PCOD stands for Polycystic Ovary Disease and PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Both the terms indicate a common hormonal disorder resulting in chronic anovulation in women when irregular menstrual cycle with increased male hormones are present in their body during their reproductive age. The symptoms vary from one to the other. Most commonly the ovaries get enlarged with multiple small cysts which is visible in ultra sound. The disruption in menstrual cycle and late onset of period is one indicative factor. Presence of more male hormones prevents women from ovulating causing infertility. Problems like Hirsutism or increased growth of hair in the body also happens due to production of androgens or male hormones. It can also lead to balding like condition in men or cause acne. Constantly high levels of LH hormone results in anovulation, the level of Progesterone doesn’t rise. As a result of anovulation the endometrium is exposed to unopposed estrogen thereby increasing risk of endometrial cancer. Women suffering from PCOD/PCOS are generally obese. Insulin resistance accompanied by elevated blood level of insulin is possible even when the women are not obese. Many women with this problem are found to develop type 2 diabetes also. The exact cause of PCOS is unknown. It can happen due to genetic and environmental factors.
In many situations women showing similar symptoms don’t have Polycystic ovaries. Therefore, the term PCOS is more commonly used. It cannot be cured but can be effectively controlled by medication and lifestyle modification. With the help of proper diet and exercise, hormonal imbalance can be corrected spontaneously and normal ovulation might start. However, many women have reported that with strict regimental diet and exercise also they haven’t achieved much. Medicines such as oral contraceptive pills lower the level of male hormones and regulates the menstrual cycle. It also reduces the excess hair growth.
A regulated or normal cycle results in ovulation with increased chance of fertility. Different medications are used to treat PCOS depending upon the age and condition of the patient. All the women with PCOS are not infertile. Infertility can be treated better with Assisted Reproductive Technology or ART procedure. Hence such women need to see an IVF Specialist for pregnancy.