Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and Polycystic Ovary Disease (PCOD) are conditions often used interchangeably, leading to confusion among many individuals. While they share some similarities, it’s essential to understand the differences between PCOD and PCOS to manage and address these conditions effectively. This blog will delve into the differences between PCOD vs. PCOS to help clear up any misconceptions.
What is PCOD?
PCOD is a medical condition in which women’s ovaries excessively produce immature or partially mature eggs. Over time, these eggs can develop into cysts. As a result, the ovaries grow and release elevated levels of male hormones (androgens). This hormonal imbalance can lead to a range of issues, such as:
- Irregular, skipped, or absent periods
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Excessive hair growth on the face, chest, stomach, or back (hirsutism)
- Acne or oily skin
- Weight gain
- Male pattern hair loss
- Mood swings or depression
What is PCOS?
PCOS is a more complex and comprehensive condition affecting 1 in 10 women of childbearing age. During PCOS, women’s ovaries produce excessive androgens. This hormonal imbalance disrupts the natural process of egg development and release. As a result, some of these developing eggs mature into fluid-filled sacs known as cysts. Instead of being released during ovulation, these cysts accumulate within the ovaries and can sometimes grow in size.
PCOS is characterized by the following criteria:
- Polycystic ovaries: Presence of multiple small cysts on the ovaries.
- Hyperandrogenism: This refers to elevated levels of androgens in the body, which can lead to symptoms like acne, hirsutism, weight gain, male-pattern baldness, and infertility.
- Irregular periods: PCOS can cause irregular menstrual cycles or even the absence of periods.
- Insulin resistance: A condition in which the body’s cells become less responsive to the hormone insulin, leading to an elevated risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular problems.
Difference Between PCOD Vs. PCOS
While often share the same symptoms, they are two different conditions. Some differences between the two conditions include the following:
PCOD is more prevalent by comparison, affecting nearly one-third of women worldwide, while Polycystic Ovary Syndrome has lower cases.
- Causative Factors
PCOS represents an endocrine system disorder, while PCOD arises from hormonal imbalances. Both conditions are influenced by genetics and hormonal irregularities. The underlying idea is that elevated androgen levels hinder regular hormone production and egg release in ovaries. Additionally, insulin resistance and inflammation contribute to excessive androgen production.
- Impact on Pregnancy
PCOD doesn’t universally cause infertility and shouldn’t prevent pregnancy. Many women with the condition can get pregnant with minor assistance and medications. However, for women with PCOS, hormonal irregularities pose conception challenges. Balanced hormonal cycles are crucial for ovulation and successful fertilization. Elevated androgen levels in PCOS can complicate conception due to hormonal imbalances.
Diagnosing PCOD often involves ultrasound imaging revealing numerous ovarian cysts, while PCOS diagnosis considers multiple cysts, hormonal imbalances, and accompanying symptoms.
Treating PCOD might include medications to regulate menstruation and alleviate symptoms. On the other hand, addressing PCOS could involve lifestyle adjustments like exercise and dietary changes, hormonal therapy, and medications improving insulin resistance.
Understanding these differences is essential for accurate diagnosis and effectively managing these conditions. If you suspect you might have PCOD or PCOS, consult a healthcare professional who can appropriately diagnose the condition and offer advice for management.