Polycystic ovary syndrome, PCOD or PCOS, is a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age. PCOS affects how the ovaries produce hormones and release eggs. It can cause a variety of symptoms, including irregular periods, acne, and excessive body hair.
It’s also linked to long-term health issues, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and infertility.
The below article by Dr. Hrishikesh Pai, an IVF doctor in India states more about managing PCOD related hormonal imbalances.
What is PCOD?
Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD) is a hormonal disorder that affects 5-10% of women of reproductive age in the world. It is a complex disorder characterized by the presence of multiple small cysts in the ovaries.
Dr. Hrishikesh Pai says PCOD can have long-term effects on fertility, mental health, and metabolic health. It is important to seek medical help if you suspect that you have PCOD. With proper treatment and lifestyle changes, many women are able to manage their PCOD and lead healthy, normal lives.
What are the symptoms of PCOD?
The most common symptoms of PCOD are:
- Irregular periods or no periods at all
- Heavy, irregular bleeding
- Difficulty getting pregnant
- Excess facial and body hair
- Thinning hair on the scalp
- Weight gain or obesity
- Darkened skin patches, particularly on the neck or in the groin area
- Mood changes, including anxiety and depression
What can cause PCOD?
The exact cause of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOD) is not fully understood, but it is thought to be related to a combination of genetic, environmental, and hormonal factors.
- Genetic factors: PCOD tends to run in families, so it is thought that there may be a genetic component to the condition.
- Hormonal imbalances: Women with PCOD have high levels of androgens (male hormones) in their body. This hormonal imbalance can interfere with the development and release of eggs from the ovaries.
- Insulin resistance: Many women with PCOD have insulin resistance, which means their cells do not respond properly to insulin. As a result, their body produces more insulin to try to lower their blood sugar levels. High levels of insulin can increase the production of androgens, which can further contribute to the symptoms of PCOD.
- Environmental factors: It is not clear what role environmental factors may play in the development of PCOD. Some research suggests that certain environmental exposures, such as high levels of pollution or endocrine-disrupting chemicals, may increase the risk of developing the condition.
According to Dr. Hrishikesh Pai, “It is important to note that the specific cause of PCOD can vary from person to person. In some cases, the cause may be a combination of these factors”.
How to Manage PCOD-Related Hormonal Imbalances
There are several ways to manage hormonal imbalances associated with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOD), including:
- Lifestyle changes: Making healthy lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise, can help improve insulin resistance and reduce androgen levels.
- Medications: There are several medications that can help regulate menstrual periods, lower androgen levels, and improve insulin resistance in women with PCOD. These may include oral contraceptives, insulin-sensitizing agents, and anti-androgens.
- Weight loss: Losing weight can help improve insulin resistance and reduce androgen levels in women with PCOD who are overweight or obese.
- Stress management: Managing stress can help improve symptoms of PCOD. Stress management techniques such as relaxation techniques, yoga, or exercise can be helpful.
- Herbal Remedies: Some people with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOD) may be interested in using herbal remedies to help manage their condition. However, it is important to note that the effectiveness of herbal remedies for PCOD has not been extensively studied, and they should not be used as a sole treatment for the condition.
Here are a few herbs that may be helpful in managing hormonal imbalances associated with PCOD:
- Vitex agnus-castus (chasteberry): This herb may help regulate menstrual periods and reduce androgen levels.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon may help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce androgen levels.
- Dandelion: Dandelion may help regulate menstrual periods and improve insulin sensitivity.
- Licorice: Licorice may help reduce androgen levels.
- Dietary Changes: Dietary changes can be helpful in managing hormonal imbalances associated with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOD). Dietary changes can be helpful in managing hormonal imbalances associated with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOD).
Here are a few dietary strategies that may be beneficial:
- Eat a healthy diet: A healthy diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce androgen levels.
- Limit refined carbohydrates: Refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and sugary foods, can worsen insulin resistance. Limiting these types of foods can be helpful in managing PCOD.
- Eat more high-fiber foods: High-fiber foods, such as beans, vegetables, and whole grains, can help improve insulin sensitivity.
- Eat protein with every meal: Protein can help slow down the absorption of carbohydrates, which can help regulate blood sugar levels.
To conclude, managing hormonal imbalances associated with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOD) can involve a combination of lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, and medications.
Making healthy lifestyle changes and getting regular exercise, can help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce androgen levels. Stress management techniques, such as relaxation techniques, yoga, or exercise, can also be helpful in reducing stress and improving symptoms.