Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) or Polycystic Ovary Disease (PCOD) is a common problem worldwide among women where a woman’s hormones are out of balance.
PCOD may cause problems with a woman’s
- Menstrual cycle – irregular periods
- Infertility – trouble in getting pregnant
- Obesity – weight gain and trouble losing weight
- Hirsutism – extra hair on face, chest, and abdomen
- Acne – pimples, blackheads, and bumps
- Insulin resistance – resulting in increasing blood sugar
- Ovaries – Multiple cysts on their ovaries
- Mental health – Depression, mood swings, and anxiety
What causes PCOD?
The root cause of PCOD is still not known but the effects are due to abnormal pituitary hormone secretion, high levels of insulin and abnormal production of male hormones in the ovaries.
What are Ovaries and Follicles?
Ovaries are female a part of the female reproductive system. All women have two ovaries that produce eggs during the menstrual cycle.
Follicles are small fluid sacs in the ovaries which produce matured egg from an immature egg during the menstrual cycle.
For a healthy woman:
Brain secretes a hormone called GnRH (Gonadotropin-releasing hormone) in different patterns of GnRH pulses.
Pituitary gland gets stimulated by GnRH pulses to release luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).
Secretion of LH and FSH from the pituitary gland varies throughout the menstrual cycle depending on patterns of GnRH hormone from the brain.
- Fast GnRH pulses are in favor of LH
- Slow GnRH pulses are in favor of FSH
What is the function of LH and FSH?
LH and FSH react with outer and inner follicle regions.
- LH reacts with outer follicle to produce androgens(male hormones)
- FSH stimulates the reaction of androgens and inner follicle cells to produce Estradiol(E2)
Estradiol helps in maturing the immature egg.
For a woman with PCOD
Cysts are formed on the ovaries resulting in irregular or prolonged periods due to higher levels of LH.
- LH secretion increases producing more male hormones or androgens
- High androgens levels result in less FSH levels producing lesser Estradiol(E2)
Lesser the Estradiol(E2), it is difficult to mature the egg causing cysts in the ovaries.
Higher androgen levels lead to acne, abnormal hair growth and insulin resistance makes weight loss more difficult, which can lead to obesity.
But all diabetics do not have PCOD, it only depends on how a woman’s body reacts to excess insulin.
Approximately 34% of women with PCOD have depression compared to 7% of women in the general population and around 45% have anxiety, compared to only 18% of the general population. It has also been shown that the longer it takes to receive a diagnosis of PCOS, the more likely women are to be depressed or anxious.
Research shows experiencing the symptoms of PCOS, including excess hair growth, hair loss, acne, weight changes and fertility problems, can negatively affect mood, self–confidence and body image.
PCOD is difficult to handle only from medication but it can be managed.
Read more: Natural Home remedies for PCOD
Good Health, Together.