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What is PCOS?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age, characterized by imbalanced hormone levels, irregular menstruation, and cysts in the ovaries. Symptoms include irregular or absent periods, excess androgen levels leading to acne and excess facial or body hair, and difficulty in conceiving due to irregular ovulation. Alongside reproductive issues, PCOS can contribute to metabolic complications like insulin resistance, leading to increased risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Management typically involves a combination of lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise, medication to regulate hormones and manage symptoms, and, in some cases, fertility treatments for those planning to conceive. Early diagnosis and personalized treatment plans are crucial in managing the symptoms and reducing the risk of long-term complications associated with PCOS.

What is PCOD?

PCOD, short for Polycystic Ovarian Disease, is a common hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age. It is characterized by a combination of ovarian cysts, irregular periods, excessive hair growth, and acne. The exact cause of PCOD is unknown, but it is thought to be due to a combination of factors, including genetics, insulin resistance, and inflammation. PCOD is a very common condition, affecting up to one in ten women. It is more common in women who are overweight or obese, and in those with a family history of PCOD.


If you suspect you may have PCOS or PCOD or have concerns about your health, it's essential to consult with a Gynecologist.

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Common signs and symptoms of PCOD problem / PCOS

Irregular menstrual cycles: Women with PCOS often have irregular periods, which may be infrequent, prolonged, or absent.

Excess androgen levels: Elevated levels of male hormones (androgens) may cause symptoms such as acne, excessive facial or body hair (hirsutism), and male-pattern baldness (alopecia).

Polycystic ovaries: Enlarged ovaries containing multiple small follicles that may appear like a "string of pearls" on an ultrasound examination.

Weight gain or difficulty losing weight: Many women with PCOS experience weight gain, particularly around the waist area, and find it challenging to lose weight.

Skin issues: Skin problems like acne, oily skin, and darkening of skin areas, such as the neck, groin, and underneath breasts, may occur due to hormonal imbalances.

Insulin resistance and metabolic issues: PCOS is often associated with insulin resistance, which can lead to higher insulin levels and an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Additionally, it might cause difficulties in maintaining a healthy weight.

Infertility or difficulty getting pregnant: Irregular ovulation or lack of ovulation can lead to difficulties in conceiving.

Causes of PCOS and PCOD

Hormonal Imbalance: Both conditions involve hormonal disturbances, particularly an imbalance in sex hormones, including elevated levels of androgens (such as testosterone) in relation to estrogen and progesterone.

Insulin Resistance: Insulin resistance, a condition where the body's cells don't respond efficiently to insulin, might contribute to the development of PCOS. This can lead to higher insulin levels, which in turn can increase androgen production.

Genetics: There might be a genetic component involved in both PCOS and PCOD, as these conditions often run in families.

Inflammation: Chronic low-grade inflammation might also play a role in the development of these conditions.

Difference between PCOS and PCOD

Characteristic PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) PCOD (Polycystic Ovary Disease)
Full Form Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Polycystic Ovary Disease
Nature Syndrome Disease
Description Hormonal disorder affecting the ovaries Condition characterized by multiple
  with various symptoms small cysts on the ovaries
Symptoms - Irregular periods - Irregular periods
  - Excess androgen levels - Multiple small cysts on ovaries
  - Hirsutism (excess hair growth) - Hormonal imbalances
  - Acne - Infertility
Diagnosis Criteria - Irregular periods or excess androgens - Presence of multiple small cysts
  - Androgen excess on ovaries
  - Polycystic ovaries on ultrasound - Hormonal imbalances
Causes Genetics, insulin resistance, hormonal Exact cause not well understood;
  imbalances hormonal imbalances, genetics,
    insulin resistance possibly involved
Associated Risks - Infertility - Infertility
  - Diabetes - Diabetes
  - Cardiovascular diseases - Cardiovascular diseases
Treatment Approach - Lifestyle changes - Lifestyle changes
  - Medications (birth control, - Medications (birth control,
  anti-androgen medications) anti-androgen medications)
  - Fertility treatments if needed - Fertility treatments if needed

Complications of PCOS / PCOD problem

 Irregular menstrual cycles: Women with PCOS often experience irregular periods or infrequent ovulation due to hormonal imbalances, leading to difficulties in conception.

Infertility: Ovulation irregularities in PCOS can make it challenging to conceive. However, many women with PCOS can still become pregnant with appropriate medical intervention.

Metabolic issues: PCOS is often linked to insulin resistance, leading to elevated insulin levels in the body. This can result in obesity, prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, and increased cardiovascular risk factors like high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol levels.

Weight gain and obesity: Many women with PCOS struggle with weight gain or obesity, which can exacerbate hormonal imbalances, insulin resistance, and other health concerns.

Hirsutism and acne: Excess androgens (male hormones) in PCOS can cause symptoms such as excessive facial and body hair growth (hirsutism) and acne due to increased oil production in the skin.

Hair thinning or hair loss: Some women with PCOS experience male-pattern baldness or thinning of scalp hair due to the influence of androgens.

Sleep apnea: There's an increased risk of sleep apnea in women with PCOS, likely due to obesity and hormonal imbalances.

Mood disorders: PCOS has been associated with an increased prevalence of anxiety, depression, and mood swings, possibly due to hormonal fluctuations and the psychological impact of dealing with the condition.

Endometrial cancer: Irregular menstrual cycles and prolonged exposure to high levels of estrogen without the balanced effect of progesterone may increase the risk of endometrial (uterine) cancer in women with PCOS.

Gestational diabetes and pregnancy complications: Women with PCOS have a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes during pregnancy. They also have an increased risk of pregnancy-induced high blood pressure (preeclampsia), preterm birth, and miscarriage.

If you suspect you may have PCOS or PCOD or have concerns about your health, it's essential to consult with a Gynecologist.

Related Blog Articles

1. PCOS and Its Related Conditions
2. Infertility in Men and Women
3. Endometriosis: The Hidden Cause of Irregular Periods


Frequently Asked Questions

PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. It's a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age, involving irregular periods, excess androgen levels, and cysts in the ovaries.
PCOD, or Polycystic Ovarian Disease, is another term used interchangeably with PCOS. It refers to the condition where multiple small cysts develop in the ovaries due to hormonal imbalance.
The exact cause is unknown, but factors like insulin resistance, hormonal imbalance, and genetics play a role in both PCOS and PCOD.
Symptoms include irregular periods, excess hair growth, acne, weight gain, and fertility issues.
Diagnosis involves a combination of physical exams, medical history review, blood tests to check hormone levels, and imaging tests like ultrasounds to examine the ovaries.
There's no cure, but symptoms can be managed through lifestyle changes, medication, and sometimes surgery.
Yes, both conditions can affect fertility due to irregular ovulation, but many women with PCOS/PCOD conceive with proper management and treatment.
A balanced diet can help manage symptoms by regulating insulin levels and promoting weight loss, which in turn can improve hormone balance.