Polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD) or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a syndrome that has taken modern world by storm. Polycystic ovarian disease or syndrome is a very common disease heard in today’s younger generation. It is a must that young girls understand this disease at an early stage as well as its causes and future implications. It is a hormonal disorder with:
- Imbalance of the two female hormones estrogen and progesterone with estrogen taking the upper hand – menstrual irregularities, infertility, increased risk of endometrial (inner lining of the uterus) and breast cancer
- Insulin resistance - obesity
- Excess of testosterone - causing acne and hair growth
What are the common symptoms of PCOD?
- Irregular period cycles
- Increase in weight especially around the waist
- Unwanted excess hair growth on face and body
- Dark pigmentation of skin around the neck
- Difficulty in conceiving a baby
Why it occurs is not known though early age of menarche (age of 1st period), pollution, unhealthy life style – fast foods and lack of exercise are blamed.
There is no cure for polycystic ovarian disease!!It can only be controlled by lifestyle management.It can be controlled (but not completely cured) by a multidisciplinary approach involving the gynecologist, dietician, dermatologist, endocrinologist, infertility expert.
But all of it boils down to adequate weight loss. Weight loss forms the cornerstone of management of this disease.Even a 5 % reduction in body weight initiates correction of the disease. The rest of the treatment is mostly symptomatic. There are medicines available for balancing hormonal to correct irregular cycles, skin treatments for acne and hair growth and pigmentation, fertility drugs for infertile patients.
The various modalities include:
- Lifestyle modification and weight reduction – suffices in most cases
- Cyclical hormonal treatment (oral contraceptive pills) for menstrual irregularities; newer drugs are also available for those wary of hormones
- Drugs (oral/injections) for ovulation induction and rupture of egg for fertility enhancement; at times laparoscopic surgery is required
- Several drugs are available for insulin resistance as well as to decrease hair growth.
- Laser treatment for hirsutism
- Treatment for acne