PCOS and endometriosis are NOT the same! Know the difference
Among the several health battles women face, two common conditions are polycystic ovarian disorder (PCOS) and endometriosis. There are so many women across the world who are suffering from PCOS and endometriosis diseases. Both conditions affect women who are of reproductive age and impact their menstrual cycle.
These two conditions are often used interchangeably or people get confused between them. However, both conditions have different causes, symptoms, and treatments.
What’s the difference between PCOS and endometriosis?
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
This is a hormonal condition seen in women of reproductive age group and leads to menstrual irregularities, acne, hirsutism, and obesity. “Women with PCOS tend to have a higher amount of male hormones (androgens). Excess androgen leads to hair growth on the face and hair loss too. The other worrisome symptoms of PCOS are mood swings, abnormal menstrual cycles, and weight gain,” says Dr Sushruta Mokadam, Senior Consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Kharadi, Pune.
Moreover, PCOS is also associated with higher levels of blood sugar as well as insulin resistance.
“Endometriosis is a disorder wherein the tissue similar to the tissue that forms the lining of the uterus is seen growing outside the uterus,” says Dr Mokadam. It can commonly affect the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and inside of the levels. This tissue acts like the endometrial tissue as it thickens, breaks down and bleeds with each menstrual cycle, and gets trapped inside the body causing scarring.
The symptoms are severe menstrual cramps, back pain, intermenstrual pain, painful intercourse, and infertility.
Is it possible to have both conditions at the same time?
Yes, it is possible for a woman to suffer from both conditions at the same time. “Both the conditions are equally worrisome, impact one’s menstruation, and can lead to infertility in women,” says Dr Mokadam. If you have these conditions simultaneously, then you will be anxious, stressed, depressed, and frustrated. Since these two conditions have overlapping symptoms, it will be difficult for one to know whether it is PCOS or endometriosis. That’s why it is important to visit a doctor.
How does the treatment of PCOS differ from endometriosis?
This is a pre-diabetic condition due to insulin resistance. You will be prescribed insulin sensitizers medication by the doctor and hormonal therapy to manage hormonal imbalances. Apart from treatment, you will have to adhere to certain lifestyle modifications like eating a well-balanced diet inclusive of all the vital nutrients, avoiding junk, spicy, oily, canned, and processed foods, exercising daily, and maintaining an optimum weight.
You will be given medication to manage pain. Hormone therapy can also do the trick by reducing pain that is arising owing to endometriosis. The doctor may also ask you to undergo surgery if required for chocolate cysts (also known as ovarian endometriomas, which are cysts filled with menstrual blood). Fertility is an important consideration and no time should be wasted in planning a pregnancy once this condition is diagnosed. Counseling is very important to understand the disease and its consequences.
Both conditions require the right treatment, and so you must be aware of their symptoms.