PCOS stands for PolyCystic Ovary Syndrome. PCOS is largely an endocrine disorder caused by imbalance of hormones in female body. Even though it has Ovary in its name it is not an ovarian disorder. The cysts that are present in ovaries are result of hormonal disorder that women have. Hence the name PCOS.
Even though PCOS and PCOD sounds similar there is a difference between them.
PCOD is case where ovaries have small cysts developed due to hormonal imbalance. Symptoms of this are same as that of PCOS (as mentioned here). Ovaries can become enlarged because of cysts and there is excess androgen secreted along with estrogen.
PCOS is more severe than PCOD. There are typically more than 12 cysts in ovaries. Also the hormonal imbalance levels has to be very high. There will be high level androgen and testosterone secreted by the ovaries. Also PCOS women might have other imbalances like insulin resistance, thyroid imbalance etc., which might not be there in women with PCOD.
Summarizing, PCOD is milder form of PCOS where hormonal imbalance are not that high and its primarily the cysts in ovaries that are triggering these imbalances.
Women’s reproductive organs, the ovaries, produce estrogen and progesterone. These hormones regulate menstrual cycle. Ovaries also produce another hormone called androgens. Ovaries releases eggs to be fertilised and they are released every month during ovulation.
Follicles are sacs that contain eggs that will released from the sac one they mature, during ovulation. In case of PCOS women, there will be sacs but inside the sacs will be immature eggs. They never mature to trigger ovulation. These sacs continue to remain in the ovaries to become cysts.
Now these cysts in ovaries alter the hormones more and mensuration cycle. This in turn leads to more imbalance in hormones. Eventually this causes women to miss mensuration for long period of time.
Hormonal imbalance causes PCOS. There is no one reason why these hormones are out balance for some women. For some its genetic. for many it is lifestyle related like bad food habits, lack of sleep, stress, lack of exercise etc.,
Rotterdam criteria is most widely accepted criteria for identifying if women has PCOS.
Based on Rotterdam Criteria, Two of the following three criteria are required:
Also other conditions that might show similar symptoms must be excluded like – early stages of cancer, thyroid disfunction, Cushing syndrome etc.,
USG scan, also called as Transvaginal Ultrasound scan of uterus is an important criteria to determine if you have PCOS. The presence of follicles—commonly referred to as cysts erroneously is seen in ultrasound and number of follicles identified during this scan plays an important to determine if you have PCOS
There is no cure per se for PCOS. PCOS can be completely managed and kept under control throughout your life and you can lead a happy worry-free life. If you have PCOS take advise as early as you can and get it under control as early as you can.
In some cases yes, there will be a reduction. For some women it may remain the same. But even with the presence of cysts, if your cycles are regular, then you will have no noticeable symptoms of PCOS.
Once you start getting your periods and your hormones are normalised, it doesn’t mean PCOS is gone. But it means you have successfully brought PCOS under control. Focus should shift to keep it under control from then on and that’s easy.
Follow a good diet and lifestyle regimen, you will never suffer from any symptom associated with PCOS like irregular cycles, infertility issues, hormonal imbalance, weight gain etc.,
Remember, Your ovaries will always have a few cysts present and that’s ok as long as they don’t cause any trouble.
It is not easy to define a time period for PCOS treatment. Because it depends on the severity and chronicity of the condition. For example, PCOS can be treated faster in a 16 year old and it takes longer in a 34 year old.
The normal treatment duration for PCOS starts from 3 months and may extend upto 6 months. In very rare cases it may go up to a year. Getting PCOS under control quickly is completely in your hands. Disciplined focus on Nutrition, Hormonal balance and physical activity can get PCOS under control quickly.
Getting PCOS under control for thin women is same as that for regular women. Only difference is that weight loss is not needed. But still focus on nutrition has to be there to ensure that hormones are balanced and medications to address other deficiencies needs to be addressed.
Many women find about PCOS only they are looking to get pregnant. If you have PCOS as teen or if your teenage daughter is diagnosed with PCOS, it is a good thing to start early. Early detection of PCOS helps and acting immediately on it will ensure that you dont end having any long term conditions or side effects. Once as a teen if you bring PCOS under control, you can have worry free happy life ahead. So it is important to act immediately.
We believe hirsutism is one symptom that hard to manage. Some reasons for it are
Ways to manage this is to first get PCOS under control and then use some mechanical ways to remove unwanted hair.
Vitamin D deficiency cannot lead to PCOS. PCOS women many have Vitamin D deficiency, but deficiency per se does not lead to PCOS.
PCOS women may have Vitamin B deficiency but vitamin deficiency alone does not lead to PCOS
For menstruation, the primary criteria is Ovulation, that is your oavries have to release a egg every month. This egg gets released from a sac called Follicle. For every cycle, one follicle will grow in size and rupture to release a egg
The role of hormones is everywhere in a menstrual cycle. For the follicles to grow you need hormones, for the follicles to rupture and release a egg you need hormones.
Once the egg is released and there is no conception, then you need a different set of hormones to induce periods
So hormones are the reason why your have menstruation. And a imbalance of these hormones causes irregular cycles
There are studies that shows 22.5% of women with PCOS has hypothyroid. Both genetic and environmental factors are believed to be contributing to thyroid disorders in PCOS. Hypothyroidism is known to cause PCOS-like ovaries and overall worsening of PCOS and insulin resistance. Hypothyroidism can increase testosterone by decreasing the level of sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), increasing the conversion of androstenedione to testosterone and estradiol, and reducing the metabolic clearance of androstenedione.
you can read more it here
Fibroids are non cancerous muscle growth which are seen mostly in the Uterus, . Ovarian cysts are fluid filled sacs on one or both ovaries. Fibroids can cause excessive bleeding during menstruation, leading to anaemia, weakness. PCOS on the other hand causes irregular cycles, hormonal imbalance and other complications. So these 2 are quite different.
There is a genetic predisposition in PCOS. If your mother has PCOS , the chances of you getting PCOS is higher. But it is not the only cause. In fact, the main cause for PCOS is lifestyle changes. Hence the incidence of PCOS has increased a lot in past 10 years
Yes. Ayurveda is proven to be effective in treating PCOS. Ayurveda medicines treat hormonal imbalance and other deficiencies. These medicines are natural medicines and have no side effects. With these medicines along with right nutrition and physical exercise, PCOS can be treated naturally.
Yes. Ayurveda looks at PCOS / PCOD holistically and provides natural treatment ways to manage PCOS.
Weight loss alone wont cure PCOS. Weight loss is a very important factor to manage PCOS but you must also address other imbalances, if you have any.
No , they help induce periods but giving more hormones to the body but they do not regulate your hormones naturally. So you may end up being dependent on medicines to induce periods. For hormonal regulation, and to regularise cycles, Ayurveda , Diet and lifestyle changes is the best option.
Also hormonal pills or OCP medicines has lot of side effects. More details are present in this research paper. Some side effects include weight gain, migraine, insulin resistance etc.,
Larger question to be asked is, Why be dependent on medicines to get periods when you can cure PCOS naturally and get periods without medicines.
Yes , with PCOS , the weight loss journey is slightly more difficult because it is not just obesity that has to be addressed. We need to address hormonal imbalance as well for complete weight loss.
But it definitely is not a impossible task. With the right medical guidance, nutrition and exercise , you will succeed. read more about it here
Yes. There are a few home remedies that help in PCOS. But this is just an adjuvant to medical intervention. It is mandatory to consult a doctor. Home remedies can be taken over and above the doctor’s prescription
Depending on your personal condition, supplements will vary. Apart from metformin, which is a medicine given for women with insulin resistance, supplements might include vitamin tablets, folic acid tablets (in case you are planning to get pregnant), food supplements like seeds for seed cycling, probiotics for gut health.
Metformin is given to women who have insulin resistance or pre-diabetic or having diabetes. Metformin is an insulin-sensitizing drug primarily used to treat diabetes. Insulin resistance is when the body’s cells stop reacting to normal levels of insulin. As a result, the body thinks that there is not enough insulin in the system. This triggers the production of more insulin than your body needs. Metformin and other insulin-sensitizing medications lower excess levels of insulin in the body.
Metformin is safe to take but any long term usage of drug is not recommended especially starting from young age. So its better you get insulin resistance under control naturally without taking medications. It is possible to do this and many have done this successfully.
There is no one specific diet. It all depends on the condition. Look at nutrition as point solutions like take some seeds, eat this fat, dont eat these carbs etc., does not help in PCOS. If you have obesity or need to lose weight with PCOS then diet has to be planned accordingly. If you also have insulin resistance then diet has to be adjusted. At most the best advice that can given, generally speaking are
But remember, its one to know what to take and its another to plan how to take and how much to take based on body calorie needs and your goal. So more than knowing a list understand portions and how to incorporate good elements on daily basis..
Program like ours, Fabjoys, come with nutritional coaching support to help follow these diet based on your goals and help you manage PCOS. You may try us or similar programs. You can also take advice from nutritionist.
There is nothing like specific food for PCOS women. You can read more about this on “What is a good diet for PCOS”. But one technique that helps women for hormonal balance is called “Seed Cycling”. You can read more on this <here>.
Avoid Junk food, fatty food, deep fried food, refined flour and avoid non vegetarian food (eggs and fish can be taken as they are very healthy)
The idea behind avoiding these foods are, they will add to your body fat. PCOS with obesity is difficult to treat as opposed to PCOS without obesity
Absolutely. There are specific Yoga asanas that can stimulate different kind of hormones in the body . For PCOS women Yoga has been proven to be effective form of physical exercise.
Yoga stands out amongst the other forms of exercise, because in Yoga, you have asanas that are specifically designed to improve the health of each and every body part.
Read about PCOS Yoga Asanas here
Many women with PCOS need to lose weight. To get regularise periods a 10% weight loss is typically enough for PCOS women. Weight loss is 70% nutrition and 30% physical exercise. If you have right nutrition, you can lose this 30% in gym or you can follow other physical exercise regimen and attain it. Consistency in doing physical exercise is more important. If you can do it by going to gym great, if you can do it at some other place, ensure that you do it.
It depends on the kind of exercises. 30 minutes of Yoga or 30 to 45 minutes of brisk walking everyday along with right nutrition should help you in weight loss and with PCOS.
If you want to more active you take up activities like Running, Cardio exercises or sports like Badminton, Squash etc., 30 minutes of these will also give a very good overall workout.
Acne is a skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. Few major reasons for having acne are
Women with PCOS have in general excess of androgens and that is major cause of acne. Once hormones get balanced, acne can be cured for PCOS women.
Excessive hair growth happens because of hormonal imbalance in PCOS women. Once PCOS is controlled the hair that has already grown will not go away by itself. But 2 things will happen
You have to resort to physical techniques like laser hair removal to remove hair in places that’s already there once PCOS is controlled.
It must be ascertained if your hair fall is associated with PCOS or is a separate condition.
For eg, if you have PCOS associated with insulin resistance, hypothyroidism and irregular cycles , and hair fall, then treating PCOS will certain lt reduce hairfall
If you hairfall is due to conditions that are not associated with PCOS , like Anaemia, Dandruff, Dry scalp , then you will have to get that treated separately
Absolutely. About 80% of women can conceive naturally. First thing to do is to get PCOS under control. This can be done by addressing all the imbalances in right manner with medications, nutrition and physical exercises. This can be done in 12 – 18 weeks. Once PCOS is under control your ovulation will be regular and there is a good chance you can conceive naturally. It is important to address these in timely manner as side effects of PCOS will keep increasing as time progresses.
Fabjoys is one such online program that helps women manage PCOS naturally wiithout any harmful medications with right support for nutrition and physical exercises.
No. About 80% of women can conceive naturally. Please refer to an answer above for more details.