What is PCOD Problem in Women and How Does it Affect Fertility?


What is PCOD Problem in Women and How Does it Affect Fertility?

Given the detrimental work-life culture, India’s reproductive age group is struggling with infertility issues more than ever today.   Studies reveal that India’s Total Fertility Rate is below 2.1 children per woman, while the General Fertility Rate (GFR) has dropped by 20% over the past decade. GFR is the number of children born annually per 1,000 women in the reproductive age bracket (15-49 years) annually.

Among the reasons behind dropped fertility, a rising health concern is PCOD. Affecting more than 10% of females worldwide, one in five women experience the PCOD problem after marriage or before it. 

This article will elaborate on the causes, symptoms, and treatment of PCOD problems among women.

PCOD: A Significant Cause of Female Infertility

Polycystic Ovarian Disease or PCOD is a condition of hormonal imbalance that disrupts the normal fertility cycle in women. It occurs due to an abnormal situation when one of the ovaries starts overproducing the immature eggs that get accumulated in the ovary.

Ovaries are the female reproductive organs responsible for the pregnancy. They produce hormones like progesterone and estrogen that control the ovulation process that leads to pregnancy; and the relaxin hormone that stretches the body's muscles during pregnancy. Besides, the ovaries are essential in maintaining women's menstrual cycle. Thus, PCOD is a condition that affects a woman’s menstrual cycle and overall health condition. 

What is the Difference Between PCOD and PCOS?

While PCOD and PCOS sound similar, they are slightly different health conditions. While both conditions are caused due to hormonal balance gets disturbed and ovarian overproduction, there is a difference in the consequences of the same. 

PCOS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, is when ovaries overproduce male hormones (androgens), leading to excess testosterone in females that do not combine with estrogen. 

Here are the critical differences between PCOD & PCOS:

Difference PCOS PCOD
Definition PCOS is a hormonal imbalance due to the overproduction of androgens in ovaries. PCOD is a hormonal imbalance due to overproduction of immature eggs in ovaries.
Impact on Fertility More critical; Pregnancy may occur with risk of miscarriage, premature birth. Lesser impact on fertility; Pregnancy is possible though it gets delayed.
Complications May result in health issues like diabetes, heart ailments, hypertension, etc. PCOD doesn’t cause any severe health complications.
Treatment Can be treated only with hormonal medication. It can be easily treated with lifestyle changes.
Prevalence in India Around 9.13% of menstruating Indian women suffers from PCOS.* Around 22.5% of menstruating Indian women are currently suffering from PCOD.*

*As per the recent study by UNICEF.

What are the causes of PCOD problems in females?

Although gynecologists have not detected any clear-cut causes for this disease so far, some evident factors are responsible for the PCOD problem in females, include:

  • Androgen overproduction: If the ovaries produce high amounts of androgen, it can lead to PCOS. Excess androgen production disrupts the ovulation process. The eggs don’t develop regularly and cannot get released from the follicles where they develop. This causes infertility.
  • Family History: Recent research has shown that specific genetic sequences are linked to PCOS. So, you are much more likely to develop the condition if you have a family history of PCOS.
  • Insulin resistance: Insulin hormone — produced in the pancreas — helps convert sugar in your body into energy. Sometimes, your body cells become resistant to insulin functioning, causing blood sugar levels to increase. As a natural immune response, your body makes more insulin to reduce blood sugar. This excess of insulin levels also causes your body to make an excess of the male sex hormone (androgens). This may lead to PCOD problems that can impact ovulation. 
  • Lifestyle habits: Poor lifestyle habits, such as excessive junk food, smoking, and excessive drinking, may also lead to insulin irregularities. This may further lead to developing symptoms of the PCOD problem among females.

Symptoms of PCOD Problem in Females

pcod symptoms

The onset of PCOD often begins during the first menstrual period. However, sometimes you may detect PCOD symptoms a few months post your first period. 

The symptoms of PCOS may vary. Experts suggest that you should get a diagnosis for PCOD if you have at least two of the following symptoms:

  1. Irregular periods: Having irregular periods that last for many days or extended periods. For instance, you witness fewer than 9 menstrual cycles during a year, which may occur in a gap of 35 days or more. In such conditions, getting pregnant might be less than impossible.
  2. Hirsutism: The excess of androgens results in the growth of male pattern facial and body hair. This is known as Hirsutism. 
  3. Body irregularities: Other visible symptoms include acne growth on the face and male-pattern baldness.
  4. Polycystic ovaries: With excess androgens, your ovaries swell in size. Many follicles having immature eggs may develop around the edge of the ovary. Such ovaries might not function normally.

Is pregnancy possible in PCOD?

Yes, pregnancy is possible even when dealing with a PCOD condition.  However, the pregnancy might get delayed due to abnormalities in the ovulation process. 

Besides, with a PCOD condition, pregnant women are at higher risk of facing the following complications: 

  • Endometrial cancer: Cancer in the uterine lining 
  • Metabolic syndrome includes high blood pressure, blood sugar, and high cholesterol levels.
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Miscarriage or premature birth

Hence, it is crucial to get timely treatment for PCOD symptoms before marriage and/or pregnancy.

>> Also Read: Waiting Period in Maternity Insurance

What is the treatment for PCOD?

There is no need to worry if you’re diagnosed with PCOD. Treatment for PCOD is possible and easier to undertae than you think.

  • Often PCOD can be managed just by ‘mending your ways’. This means:
  • You should improve your lifestyle
  • Take a balanced and wholesome diet
  • Do regular yoga and exercise
  • Take enough sleep of at least 8 hours every day
  • Avoid eating junk food, smoking, and drinking.

If you follow such a Satvic lifestyle, you may not even require any medical treatment for PCOD. The good news is that PCOD can be treated without medications, unlike the PCOS problem, which requires prolonged hormonal medications and treatment.

Live Every Moment of Motherhood with Joy Maternity

With an improved lifestyle and the adoption of healthy habits, you can easily overcome PCOD and expect a smooth pregnancy ahead. 

Additionally, you can ensure peaceful and happy motherhood with Care Health Insurance. Our JOY Maternity Plan helps expecting couples bear pregnancy-related expenses and newborn childcare. It also covers the daycare expenses of both the mother and child, which will help you live every moment of motherhood stress-free. With no financial stress, you can lead a healthy life and experience a joyful pregnancy phase.

Disclaimer: Verifying the policy details and coverage with the official policy documents is essential. Also, kindly consult a professional medical expert to verify the details of health concerns.

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