PCOD is a common problem amongst teenage girls and young women. It is now seen in 1 out of 10 women in the metros, probably in 3-4 out of 10 teenage girls today.
What is PCOD?
Polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD) is a syndrome of hormonal imbalance causing irregular cycles, weight gain and androgenic symptoms.
What are the signs of PCOD?
PCOD manifests in one or more of the following, so an alert could be set up by any of them:
- Weight gain or difficulty in losing weight despite diet and exercise.
- Irregularly or scanty periods.
- Excessive hair growth especially on face, breasts, thighs (hirsutism).
- Excessive hair fall from scalp.
- Pigmentation or patchy dark skin especially on neck (acanthosis nigrans).
Why does PCOD occur?
PCOD is a metabolic disease closely linked to a genetic predisposition of diabetes which is a bane for most Indians and a sedentary lifestyle, hence in today’s tech world of TV and computers and junk food, seen oftener and more rampant.
PCOD happens when a hormone (LH) from the pituitary gland or levels of insulin are high, leading to anovulation and irregular cycles and increased testosterone causing hirsutism and acne.
Why is it important to treat PCOD?
Not only are the features of PCOD like excessive facial hair, acne and weight gain distressing for young girls, in the long run, untreated PCOD can lead to infertility and diabetes.
Can PCOD be cured?
Since, PCOD is part of the genetic makeup, it can’t be cured but can be easily treated and kept under control, even for life.
What is the treatment of PCOD?
Regular exercise and healthy eating habits is the first step in PCOD management. Excellent medications including birth control pills, metformin, antiandrogenic medications and insulin sensitizers form the mainstay of therapy.
Can PCOD be prevented?
If regular exercise is incorporated in the lifestyle, PCOD manifestations can be prevented. A nutritious, balanced, low surgery carbohydrate diet needs to be maintained. Have fruits, nuts and fibre rich grains with high protein content in the diet.
So, PCOD being a lifestyle disease can be prevented and controlled by incorporating a healthy lifestyle.
Dr. Meenakshi Ahuja
Director, Obstetrics & Gynaecology