Difference between PCOS and PCOD: Their symptoms, causes, treatment and prevention | Health - Hindustan Times
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Difference between PCOS and PCOD: Their symptoms, causes, treatment and prevention

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
May 30, 2024 12:42 PM IST

Here's all you need to know about the difference between PCOS and PCOD - their symptoms, causes, prevention and treatment or management strategies

Policystic Ovaries Syndrome (PCOS) and Policystic Ovarian Disorder (PCOD) are similar but show different symptoms, causes and remedies. PCOD can produce immature eggs that form cysts in the ovaries and leads to a chronic ovarian disease while PCOS also influences the body's metabolism and is characterised by insulin resistance, which goes beyond the effect of ovarian dysfunction to the whole body.

Difference between PCOS and PCOD: Their symptoms, causes, treatment and prevention (Photo by PCOS Living)
Difference between PCOS and PCOD: Their symptoms, causes, treatment and prevention (Photo by PCOS Living)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Anita K Sharma – Senior Director, Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Max Hospital in Delhi's Vaishali, shared, “PCOS and PCOD show common symptoms but are different in some respects. PCOS is distinguished by irregular menstrual cycles, hirsutism (excessive hair growth), acne, and obesity, a systemic metabolic effect. Women with PCOS may also suffer to develop insulin resistance, which manifests as exhaustion, increased appetite, and the failure to lose weight.”

She added, “In contrast to PCOD which is often accompanied by irregular periods, the latter can have pelvic pain and discomfort which could be caused by the ovarian cysts. While both the disorders might result in fertility difficulties, the symptoms of PCOS are more severe and varied and may result in the occurrence of long-term problems including hypertension, diabetes and endometrial cancer.”

Dr Anita K Sharma further explained, “PCOS is a less common than PCOD, which is found in about 10% of the population. Genetics and unhealthy living habits are among the factors which play a role in the development of both mental health issues. The PCOD has the primary ovarian involvement and hence is more easily reversible with medicines. On the contrary PCOS presents a problem in treating with medicines. PCOS has a more risk of hypertension, diabetes and endometrial cancer to which PCOD has less risk.”

She suggested, “To cope with symptoms and prevent serious health issues, the approaches of treating the diseases is based on the modification of lifestyle by managing on the diet, exercises, healthy lifestyle and medicine. Nevertheless, PCOS care could seem more complex, thus its treatment requires a multispecialty approach designed to cater to each person.”

Bringing her expertise to the same, Dr Deepika Aggarwal, Director - Obs and Gynae at CK Birla Hospital in Gurugram, stated that while polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS and polycystic ovarian disorder or PCOD are closely related conditions, they do have notable differences and elaborated -

1.Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS):

  • A hormonal condition affecting women who are pregnant.
  • It has a variety of symptoms, such as polycystic ovaries (ovaries with numerous tiny cysts), irregular periods, and high levels of androgen (male hormones).
  • PCOS can cause insulin resistance, obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular problems in addition to reproductive difficulties.
  • Three criteria are usually present for a diagnosis: polycystic ovaries on ultrasonography, high androgen levels, and irregular periods.

2. Polycystic Ovarian Disorder (PCOD):

  • Although PCOD and PCOS are sometimes used interchangeably, PCOD can specifically refer to the existence of numerous ovarian cysts without the complete range of symptoms associated with PCOS.
  • While irregular periods and ovarian cysts are common features of PCOD, hormonal imbalances and metabolic problems associated with PCOS may not always be present.

Highlighting that prevention and management strategies for both PCOS and PCOD are similar, Dr Deepika Aggarwal recommended:

  1. Maintain a healthy weight as obese or overweight people may have worsening PCOS and PCOD symptoms. Regular exercise, paired with a well-balanced diet, can aid with weight management and discomfort relief.
  2. Eat a balanced diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meats and healthy fats. Eat fewer processed, sugary, and high-fat foods.
  3. Regular exercise is very important as incorporating physical activity into your daily routine can help you with these conditions. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week.
  4. Manage your stress as excess stress might exacerbate symptoms. Include stress-relieving routines in your daily routine, such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises.
  5. Periodic medical check-ups are of utmost importance and by Visiting your doctor on a regular basis will help you in managing any health issues associated with PCOS or PCOD, such as insulin resistance, high blood pressure, or cholesterol levels, as well as monitoring your symptoms.
  6. Medication may be prescribed in some cases to decrease insulin resistance, lower testosterone levels, or regulate menstrual cycles. These could include anti-androgen medications, metformin (for insulin resistance) and birth control pills.
  7. Women who are trying to conceive may benefit from fertility therapies to assist stimulate ovulation.

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