Monday, 15 December 2014

PCOD

What is PCOD?

Poly Cystic Ovarian Disorder (PCOD) is a complex female issue and common cause of infertility in women. While being the most common disorder, it is accompanied by a number of health issues. It can lead to irregular menstrual cycles, obesity, polycystic ovaries, elevated levels of androgens and absent or irregular menstrual cycles. Women with initial symptoms of PCOD like irregular cycles need to be vigilant about their hormonal imbalance.

What alters the normal menstrual cycle?

The hypothalamus produces GnRH (gonadotrophin-releasing hormone) which signals to the pituitary to produce LH (luteinising hormones and FSH (follicle stimulating hormone). The release of GnRH is pulsatile in women with regular menstrual cycles. This normal pulsatile release of GnRh signals some of the follicles in the ovary to begin maturing and for the ovaries to release estrogen and progesterone. This estrogen/progesterone signal is recognized by the pituitary gland. As the follicles begin maturing, they release and increase the hormone estrogen over time. The rising estrogen level signals the pituitary gland to curb release of FSH. This communication allows for ovulation to occur. In women with PCOD the menstrual cycle follows a different pattern of endocrine function and communication.

What are the symptoms of PCOD?

Irregular menstrual cycles, absent period, anovulatory cycles, abnormal mid-cycle bleeding, excessive or heavy menstrual bleeding, alopecia (balding), Hirsutism (excessive body hair), acne, Acanthosis nigricans, Polycystic ovaries, history of ovarian cysts, Mood disorders, Obesity, recurrent miscarriages.

What are the Health Risks with PCOD?

Infertility, menstrual cycle irregularities, possible increased risk for endometrial and breast cancer due to unopposed estrogen, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, gestational diabetes.

What Causes PCOS?

Research suggests that PCOD can have a genetic link, possible abnormal fetal development and inflammatory response. Secondary causes may be diet, lifestyle and exposure to certain environmental toxins. It directly impacts fertility. If left untreated, it might lead to serious health implications.


Family history is an important factors that lead to PCOD. Women whose mothers, sisters or grandmothers had PCOD are at a higher risk for developing PCOD. Also, the exposure to excessive amounts of male hormones (androgens) by the developing fetus is another factor. This means that the affected genes will not function properly later in life, which may cause PCOD during the reproductive years of a woman’s life.

Low-grade Inflammation

Women with PCOD have low-grade inflammation. It is associated with a cause for insulin resistance. It is well known that white blood cells produce substances to fight infection called inflammatory response. When inflammatory response is triggered, white blood cells produce enzymes that may contribute to insulin resistance and atherosclerosis.


Dr Neeraj Pahlajani

Obstetrician & IVF Specialist
(MS, DNB, FMAS, DRM - Germany)
MBBS - Lady Harding Medical College - New Delhi
MS - Obstetrics and Gynecology (PGI - Rohtak)
DNB - Obstetrics and Gynecology
FMAS - World Association of Laparoscopic Surgeons
DRM - Diploma in Reproductive Medicine (Germany)
Fellow in IVF & Embryology – (USA)
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