If you menstruate, you've probably heard of PCOD or PCOS at some point in your life if you've had enough conversations with other women. Depending on the setting, your pre-existing knowledge about the two may vary in delicacy; myths and misinformation are rampant when it comes to these unexpectedly common health issues, and despite being relatively different, the two abbreviations are frequently used interchangeably. Before we get to how exactly the two are different, let’s talk a little bit about what they actually are—their occasions, their treatments, etc.
PCOD (polycystic ovarian disease) is substantially caused by a combination of hormonal imbalance and inheritable tendencies. In a standard menstrual cycle, the two ovaries will alternately release mature, ready-to-be-fertilized eggs each month. For someone with PCOD, still, the ovaries will frequently release either immature or only partially mature eggs, which can go on to develop into lumps (little sacs filled with liquid).
This also leads to the ovaries swelling and getting larger. Generally, the ovaries release a limited amount of androgens (manly hormones) during the cycle, but in this case, the ovaries will start producing androgens in excess, which leads to symptoms like manly pattern hair loss, abdominal weight gain, irregular periods, and in some extreme cases, even infertility.
There's no set "cure" as such for PCOD, but one of the best ways to manage it is by introducing changes in your life (after having consulted professionals, of course, like your gynecologist, an endocrinologist, and a dietician). Exercise and maintaining a healthy diet (low on sugars and carbohydrates, high on protein and fibre) are the most effective ways to get your PCOD under control. This also cuts out some of the weight gain, which is certainly helpful, as even a 5% reduction in weight eases treatment considerably.
Depending on the case, a person may be given a drug to help balance their hormones. Some cases indeed bear an alternate-line remedy: laparoscopic surgery, ovarian drilling, and aromatase inhibitors, to name a few. Still, this isn't that common. People may further consult other doctors to treat some symptoms specifically—PCOD is convinced acne and hair loss can generally be solved by skin treatments—and although in the majority of cases, after minimum aid with conception, one can anticipate a smooth pregnancy, about 20% of cases (based on data collected on Indian women) may require fertility medicines or other fertility-enhancing treatments should they want to carry a baby.
PCOS has a lot of symptoms common with PCOD- weight gain, infertility, acne, irregular ages, etc. PCOS also induces metabolic patterns, which increase the threat of heart disease, strokes, and diabetes. It may also cause sleep apnea, which affects the body’s capability to breathe while you're sleeping; this means sudden pauses in breathing or the inability to breathe while asleep, which in turn leads to a largely disturbed sleep cycle. As no ovulation is taking place, the uterine lining (lining of the uterus) builds up every month, which can also increase the chances of endometrial cancer.
To stabilize the menstrual cycle and treat many other symptoms, PCOS is typically treated with oral contraceptives (birth control capsules) containing oestrogen (a womanish hormone) and progestin (which mimics progesterone, another womanish hormone). Fresh medication may be taken to reduce the chances of endometrial cancer and diabetes, as well as for acne and skin problems. Weight loss and living a healthier life will also aid the treatment process in this case.
Differences b/w PCOS & PCOD
Now that we’ve covered the introductory ground regarding both of these menstrual health issues, let’s focus on the many differences between them too.
First and foremost, PCOS is generally considered a more serious condition. PCOD is frequently manageable through informed lifestyle changes and may not require any further medical treatment at all. PCOS is still a complaint of the endocrine system; it has further threatened implications, and its treatment nearly always requires external hormone input.
Along with that, PCOD is also far more common, at least in women. About one-third of all menstruating women around the globe have PCOD. PCOS isn't that common- though it isn’t rare moreover.
Finally, both hormonal diseases have infertility as a contributing side effect, though not to the same extent. As discussed ahead, if one has PCOD, with some extra precautions, and minimum medical intervention, pregnancy is nearly always possible. Still, PCOS has too many hormonal irregularities, and conception is much harder in this case. While a medicine called Clomiphene is generally taken to increase fertility if one has PCOS, this drug also generally results in increased chances of twins and multiple births, which isn't always something that people want.
Whether it’s PCOS or PCOD, one cannot argue that both have a sense of social stigma and misinformation surrounding them, especially in Indian society. They’re similar to common diseases, yet they’re treated as shameful commodities to keep under wraps, as are all effects related to periods.
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