POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN DISEASE/PCOD
WHAT IS PCOD?
PCOD has become very common in the present years. On pelvic ultrasonography, we find one in every 5 women.PCOD is a problem caused by imbalance of hormones that affects women during their childbearing years (ages 15 to 44). Many women have PCOD and don’t even know it!
Women with PCOD produce higher-than-normal amounts of male hormones. This hormone imbalance causes them to have irregular menstrual periods and makes it harder for them to get pregnant.PCOD also causes hair growth on the face and body, acne and baldness. And it can contribute to long-term health problems like diabetes and heart disease.
The exact cause of PCOD is not known. Most experts think that several factors, including genetics, play a role.
WHAT HAPPENS IN PCOD?
Changes in the ovaries: Ovaries are usually enlarged in size and show multiple peripheral small cysts.
High levels of androgens. Androgens are sometimes called "male hormones," although all women make small amounts of androgens. Androgens control the development of male traits, such as male-pattern baldness. Women with PCOS have more androgens than normal. Estrogens are also called "female hormones." Higher than normal androgen levels in women can prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg (ovulation) during each menstrual cycle, and can cause extra hair growth and acne, two signs of PCOS.
High levels of insulin. Many women with PCOS have insulin resistance, especially those who are overweight or obese, have unhealthy eating habits, do not get enough physical activity, and have a family history of diabetes. Over time, insulin resistance can lead to type 2 diabetes.
HOW IS PCOD DIAGNOSED?
There is no single test to diagnose PCOS.
Physical exam. The doctor will look at to haveskin for extra hair on your face, chest or back, acne, or skin discoloration,any hair loss or signs of other health conditions (such as an enlarged thyroid gland).
Pelvic ultrasound (sonogram). This test uses soundwaves to examine ovaries for cysts and check the endometrium (lining of the uterus or womb) Your ovaries may be 1½ to 3 times larger than normal when you have PCOD. Ultrasound can show ovary changes in about 90% of women who have PCOD.
- Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) affects your ability to get pregnant. Your level might be lower than normal, or even normal if you have PCOS.
- Luteinizing hormone (LH)encourages ovulation. It could be higher than normal.
- Testosterone is a sex hormone that would be higher in women with PCOS.
- Estrogens are a group of hormones that allow women to get their periods. Your level may be normal or high if you have PCOS.
- Your level of sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) may be lower than normal.
- A sex hormone called androstenedione may be at a higher-than-normal level.
- Anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH): This test can check how well your ovaries are working and to help estimate how far off menopause may be. The levels would be higher with PCOS.
- Insulin levels: This test may show high levels of insulin
- Your doctor may recommend a few more tests to rule out other conditions such as thyroid problems, tumors, and hyperplasia (organ-swelling due to too many cells) that have similar symptoms to PCOD.
- Losing weight. If you are overweight or obese, losing weight through healthy eating, including eating the right amount of calories for you, and regular physical activity can help make your menstrual cycle more regular and improve your fertility.
- Medicine. Oral contraceptives, hormonal medicines, clomiphene, metformin are some of the medicines used to treat PCOD and its consequences..
- Surgery. Surgery is also an option, usually only if the other options do not work. Ovarian drilling is a surgery in which the doctor makes a few holes in the surface of your ovary using lasers or a fine needle heated with electricity. Surgery usually restores ovulation, but only for six to eight months.