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Everything To Know About PCOS – Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Have you just found out you have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and you are confused about what you should do or what is best for your body? 

Your doctors are giving you birth control pills to manage your irregular periods. Meanwhile, you are tired of getting intense facial hair growth. On one side, you hate being called fatty due to gaining excess weight, and on the other side, you are fighting with anxiety and mood swings. 

It’s not easy ladies! Because most of the people around you don’t know much about this disorder. To much surprise, every 1 out of 5 women have this issue and syndrome, and most of the women aren’t aware of this condition like PCOS/PCOD. Let’s read more about this and try educating everyone around you so that they can understand and cope up with you. This article is all about PCOS/PCOD, how does it affect your body, and how you can control it!

What is PCOD?

Polycystic Ovarian Disorder is not a disease but a condition of ‘Hormonal Imbalance’ PCOD is found in women between the age of 15 and 45 who are in their reproductive phase.

It affects women’s ovaries, the reproductive organs that produce estrogen and progesterone. Women with this condition produce high amounts of male hormones and this hormonal imbalance causes irregular periods and further complications in conceiving and facing fertility Issues. Cysts can be seen in the ovaries. The Cysts observed on the lining of ovaries are immature eggs that haven’t matured yet to be ejected out of the body through menses. 

PCOS is a “syndrome,” or group of symptoms that affects the ovaries and ovulation. The main three features of this syndrome are

  • cysts in the ovaries
  • high levels of male hormones
  • irregular or skipped periods

Let’s make it clear by differentiating between PCOD and PCOS.

PCOD is a condition in which ovaries contain many immature eggs. This eventually turns into a cyst. Junk Food, overweight, stress, and hormonal changes give rise to this disorder.

While PCOS is a metabolic disorder that is more severe than PCOD. This condition has more serious complications and the women with PCOS are at risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular issues.

  • Multiple Cyst formation on the Ovaries
  • Irregular, heavy, or infrequent periods
  • Thinning or Loss of Hair
  • Fertility Issues
  • Weight Gain
  • Mood Swings
  • Excess hair growth on the face, chest, etc
  • Sleep Disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Acne and Oily Skin
  • Male Pattern Baldness
  • The darkness of the Skin

The worst Symptom of PCOS is Fatigue

Yes, if you feel you cannot concentrate on basic things of your daily routine then you should get yourself checked. This condition leaves women exhausted and anxious.

Tests that can determine whether you are having this condition or not

  • Luteinising Hormone Test (LH)
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone Test (FSH)
  • Serum Prolactin Test
  • Total Testosterone Test
  • Pelvic Ultrasound

Now that you know something about it. You should also know there is not a single type of hormonal balance. If you have PCOS, that doesn’t make you similar to your friend who has the same condition. There are different kinds of hormonal imbalances. We have listed them all to make you understand the basics.

The most common Hormonal Imbalances in PCOS:

1. Insulin Resistance (IR)

IR affects up to 70% of women with PCOS and is really at the core of many women’s PCOS. IR occurs when the cells of your body no longer react to the hormone, insulin, as they should.

IR is responsible for PCOS symptoms such as irregular periods, fertility issues, weight gain, increased cravings, and hunger, poor energy levels, poor sleep.

2. High Androgens

In PCOS, high androgens are a direct result of either; high insulin, stress, inflammation, or excess body fat, or a combination of these factors.

High androgens are responsible for many of the most unwanted symptoms of PCOS such as hair loss, hair growth, acne, irregular periods, and fertility issues

3. High Cortisol

High cortisol levels are a result of chronic stress which many women with PCOS struggle with due to the physical, emotional, and social pressures they face having PCOS.

High cortisol leads to midsection fat gain, high insulin levels, high androgen levels, acne, and increased risk for metabolic syndrome.

4. Low Progesterone

Progesterone is produced by the corpus luteum after ovulation but, if you’re not regularly ovulating then you will have low progesterone levels.

Low progesterone leads to low sex drive, anxiety, depression, weight gain, thyroid dysfunction, and fatigue.

5. Low Thyroid

Low thyroid or hypothyroidism is a condition that around 22% of women with PCOS will have. Your thyroid is incredibly important for overall hormonal balance.

Low thyroid leads to exhaustion, tiredness, weight gain, feeling cold, weakness, hair loss, and depression.

What Causes PCOS?

The causes for PCOS are to date unclear, however, PCOS can be caused by a lot of reasons including Genetics, Obesity, High Blood Pressure, and Insulin Resistance. Most doctors say that this is a lifestyle disorder. 

Natural Treatment for Polycystic Ovarian Disorder

There is no cure for PCOS, but it can be controlled by ‘Lifestyle Management.

Healthy Lifestyle: Healthy Lifestyle means you should follow a good routine. Sleeping at the proper time, taking an ample amount of sleep. Saying yes to physical activity, always. Eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the proper time.

Say No To Caffeine: If you are a coffee lover, then stop and think about the repercussions. Caffeine is not at all good for your body. So try avoiding anything which has caffeine. Because these days, green tea also contains caffeine. So check twice before buying and consuming such beverages.

Exercise: Physical exercises can help you battling with Pcos. You don’t need to do heavy workouts. You can try walking for 45 minutes. You can also prefer doing yoga and meditation. Yoga works for your body, mind, and soul. Not only will it help your body cope with the issues, but it will also calm your mind.

Get More Vitamin D: Most women with PCOS have a deficiency of Vitamin D. Thus, by adding Vitamin D to your routine, you can see visible changes in insulin sensitivity, etc. 

What are the other risks of having PCOS?

It’s not that simple. Having this disorder can give rise to many more complications if you are not going to make any efforts to manage it.

1. Diabetes

Most cases of PCOS showed that women are prone to diabetes. Due to insulin resistance, your body is not able to digest carbs and sugar so there are heavy risks of having diabetes.

2. Liver Diseases

PCOS affects the Liver. It makes it weak and exposed to further infections. Hormonal imbalance in the body directly contributes to the deterioration of liver health. 

3. Blood Pressure

Diabetes and blood pressure go hand in hand. It is not clear whether diabetes causes blood fluctuations or blood pressure leads to diabetic function. 

4. Infertility

Most women these days complain about not being able to conceive. The major reason behind infertility issues is hormonal Imbalance. While this infertility can be cured with medication that helps reverse PCOS, some women can only get pregnant through IVF or after an operation.

5. Depression and Anxiety

Hormones, mood swings give rise to the mental state of a human being. The disturbance in the delicate balance of hormones leads to depression, anxiety. 

6. Sleep Apnea

Obesity causes Sleep Apnea which leads to psychological issues, as well as the development of more adipose tissue in the body

7. Metabolic Syndrome

According to a study, 80 percent of women with PCOS are overweight or obese. Both PCOS and obesity can increase the risk of high blood sugar levels. Low HDL – (Good Cholesterol) and High LDL – (Bad Cholesterol)

Myths about PCOD

  • Only birth control pills can regulate periods among patients.
  • It is impossible to lose weight if you have PCOS
  • You cannot get pregnant if you have PCOS
  • It only affects Overweight women

Foods to Add to your List

1. High Fibre Vegetables: Insulin resistance is one of the major issues faced by PCOS women. Insulin is generated by the pancreas to convert sugar into glucose. Thus Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower are beneficial for you. Also, try including green leafy vegetables like lettuce, etc. Add berries, almonds, sweet potatoes, lentils, and beans to your diet.

2. Lean Protein: Lean protein sources like chicken, tofu, fish don’t provide fibers but are good for women with PCOS conditions. Food that reduces inflammation must also be included in the diet. Add Kale, spinach, olive oil, and fruits such as strawberries, blueberries are boons to you.

3. Dark Chocolate in Moderation

4. Spices such as turmeric and cinnamon

Foods to Avoid

1. Foods are rich in refined carbohydrates.

2. Sugary snacks and solids

3. Processed food like red meat

4. High processed food like

  • White Bread
  • Sugary Desserts
  • Muffins

5. Sugar is a carbohydrate and should be avoided wherever possible. Try and also avoid fried food such as fast food

6. Say No to cold and soda drinks

Lifestyle Changes You Must Opt

You should try focussing on major lifestyle changes to manage your PCOS. Research has shown that physical activity with a good diet can make your conditions better. Try following these points

  • Regular exercise
  • Yoga and breathing practices
  • A good amount of sound sleep
  • Stress-free lifestyle
  • Try doodling and journaling

Conclusion

This issue needs more attention and awareness among women. There should be more talks and discussions regarding the same. But yes, Instagram is playing a significant role in making women aware of so many social, mental, and physical issues. Instagram influencers like Kusha Kapila, Dolly Singh, Sucharita Tyagi keep on talking about PCOD.

Some pages on Instagram can help you to deal with this condition. As you aren’t alone. There are so many women out there who are going through the same.

By Saakshi Pathak

Saakshi Pathak aka Iska Review girl is a blogger, script writer, book reviewer, youtuber and a show host. Her writings are often witty and layered with sarcastic comments. She makes videos on social issues and has also been working with various media houses as a freelance content creator. She loves collecting and wearing jhumkas. She's an avid book reader. She is currently based in Chandigarh and is working as a freelancer.

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