Polycystic Ovary Disease/Syndrome (PCOD/PCOS)

Amogh Gadewar
Amogh Gadewar

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Just a few days back, one of my friend came up to me and expressed her concern over the problems she was facing as a result of PCOD which she got diagnosed recently. While talking to her, I realized even when so many women in India are suffering from this hormonal disorder (many of my clients too suffer from this), most of them are totally unaware about its treatment and its causes. Moreover, they carry a lot of myths which aggravates the condition. So let us try to understand what PCOD is all about. ___________________________________ Polycystic Ovary Disease (PCOD) ___________________________________ WHAT IS PCOD? PCOD is a hormonal disorder present in women. Basically, in women ovaries are responsible for making female sex hormones (Progesterone and Estrogen) and a tiny amount of male sex hormones (Androgens). During each menstrual cycle, these hormones are responsible for normal development of eggs in the ovaries which are stored in sac like structures called follicles. Now, any imbalance(secretion of more male sex hormones and less female sex hormones) in these sex hormones can cause a disorder where these eggs stored in the follicles do not get matured and thus, are not released from the ovaries (opposite to what happens in a menstrual cycle). Instead, they form very small cysts in the ovaries. This condition is known as Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD). _____________________ CAUSES and ISSUES? _____________________ Now, what causes this disorder in women? 1. Hereditary ->. Most women carry this disorder and pass on to their next generation and the cycle continues till someone in the chain takes an action on this. 2. Obesity and Hormonal Imbalance -> This can aggravate PCOD as fatty tissues are generally are active hormonally which can cause hormonal imbalance in the body. Obese women are more likely to have menstrual irregularity and anvolatory infertility than normal weight women [1] which is one of the major causes of PCOD. Also, women having overactive adrenal glands can produce excess male hormones which in turn contribute towards PCOD. 3. Vicious Cycle and Lifestyle -> Weight gain increases the chances of having PCOD as explained above and women having PCOD generally have poor insulin resistance and low tolerance to carbohydrates due to which they pile on weight easily. Moreover, sedentary lifestyle and bad eating habits (junk, packaged or processed foods) make the process of weight gain very easy. _____________ SYMPTOMS _____________ 1. Irregular periods 2. Growth of hair on Face and body 3. Complications in pregnancy 4. Non-alcoholic Fatty liver disease 5. Acne and Weight gain 6. Glucose Intolerance and Type-2 & Gestational Diabetes Mellitus 7. Systemic inflammation 8. Hypertension and Depression _____________ SOLUTIONS _____________ Most doctors would recommend numerous pills like metformin in order to reduce the hormonal imbalance; they would also recommend surgeries in some cases. But, even the doctors would agree that the first line treatment in case of PCOD is Weight (Fat) loss and Exercise. 1. Diet. Caloric deficit diets low in Carbohydrates. Numerous studies have shown positive effects of low calorific diets with low carbohydrates on women suffering from PCOD/PCOS [2]. As we now know, women in PCOD have poor insulin resistance, the approach of the diet therapy in such women must be to reach specific goals such as improving insulin resistance, metabolic and reproductive functions that will be possible through the design of low-calorie diet to achieve weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight. In order to achieve this, please stay away from simple sugars, refined carbohydrates and foods high in trans fatty acids (basically sweets and packaged or junk food). If you cannot cut down on carbohydrates completely (ideal solution for PCOD), Start to eat clean with food low in glycemic index and high in fibre like Oats, Muesli, sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables etc. Also have a periodic check on your vitamin d3 and omega 3 levels [3,4]. 2. Exercise. When we talk of losing fat, one more thing which comes into our mind is exercise. Even doctors recommend the patients to start performing some exercises like cardio, swimming etc as increased physical activity is one of the most important step in weight loss. But we know that the best form of exercise to reduce fat is resistance and strength training. So, women are advised to start hitting the gym and say hello to dumbles and weights. This will go a long way to support your fat loss journey. And in addition, you will increase your body strength and feel good about yourself which will also take care of the depressing symptom of PCOD. There are many real life examples where women have successfully reversed their PCO disorders just by adopting a healthy lifestyle. So, watch your eating habits, train hard in the gym and adopt fitness as a lifestyle. Cheers! References- [1]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2861983/ [2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25125349 [3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28416368 [4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28727165

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