVF treatment methods offer a safe and healthy pregnancy plan. Fertility technologies today offer several treatment options for women with PCOD and PCOS.
These include medications to induce ovulation, lifestyle changes, IUI, IVF, and surgery. Women with PCOD and PCOS who are trying to conceive should talk to their healthcare provider to determine the best treatment plan for their individual needs.
When does PCOD or PCOS start?
Answer: PCOD (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) or PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Disease) can start at any age after puberty, but it is commonly diagnosed in women in their 20s and 30s.
PCOD or PCOS which is more dangerous/ serious?
Answer: PCOS is considered more serious than PCOD. PCOD can be managed just by making the right lifestyle choices but PCOS requires further medical treatment as it is associated with an increased risk of developing complications with insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and severe female factor infertility.
Why does PCOD occur?
Answer: The exact cause of PCOD (Polycystic Ovary Disease) is not fully understood, but it is thought to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors, including insulin resistance, hormonal imbalances, lifestyle factors, and inflammation.
Is pregnancy possible with PCOS?
Answer: Yes, pregnancy is possible for women with PCOS. However, it may require some additional medical assistance, such as fertility treatments, like IVF, IUI, or surgeries to increase the chances of conception.
I have PCOS but with regular periods can I get pregnant?
Answer: Having regular periods is a positive sign, but PCOS can still affect fertility and make it more difficult to conceive. However, with the help of medical interventions such as ovulation induction or in vitro fertilization (IVF), it is still possible to achieve pregnancy.
How to get pregnant with PCOS quickly?
First consider managing your condition with proper diet and exercise habits. Maintaining a healthy weight can enhance the process of ovulation which increases the chance of pregnancy.