Polycystic Ovarian Disease or syndrome (PCOD or PCOS): Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

PCOD or PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Disease or syndrome) occurs when level of sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone of women go out of control. These imbalance of hormone level will induces growth of small ovarian cysts.

Updated: October 17, 2017

PCOD or PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Disease or syndrome) occurs when level of sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone of women go out of control. These imbalance of hormone level will induces growth of small ovarian cysts which results into pregnancy related issues.
In polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD), the patient will have multiple small cysts in her ovaries . These cysts occur when the regular changes of a normal menstrual cycle are disrupted. The ovary is enlarged and produces excessive amounts of androgen and estrogenic hormones. This excessive secretion of hormons along with the absence of ovulation, may cause infertility.

Causes of PCOD:

Causes of PCOD could be:

  • Genetic reasons
  • Prior history of PCOD in family
  • Hormonal Imbalance
  • Elevated level of Androgen hormone

Excess weight may complicate the problem.

Symptoms of PCOD

In PCOD, the ovaries stop working normally and the hormones get out of balance, leading to one or more symptoms which include:

  • Excessive hair on body and face
  • Thinning hair on the scalp
  • Acne or skin rashes
  • Abnormal weight gain or obesity
  • Irregular or abnormal periods
  • Pain and bleeding during periods
  • Pelvic pain
  • Despondency and anxiety
  • Depression
  • Problems pertaining to fertility and pregnancy
  • Heart (cardiac) complications

Diagnosis of PCOD:


Diagnosis of PCOD can be done by the doctor by asking few questions about your past health, symptoms, and menstrual cycles.

  • A physical examination can also be done to look for signs of PCOS, such as extra body hair and high blood pressure. Your height and weight will be checked to see if you have a healthy body mass index (BMI).
  • A number of blood tests will be done to check your blood sugar, insulin, and other hormone levels. Hormone tests can help rule out thyroid or other gland problems that could cause similar symptoms.
  • An elevated level of androgen hormone will indicate the presence of PCOD.
  • A pelvic ultrasound can be done to look for cysts on your ovaries.

Treatment Of PCOD:

Hormonal imbalance in a woman’s body is the main problems with PCOD which affect the entire body. So this issue needs to be addressed first to gradually bring the body back to its natural state of balance. Once the hormones are regulated and stabilized, most of the associated health issues naturally subside.
Lifestyle modifications is the most important factor in treatment of PCOD that help are eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and quitting smoking.  PCOS/PCOD can be managed with certain lifestyle changes as well as with medical therapies.

  • A healthy diet and moderate exercise is recommended for all women with PCOD, especially those who are overweight. This can help regulate the menstrual cycle and lower blood glucose levels.
  • Birth control pills may be prescribed for those women who are not planning to conceive. These pills can help treat acne, regulate the menstrual cycle and lower levels of male hormones, like testosterone, in the body. Fertility medicines may be given to aid ovulation for those  woman who have infertility issue.
  • A low-calorie diet combined with moderate exercise will be recommended to lose weight for those woman who are overweight. In fact, losing 5% of body weight also can help improve PCOD condition. The medications for PCOD will be more effective if you reduce weight.
  • Anti-androgens are medicines that reduce male hormone levels, help stop abnormal or excess hair growth and reduce acne. Diabetes medications may also be prescribed to lower blood glucose levels and testosterone levels, for those women who are suffering from diabetes.
  • If nothing works lastly, surgery may be recommended to some women. A procedure known as ovarian drilling or laparoscopy is used by doctors which can promote ovulation and reduce male hormone levels. But it is a short-term solution. It drills multiple holes in ovary and carefully destroys abnormal ovarian tissues that are causing problems. This restores normal ovarian functions and enables women to ovulate. However, the surgeon must keep in mind to only destroy stroma and not the cortex of ovary as cortex is the repository of eggs and if damaged, the entire ovarian process get adversely affected.


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