What is Polycystic Ovarian Disease?

Polycystic Ovarian Disease (or PCOD) is caused by hormonal imbalances in women. Polycystic Ovarian Disease is characterized by formation of small cysts or fluid filled small circular sacs lining the inner walls of the ovaries. Normally such cysts form and disappear on their own but sometimes when they don’t go away, their presence may create some difficulties, such as irregular menstruation and infertility.

What happens in Polycystic Ovarian Disease?

Normally cysts are formed every month before the onset of the periods and go away after the periods are over, but in Polycystic Ovarian Disease the cysts remain and cause obstructions to other functions of female hormones like fertility, sex hormones etc. Polycystic Ovarian Disease usually occurs during the reproductive age.

What causes Polycystic Ovarian Disease?

The likely causes of Polycystic Ovarian Disease are:

  • Genetic factor: If the mother has it, then the daughters chances of having it increase by 50%

  • Hormonal imbalance: Malfunctioning of one hormone may trigger malfunction of another hormone

  • High androgen level: Increase in the level of male hormone androgen.

  • High insulin and blood sugar levels.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms felt in Polycystic Ovarian Disease are:

  • Few or no menstrual periods especially in the teens

  • Heavy irregular vaginal bleeding and miscarriages

  • Hair loss due to high androgen levels

  • Acne and oily skin due to male hormone androgen

  • Depression and mood swings

Gradual symptoms include: Infertility, lack of ovulation obesity, sleeplessness, high blood pressure, breathing problems and growth of hair on face.

How is Polycystic Ovarian Disease diagnosed?

Early diagnosis and treatment may help prevent serious health problems. If you are in your teens and have not had your periods by the age of 15, and if you have excess hair on face, chest and back or if you have only 8 -9 periods in a year; then it is time to see the doctor, particularly, if less or no menstruation persists for more than 2 years consecutively.

The presence of the above symptoms will decide on this condition plus certain lab tests for thyroid, pelvic ultrasound and Imaging tests.

Who are at risk?

Generally women are at risk, but the increased risk may be due to the fact that if your mother or sister is having this condition then you are likely to have it if you are a girl. The other risk is the strong relation between family history of diabetes and Polycystic Ovarian Disease. Certain medications increase the risk.

Is Polycystic Ovarian Disease curable? Can it be prevented?

There is no cure for Polycystic Ovarian Disease, but treatment may help you overcome the symptoms of irregular periods, infertility, diabetes, uterine cancer and heart diseases.

Regular visits to the Gynecologist will help you with this condition.

Well balanced diet and exercises are an important part of treatment.

Polycystic Ovarian Disease cannot be prevented but early diagnosis and treatment can prevent long term complications like infertility, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

How do we cope with Polycystic Ovarian Disease?

There are many ladies who are famous and have Polycystic Ovarian Disease diagnosed at an early age and have managed to overcome the symptoms. Victoria Beckham is one such celeb who has Polycystic Ovarian Disease and is living in harmony with the condition and is successful and happy. Victoria has 4 children and being in public eye, looks after her appearance well.

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