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Most times people use PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and PCOD (polycystic ovarian disease) interchangeably. This is because both the conditions are associated with ovaries, an integral part of the female reproductive system and show similar symptoms. Every woman has two ovaries which produce female hormones and release one egg each month into the uterus. At times, the ovaries can release more than one egg. Apart from producing estrogen or the female hormone the ovaries also produce traces of androgen or testosterone, which is the male reproductive hormone. Hormonal imbalances in the ovaries can lead to conditions like PCOS and PCOD.
While people usually think that both PCOS and PCOD are same because they are similar symptomatically and are caused due to hormonal imbalances, but in reality, they are different, albeit marginally. A woman suffering from PCOD might not have the same problems like the one suffering from PCOS, says Dr Beena Jeysingh, Consultant, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Motherhood Hospitals, Bengaluru.
What is PCOD?
This is a condition where the ovaries have small follicular cysts developed due to hormonal imbalances. These cysts are actually immature eggs that could not be expelled out of the ovary. High insulin levels, dependency on junk food, obesity, stress coupled with hormonal imbalances are thought to be some reasons that give rise to PCOD. Some of the symptoms of this condition are irregular periods, hair loss, abdominal obesity and inability to conceive.
In this condition, the ovaries become enlarged and there is an excess of androgen or male reproductive hormone secreted by them along with estrogen. This condition can be picked up when a woman goes for an ultrasound to check for causes of menstrual irregularities. While many people think PCOD might interfere with pregnancy, this is not true. This condition doesn t spell infertility for all women. In around 80 percent of cases, women can conceive with a little help and have a smooth pregnancy. But for the remaining 20 percent who suffer from PCOD and are overweight, for them conceiving could be difficult, says Dr Singh. Here are nine myths and facts about fertility that everyone should know.
What is PCOS?
This is more severe than PCOD. In this condition, there are at least twelve or more follicular cysts produced in each ovary, every month. The ovum is not released from the ovary resulting in anovulation, and there is a high level of testosterone or androgen secreted by the ovaries. In PCOS the hormonal imbalance is way more than that in PCOD, says Dr Singh. However, both are marked by irregularities in the menstrual cycle, hair loss, obesity and inability to conceive. For women with PCOS conception is challenging because of the hormonal irregularities. To conceive one needs to have balanced hormonal cycles that create an environment for the ovum to release and infuse with the sperm after intercourse. Since the levels of androgens are too high, if one falls under the syndrome this makes it challenging for conception, says Dr Singh.
In both cases, timely diagnosis and corrective treatment can help overcome the syndrome and make the road for conception.
Image source: Shutterstock
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