Polycystic Ovary Disorder (PCOD) has been a part of my life and millions of other women out there for years. In the past, I’ve mentioned the effects PCOD has had on my body and considering the commonality of PCOD, I thought it would be a good idea to give you guys an expert’s take on PCOD’s symptoms, treatments, and more. Pooja Makhija, is my secret to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and she’s someone that I really trust when it comes body and wellbeing.
A vocal and passionate believer in the power of food, Pooja is a nutritionist to stars like Deepika Padukone, Sonam Kapoor, Ranbir Kapoor, Karan Johar, Twinkle Khanna, Tammana Bhatia, Ishaan Khattar and Sushmita Sen. In her fifteen years of practice, she has transformed the bodies – and the lives – of over twenty-five thousand people and made planet earth more than a 125,000 kilos lighter.
Apart from being a celebrity nutritionist, Pooja is also a bestselling author of Eat Delete and Eat Delete Junior, a television star, founder of app Nourish Genie, an entrepreneur and, above all, a devoted mother of two. She works from her clinic Nourish in Mumbai and also consults online.
Read on to learn more about PCOD, and how to tackle some of the effects it may have on your body.
What are some of the overlooked symptoms of PCOD?
Well most importantly, irregularity in period. The period becomes irregular, maybe it doesn’t come every month, or it comes once in a few months. It is sometimes with very heavy bleeding because you don’t get a period for one month or maybe three months. There is a lot of facial hair and body hair because what tends to happen is our hormones status change and the ovaries don’t release the egg, the androgens, which are the male hormones they go up. Because the male hormones go up, there is automatically more facial and body hair, and male pattern of hair and balding, so there is hair fall. Of course, there are symptoms of skin changes, pigmentation, so there’s a tad bit of darkening around your neck area, your face, around your arms, and underarms. Headache is another symptom, which is much harder to demarcate. But if you’re gaining weight without making lifestyle changes and finding it difficult to lose weight, then it very well could be related to the fact that it could be PCOD and irregular cycles. I strongly urge that if you have many or more of these symptoms, please bring it to the notice of your parents or your gynaecologist, so that they can catch the problem and start the medical treatment for it.
How common is PCOD?
It is said that PCOD usually affects you anywhere between the age of 15 and 44, which is the baby making or child-bearing ages. And anywhere between 10 and 27 percent women are affected with PCOD. Sadly, more than 70 percent of them go undiagnosed. Which is sad because PCOD affects a lot of mind and body functions. We should not let it go undiagnosed.
Someone has just been diagnosed and is overwhelmed. Where should they begin?
First and foremost, talk to your family. Educate them and yourself about this disorder. Next, try to take a hard look at your lifestyle and eating habits, as these are the first things that would require change.
Are there other disorders that PCOD gets commonly confused with?
What PCOD and diabetes have in common is that they are both connected with excess fat and insulin resistance. Everything we eat or drink — be it a fruit, a beverage, or a bowl of sprouts— gets converted into glucose by our bodies. And glucose is our universal source of energy. But glucose cannot enter the cells and provide energy without help: it needs a carrier, and that’s where insulin comes in. The pancreas secretes insulin, which in turn, picks up the glucose and delivers it to all cells in the body. So insulin becomes the courier for delivery of energy in our bodies.
How does PCOD affect fertility? Is it true that pregnancy can cure it?
If you’re living with PCOD, the excessive male hormones that your body is creating can interfere with the production of the female hormones that your body needs in order to ovulate. Because your body is not ovulating, progesterone (the hormone that causes the lining of the uterus to thicken) is not being produced optimally. This results in an absence of periods or irregular menstruation. When there is a lack of or irregularities in ovulation and menstruation, conception is difficult. Fortunately, PCOD does not have to stop you from conceiving a child. While untreated, PCOD will definitely have an impact on your ability to become pregnant, but there are steps you can take to help your body conceive.
First and foremost, weight loss can help you improve your hormone imbalances, resulting in your menstrual cycle returning to normal. Research has shown that as little as a 5% reduction in weight can have a significant impact on your body’s ability to conceive. The bottom line is this… Yes, PCOD can make it more difficult to have a baby, but it cannot stop you from becoming a mother. You just need to understand how the condition is interfering with your ability to conceive and take measures to control the disorder. Once your PCOD is under control, becoming pregnant and bearing beautiful babies becomes a very real possibility.
Why is PCOD common in today’s generation?
A big part of the problem is insulin resistance that is the hallmark condition of our modern age, affecting 1 in 4 adults. Insulin resistance is the result of too much sugar (concentrated fructose) in our diet, as well as smoking, obesity, trans fat, stress, environmental toxins and most importantly, reduced physical activity. Proper diagnosis of PCOD requires clinical evidence such as irregular periods, combined with a blood test that shows high androgens. There may or may not also be the ultrasound finding of polycystic ovaries, but that finding alone cannot be used to diagnose PCOD. Why? Because polycystic ovaries occur in up to 25% of normal women, and also in many women using birth control pills.
Is the link between borderline diabetes and PCOD a myth?
You have diabetes because your insulin levels have been exhausted. Because your insulin levels have been exhausted, your blood sugar cannot be maintained which is why you have diabetes. Because you have diabetes will you get PCOD? No. But the reverse is possible. Because of you have PCOD and there is excessive insulin you are using, you exhaust this insulin because your pancreas can only make a certain amount of insulin in its lifetime. So, because of the excess use of insulin in PCOD, you can become diabetic. But the fact that because you have diabetes you will get PCOD is not something that has been confirmed. But the reverse, if you have PCOD and you don’t cut your fat and you continue to waste a lot of insulin, then getting diabetes can become a definite side effect.
Is there a cure for PCOD? What types of treatments are available?
There is no cure yet, but there are many ways you can decrease or eliminate PCOS symptoms and feel better. Your doctor may offer different medicines that can treat symptoms such as irregular periods, acne, excess hair, and elevated blood sugar. Fertility treatments are available to help women get pregnant. Losing as little as 5% excess weight can help women ovulate more regularly and lessen other PCOS symptoms. The ideal way to do this is through nutrition and exercise.
You may feel that it is difficult to lose excess weight and keep it off, but it is important to continue the effort. Your efforts help reduce the risk for developing serious health complications that can impact women with PCOS much sooner than women without PCOS. The biggest health concerns are diabetes, heart disease, and stroke because PCOS is linked to having high blood pressure, pre-diabetes, and high cholesterol.
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That’s all for today folks! I hope today’s blog helped you learn a little more about PCOD and if after reading today’s blog you suspect that you may have PCOD or you want to learn more about it, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor