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Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS is the most common endocrine disorder in females, and the most common cause of female infertility. Some of the health risks associated with it include diabetes, depression, and endometrial cancer. That clearly shows how serious this problem is. Currently, there is no cure for PCOS. However, symptoms can be managed with birth control pills, regular exercise, and a healthy diet.
We are sure you must have already heard this about PCOS. Still, many people use the terms PCOD and PCOS interchangeably, without realising that they are quite different from each other. So, to help you understand these two conditions, fitness instructor Yasmin Karachiwala along with renowned gynecologist, Dr Ranjana Dhanu has spoken about PCOS and PCOD in her recent Instagram post.
Here’s what she writes, “We all know what a PCO is, but what happens when you add a D to it?”
Well, PCOS is a metabolic disorder of the endocrine system. In this condition, higher amounts of male hormones are produced and that leads to irregularities in ovulation. On the other hand, PCOD is a medical condition in which the ovaries release the eggs prematurely, which turn into cysts over time.
Explaining the difference between the two, Dr Dhanu says that PCOD refers to a problem with ovulation.
Also, take this quiz: It’s World PCOS Awareness Month! Take this quiz, and we’ll tell you if you know enough
But in PCOS, what happens is that the eggs are trapped in the ovaries, and the mature eggs are not released. Instead, they stay in the ovaries with a small amount of fluid (cuts) around them. This state is known as anovulation, when you don’t ovulate.
And that is what manifests into a different presentation, which is called PCOS. The symptoms differ from person to person, but some common ones are bleeding issues, cosmetic issues like acne or hirsutism, irregular periods or absence of periods, mood swings, irritability, weight gain, or obesity.
Dr Dhanu shares that when we were kids, we had access to outdoor games. Today, girls have no such access, which means there is hardly any physical activity happening. Instead, they are spending most of their time sitting in front of computers, and not engaging in enough exercise. Plus, there’s a lot of social media and binge eating, which are causing sleep deprivation, water retention, weight gain, hyperproteinemia, thyroid issues, mood swings, or irritability. And this lifestyle is to be blamed.
Weight gain is the most common symptom of PCOS. Dr Dhanu says that the problem with PCOS is there is no ovulation and in that case, eggs are trapped in the ovaries and are not released. And these eggs harbor the male hormones and also lead to thyroid and prolactin. The thyroid and prolactin cause water retention and weight gain, thereby worsening symptoms of PCOS. So, this is how weight gain and PCOS are linked to each other.
“One needs to target weight, diet as well as lifestyle modulation and exercise to manage PCOS. In severe cases, we need to put women on anti-diabetic treatments, or anti-prolactin. Otherwise, it can lead to weight gain and water retention or maybe binging and following the thyroid treatment. Plus, if a patient is experiencing any particular symptoms like acne or hirsutism, we start to treat those as well,” Dr Dhanu said.
Dr Dhanu clearly says that once you’re diagnosed with PCOS, you are going to live with it. But you can only reduce the severity of the diseases by controlling your weight, again with diet and lifestyle modulation and treating the symptoms. Karachiwala also asked Dr Dhanu if PCOS can be treated surgically? In response, Dr Dhanu said that there’s no place for surgery in PCOS, unless there is a fertility issue.
Karachiwala asked Dr Dhanu to guide PCOS-inflicted women on the kind of exercises they must do.
Dr Dhanu concludes,” You can incorporate ten thousand steps a day and core strengthening exercises like yoga and pilates. This will help keep diabetes, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, hypertension at bay. Not just that, exercise will help you keep your happiness levels up.”