You must have probably heard about the terms, PCOD PCOS if you have interacted with people who menstruate or if you menstruate regularly. However, your prior understanding of PCOD PCOS may vary in accuracy depending on the context. The common reason is that despite the fact that they are very distinct, the two abbreviations PCOS and PCOD are sometimes used interchangeably when discussing these unexpectedly widespread health conditions.
Every month, one of a woman’s two ovaries alternately releases an egg. Additionally, these ovaries create female hormones, which are in charge of various functions like conception, period timing, facial hair, etc. In addition to this, they also create extremely little amounts of androgens or male hormones.
PCOD and PCOS difference is considerable despite the fact that they both affect the ovaries and result in hormonal disruptions. Let’s first discuss PCOS and PCOD in general and discuss their causes, treatments, etc., and then move on to discussing how precisely they differ from one another.
In this Article
Polycystic Ovarian Disease – PCOD
Hormonal imbalances and genetic predispositions are the main contributing factors to PCOD (Polycystic Ovarian Disease). Each month during a typical menstrual cycle, one of the two ovaries alternately releases mature, fertile eggs. However, for someone with PCOD, the ovaries frequently release only partially-mature eggs or immature eggs, which can later develop into cysts (tiny liquid-filled sacs).
The ovaries also grow and enlarge as a result of this. In normal circumstances, the ovaries only release a small number of androgens (male hormones) during the cycle. However, in this situation, the ovaries begin to produce excess androgens, which causes symptoms like male pattern hair loss, abdominal weight gain, irregular periods, and in some severe cases, even infertility.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome – PCOS
A more serious metabolic condition than PCOD is PCOS. PCOS is a collection or cluster of symptoms, – a “syndrome,” that affects the ovulation and the ovaries in women. the following three characteristics are common traits in PCOS:
- ovarian cysts
- an abundance of masculine hormones
- inconsistent or missed periods
This syndrome causes the ovaries to release more male hormones, which causes the ovary to develop more than ten follicular cysts each month. Within the ovaries, several little sacs packed with fluid develop. “Poly” means many, thus the word “polycystic” signifies “Many cysts”.
All of these sacs are actually follicles that carry an immature egg. The eggs do not grow and develop enough to cause ovulation. Estrogen, progesterone, FSH, and LH levels are modified due to a lack of ovulation. While progesterone levels are lower in range, androgen levels are higher than usual.
Due to excess male hormones interfering with the menstrual cycle, women with PCOS experience fewer periods than usual. As a result, the egg cannot be released, it leads to anovulation.
PCOD and PCOS Difference
Although many people believe they are the same conditions, they are actually very distinct. Since the symptoms of PCOD and PCOS frequently overlap, it is concerning that many of the patients are unaware of what they are actually experiencing.
Contrary to popular belief, PCOS and PCOD are two distinct diseases. They differ in how they develop and affect the organs.
- Causing Factors: PCOD is a condition caused by an imbalance of hormones, whereas Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is an endocrine system disorder. Heredity and hormonal abnormalities are thought to be strong influences in both disorders. High quantities of male hormones, according to the notion, inhibit ovaries from generating eggs and hormones correctly. Additionally connected to increased testosterone production are insulin resistance and inflammation.
- Incidence: In contrast, PCOD is more frequent. The polycystic ovarian disease affects up to one-third of women worldwide. The prevalence of polycystic ovary syndrome is lower than PCOD.
- Nature & Severity: The condition of PCOS is serious. PCOD is not regarded as an illness because things get better with the right diet and exercise routine. A metabolic disorder is PCOS. PCOS patients are at risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, endometrial cancer, obesity, and heart disease.
- Initial Symptoms: Symptoms of PCOS and PCOD can also differ. In contrast to PCOS, which releases more male hormones, PCOD produces fewer and less apparent symptoms. Women with PCOS frequently experience symptoms at an earlier age. Acne, weight gain, and excessive hair growth, and are visible from a younger age, due to metabolic abnormalities.
- Effects of PCOD & PCOS on Pregnancy: Polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD) and PCOS should not be viewed as barriers to pregnancy because they do not always result in infertility in all women. Women may be able to get pregnant easily with some help in roughly 80% of situations.
However, Due to hormonal imbalances, conception might be difficult for women with PCOS. In order to become pregnant, a woman has to have healthy hormonal cycles that can provide the right conditions for the ovum to release and infuse with sperm after sexual intercourse. If one has polycystic ovary syndrome, which has very high amounts of androgens, getting pregnant can be quite difficult.
Causes of PCOD and PCOS
PCOD causes: The precise underlying causes of PCOD are currently unknown. However, many research studies have linked PCOD to high levels of male hormones (Hyperandrogenism), low-grade inflammation, increases amounts of insulin, and genetics.
Other factors that affect PCOD include early menarche, unhealthy lifestyle choices, and pollution.
PCOS causes: The precise etiology of PCOS is still unknown. Several elements, including:
Increased testosterone levels: Elevated insulin and luteinizing hormone levels cause an excess release of male hormones. Ovulation is disrupted as a result, which leads to PCOS.
Increase in luteinizing hormone: promotion of ovulation, and the development of the corpus luteum occur due to luteinizing hormone which is secreted by the pituitary gland. Male hormones fall out of balance when luteinizing hormone levels get higher.
Increased prolactin levels: After childbirth, prolactin, a hormone, helps in milk production. An overabundance of this hormone reduces estrogen levels, which leads to hormonal imbalance.
Common PCOD and PCOS symptoms
As stated earlier, some PCOD PCOS symptoms tend to be somewhat similar to each other. For some women, symptoms may appear around the time of their first period. Others may notice after they’ve gained a lot of weight or they’ve had trouble getting pregnant and discover they have PCOS.
The most commonly occurring symptoms of PCOD and PCOS are:
- Oligomenorrhea or Periods that are irregular– The uterine lining cannot shed every month if there is no ovulation. Some PCOD, PCOS sufferers have fewer than eight cycles or none at all per year.
- Menorrhagia or heavy bleeding– When you do have periods, they may be heavier than usual since the uterine lining has had more time to thicken up.
- Hirsutism or Unwanted hair growth – With this illness, more than 70% of women develop hair on their face and body, including on their back, abdomen, and chest, a condition known as hirsutism.
- Acne – Breakouts can be caused as a result of excess male hormones which can acne on the face, chest, and upper back.
- Gaining weight – Up to 80% of PCOS, PCOD-afflicted women are obese or overweight.
- Male pattern baldness – The scalp’s hair may become thinning or fall off.
- Skin tone darkening – Skin pigmentation can develop dark patches in body crevices such as on the neck, in the crotch, and under the breasts.
- Headaches – Some women may experience headaches owing to hormonal changes.
PCOD PCOS and Mental Health
Anxiety and depression are highly prevalent and are linked to PCOD. A proactive, ongoing management strategy is necessary for PCOD/PCOS. A crucial factor in the long-term maintenance of treatment procedures is a support system.
Due to excessive body hair, weight gain around the abdomen, skin darkening and pigmentation around the neck, etc., women with PCOD/PCOS frequently struggle with low self-esteem and body-image issues. While these symptoms are treatable, the woman needs the support of her friends and family to maintain good mental health.
The woman in this situation is more prone to stress and anxiety due to hormonal imbalance. Depression can also be brought on by PCOS-related miscarriages and troubles with infertility.
In such situations seeking therapy and help are of great significance.
PCOD PCOS Diagnosis
Since both PCOD and PCOS have physical symptoms that affect several body systems, both can be detected through blood tests and imaging tests. The gynecologist will inquire about medical history, eating and drinking habits, and use of any prescription or over-the-counter medications, including the use of vitamins and supplements. These questions will be based on the symptoms such as any male-pattern hair growth on a woman’s chest, face, or irregular periods.
Three characteristics of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) are looked for by medical professionals:
- absence of ovulation,
- excessive levels of androgens, and
- growths on the ovaries.
PCOS may be identified if one or more of these characteristics are present. Your doctor will rule out other disorders that could be causing your symptoms if PCOS is suspected based on your medical history.
These conditions include, among others:
- Adrenal hyperplasia is the condition in which the adrenal glands produce too much hormone.
- issues with the thyroid gland’s operation
- Hyperprolactinemia is the medical term for the pituitary gland’s excessive synthesis of the prolactin hormone.
Furthermore, In order to diagnose PCOD or PCOS, a gynecologist could suggest-
Pelvic examination: Examining the reproductive organs physically to look for growths, lumps, or other anomalies.
Blood tests: No single blood test can diagnose the disease of PCOD/PCOS. However, doctors can recommend a few blood tests to examine the levels of total cholesterol – fasting lipid profiles, triglycerides levels, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and glucose tolerance tests, are the few blood tests that help to understand the hormone levels. Other blood tests to make the diagnosis of PCOS and PCOD include-
While luteinizing hormone (LH) surges during ovulation causing the release of the egg, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) promotes the formation of an egg follicle within the ovary.
In the past, an LH-to-FSH ratio of more than 3-to-1 was used to diagnose PCOS (3:1). Since many PCOS-affected women have consistently raised LH levels throughout their entire cycle and otherwise normal hormone levels, this is no longer the case.
A hormone produced by the adrenal glands that is involved in the synthesis of the stress hormone cortisol is found by this blood test, also known as 17-OHP. This test is performed to rule out late-onset congenital adrenal hyperplasia, which mimics the symptoms of PCOS.
Testosterone and DHEA
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and testosterone are both members of the androgen hormone class (a.k.a. male hormones). They are the root of many PCOS symptoms, such as acne, hirsutism, female-pattern baldness, and irregular menstruation, as well as secondary male sex traits.
The main function of the hormone prolactin is to encourage lactation in females. Increased levels of this hormone can result in erratic or nonexistent menstruation.
Your doctor will check your thyroid function if prolactin levels are high because untreated hypothyroidism can also result in excess prolactin.
Imaging test: An ultrasound imaging test to assess ovarian cysts, uterine lining, and ovarian size.
Your ovaries’ condition and the thickness of your uterus’ lining can both be examined with an ultrasound. Your vagina receives a transducer, which resembles a wand. Sound waves released by the transducer are converted into visuals on a computer screen.
On an ultrasound, polycystic ovaries can be seen, which means:
- On one or both ovaries, there are more than 20 follicles (eggs that are partially formed), or
- The size of one or both ovaries has grown (more than 10ml).
If you meet requirements 1 and 2, you do not require an ultrasound.
Ultrasounds for women under the age of 20 are not advised. This means that for PCOS to be diagnosed, both hyperandrogenism and irregular periods must be present.
In addition to the aforementioned, the gynecologist could suggest other tests to look for problems. These may consist of:
- Continuous monitoring of triglycerides, cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose tolerance.
- Screening for depression and anxiety
- Obstructive sleep apnea screening (OSA)
PCOS and PCOD Treatment
The emphasis of PCOD/PCOS treatment is laid upon managing your specific issues, such as irregular periods, acne, obesity, infertility, or hirsutism. Weight loss, diet modification, and exercise, typical lifestyle changes are given priority in the treatment. Even a small 5–10% body weight loss can influence your menstrual cycle.
The course of treatment for PCOd and PCOS largely depends on the symptoms, including acne, hair growth, and other metabolic issues. This comprises:
- Utilization of medication to control menstruation to further treat hormonal dysregulation and insulin resistance
- Using oral medications and injections, ovulation can be induced (both in terms of quality and quantity).
- Using fertility medications to treat infertility
- Reducing uncontrollable hair growth
- Acne treatment and remedies for skin discoloration.
- Ovarian drilling, a laparoscopic procedure, is used to remove androgen-producing tissue from the ovaries in PCOS patients who have not responded to hormonal therapy.
Weight loss can be achieved by women by exercising at a moderate level for 15- 20 minutes, five times a week. Additionally, weight loss due to exercise also increases ovulation and insulin levels.
An early diagnosis combined with the most effective treatment modalities can help manage the symptoms of PCOD and PCOS. For treating any kind of hormonal imbalance and associated disorders, it is crucial to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Diet in PCOS and PCOD
Despite the fact that no one food can cause PCOD or PCOS, a healthy diet can greatly reduce or eliminate their symptoms. It is more difficult to lose weight when you have these problems, and PCOS has been strongly connected to obesity and being overweight.
Any diet that enables weight loss can help your condition. However, some diets might be better than others in a number of ways. Additionally, shedding pounds helps lower cholesterol, insulin levels, and the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.
You should avoid a diet high in starch and sugar and cut out highly processed carbs from your diet because PCOS and insulin resistance are closely related. Including foods strong in fiber, vegetables, nuts, and olive oil will help you feel full while assisting in weight loss.
Limit your consumption of processed flour bread, sweet drinks, and sweets. Steer clear of products sweetened with corn syrup as well. If you don’t combine your diet adjustments with more daily activity and stress-reduction methods, you might not see any improvement in your symptoms.
Without pausing to consider it, PCOD PCOS symptoms could be difficult to discern from one another. The necessary dietary adjustments are likewise comparable. Both PCOD and PCOS need for dietary and lifestyle adjustments to aid in your recovery.
Losing weight, eating a nutritious diet free of processed and junk food, and exercising regularly have all shown significant improvements in both situations, i.e. PCOD and PCOS. To effectively control the damage with appropriate lifestyle modifications and drugs, the condition must be discovered as soon as possible. You should have a checkup if you experience irregular periods, acne, or excessive facial hair growth.
Although PCOD is not a serious issue, there is no permanent solution. Controlling PCOD and its underlying symptoms can be made easier by maintaining a healthy weight, adhering to a complex carbohydrate diet, exercising frequently, and being physically active. For women to live a healthy life in the future, it is also advisable to schedule routine visits with their gynecologist and physician.
Yes, women with PCOD can conceive and carry a baby to term. However, planning is necessary, as is regular follow-up contact with a gynecologist to prevent difficulties.
Regardless of whether a woman engages in sexual activity, PCOD can affect her. Due to stress, a poor lifestyle, and hormone imbalance, this occurs in females. Losing weight and following a controlled diet can assist to normalise irregular periods brought on by PCOD. Consult a gynecologist to receive the appropriate care at the appropriate time to maintain your healthy lifestyle.
Stress and changes in lifestyle after marriage might cause PCOD in women. Consult a gynecologist if you experience irregular periods to determine the specific cause. If you have gained weight since getting married, it’s recommended that you lose it. You should also maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle to prevent PCOD after marriage. Consult your doctor for advice and treatment if you are planning a pregnancy and are experiencing irregular periods to prevent issues in the near future.
As of now, PCOS has no known cure. It is not completely curable but can be eradicated or reversed through surgery or by adhering to a strict lifestyle routine. As soon as a woman strays from her regimen, PCOS often returns. To help reverse or control PCOS, women with PCOS must maintain a healthy weight, adhere to a rigid eating plan, avoid stressful situations, and routinely take medication.
Although both PCOS and PCOD affect our ovaries and hormones, there are some variations between the two. Even though PCOS is more severe than PCOD, both conditions are treatable if caught early enough. Healthy eating and exercise habits can help manage symptoms of PCOS and PCOD and correct the hormonal imbalances that cause them. A doctor can provide you with further direction if you feel lower abdominal pain, irregular periods, and excessive hair growth.
For the prevention and treatment of diseases and hormone imbalances, it’s crucial to maintain good health. Early diagnosis and taking the required steps to treat the condition and open the door to a successful pregnancy are the most effective treatments for PCOD and PCOS. If you want to get the best treatment for PCOD and PCOS, then you must visit Queen’s Gynecology clinic in Delhi. The highly qualified doctors of this clinic have huge experience in the field and have helped a number of females till date to overcome this lifestyle disease.