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A few days ago, Sara Ali Khan confessed on a popular talk show that she suffers from Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOD) which was the reason behind her sudden weight gain. She went on to explain that she has had to struggle a lot to battle PCOD and keep her weight under control. A starlet speaking up about PCOD has brought everyone’s attention to a disorder that affects 1 out of every 10 women in India. About a million women in India are diagnosed with PCOD every year.
What exactly is PCOD?
A hormonal imbalance or a system disorder triggers Polycystic Ovarian Disorder. Any woman under the age of 40 who has diabetes or a family history of diabetes has a high risk of getting PCOD. The ovaries become enlarged and cysts develop in the ovaries because of the presence of excess amounts of the male hormone androgen. PCOD is dangerous because it also impacts insulin levels and fertility.
What are the symptoms of PCOD?
The most common symptoms of PCOD are-
• Irregular menstrual cycle followed by lack of ovulation which might make it difficult for women to conceive
• Excess hair growth in a male pattern because of the secretion of androgen
• Weight gain and obesity
• Uterine bleeding
• Break-out of acne
Further complications linked to PCOD:
PCOD can lead to a number of other ailments-
• PCOD makes you insulin resistant so women with PCOD have a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes
• Blood diagnosis of women with PCOD reveals abnormal levels of C-Reactive proteins blood lipids. These are predictors of coronary artery disorders.
• Because of PCOD cholesterol tends to deposit in the arteries of the heart and increase the risk of cardiac problems
How is PCOS diagnosed?
If you show the symptoms of PCOD, your doctor will order you to undergo blood tests to determine if male hormones like DHEA or testosterone are causing an imbalance. Your thyroid and adrenal gland’s secretions are also evaluated with a blood test. An ultrasound test can reveal if there are cysts in your ovaries.
Treatment of PCOD:
Since PCOD is caused by hormonal imbalance, the most popular course of treatment is hormone therapy to restore the balance of hormones and inhibit the secretion of male hormones. The type of treatment takes into account the age of the patient.
Doctors can prescribe birth control pills to help regulate menstruation. Or, you might simply be given progesterone pills to normalise your periods. Medication also aims to treat the other complications caused by PCOD. Therefore, you will be given medicines that will-
• Control type 2 diabetes
• Lower your insulin resistance
• Lower your blood pressure and blood cholesterol to keep your heart healthy.
How can you prevent the onset of PCOD?
The best way to prevent PCOD is to adopt a healthy lifestyle characterized by a proper diet and exercise. Here are some tips that will help-
• Maintain a normal body weight. Work out regularly to lose weight. Weight loss can lower androgen levels and reduce insulin resistance.
• Live an active life, which can help keep your blood pressure in check.
• Avoid smoking or consuming alcohol
• Your diet should consist of whole grains, high fibre fruits and vegetables.
• A vegetable that has anti-inflammatory properties like turmeric, spinach, walnut or tomatoes.
• Lean proteins like chicken
PCOD can take a toll on your body and psyche but with medication, a careful diet and exercise you can live a normal healthy life.