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How does PCOD affects fertility

PCOS and PCOD are used interchangeably but they do have some differences, however, the difference is very less. PCOD is the condition that affects the ovaries and is limited to the ovaries only while the PCOS affects the complete metabolism of the body and its functioning in some of the other way. PCOD greatly affects the fertility of a woman by disrupting the functioning of the female reproductive system.

The condition must be controlled when it can be or else it will lead to other bigger problems that we will come to know about in the later section.

In the early days, women hardly had hair on their upper lips, underarms, etc. but nowadays every woman has it. Although having hair is a natural phenomenon, have you ever wondered why do we have it? Can it signify an unhealthy body? Yes, it can, but not in every case. Abnormal hair growth points towards the imbalance in hormones, which is a consequence of PCOD.

Dr. Runu Explained That “PCOD generally occurs in females in the middle age, i.e., when they are mature enough to have children. However, it might occur during adolescence too. It is genetic, i.e, if someone in your blood relation has it, you might have it.”

How can one identify, whether one has PCOD or not? If you observe any of the following symptoms, it might be an indication towards PCOD and you should immediately consult your doctor-

  • Irregularity in the periods
    •        Experiencing extreme hair fall
    •        Abnormal hair growth
    •        Acne
    •        Obesity
    •        Skin darkening

You may confuse this syndrome with irregular periods. However, PCOS might be the cause of irregularity in periods. PCOD is a medical disorder which is caused by the release of an abnormal amount of sex hormones.

The reproductive system of a female comprises of different organs. Each part performs a specific function.

  • Ovaries
    •        Fallopian tubes
    •        Uterus
    •        Vagina

The ovaries are responsible for holding eggs. These eggs are extremely small and immature. A little structure filled with fluid also known as follicles stores the eggs after they get released.

What happens when you have PCOD?

The functioning of the ovaries is directed by the pituitary gland. They communicate via the production of hormones. Every month, it releases the FSH i.e., Follicle Stimulating Hormones and the Lutinizing Hormone into the bloodstream. As soon as these hormones reach the eggs, they start maturing while the size of the follicles expands and secretes estrogen (female sex hormone). There is a certain level of estrogen, which when reached, the pituitary gland sends a surge of Lutinizing Hormones to the ovaries. Next, what happens is the follicle, which is most mature, releases the egg. This is what we refer to as ovulation. Then the released egg awaits fertilization and in case it doesn’t occur the egg along with the uterus lining are shed as the subsequent menstrual period arrives.

 PCOD affects fertility

All of the above processes take place when you don’t have PCOD. Let’s see what happens in PCOD. When a woman has PCOD syndrome, the pituitary gland secretes abnormal amount of LH (Lutinizing Hormone) into the bloodstream. Thus, ultimately what happens is the follicles fail to mature and ovulation doesn’t take place. This leads to infertility. These follicles might not dissolve either and develop into cysts.

Another reason of infertility can be, abnormal amount of insulin in your blood. When the excess of insulin combines with excess of LH, they produce extremely high amounts of male sex hormone, i.e., testosterone. Imbalance in the levels of testosterone in the ovaries prevents the process of ovulation and causes infertility. It also causes other problem associated with PCOD like acne and abnormal hair growth.

Thus, if you are wondering “how will PCOD affect my fertility”, we have pinned down the  major ways of how the fertility is affected by this syndrome.

  • Abnormal levels of LH prevents ovulation
  • Abnormal levels of insulin combined with extremely high amount LH prevents ovulation by producing extremely high amount of male sex hormone, testosterone.

These two are the major effects of PCOD on fertility.

Risks related to PCOD

There are certainly other risks involved with PCOD, like:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
    •        High blood pressure
    •        Cholesterol abnormalities
    •        Endometrial cancer
    •        Irregular periods which might lead to other situations like gaining weight.

Diagnosis of PCOS

After you visit the doctor, the doctor will conduct a physical examination, interrogate you, conduct some tests to be sure that you have PCOD and proceed with a certain treatment plan that will not fully cure the condition but will surely help with it.

The diagnosis can proceed with any of the following ways.

  1. Oral interrogation: In some cases, oral interrogation is enough to identify whether you have PCOD or not. This is the case when your symptoms are clear and it clearly indicates towards PCOD. However, a little external examination might be required.
  2. Tests to check the levels of male sex hormones (testosterone): This test is also referred to as pelvic examination.
  3. Blood tests: Blood tests help identify the doctor about the levels of LH, FSH, prolactin.
  4. Besides these, your doctor might also conduct tests to check the levels of progesterone and thyroid.

All of these help the doctor in the identification of PCOD and how it has been affecting your fertility. This helps the doctor in reaching back to the cause of your inability to get pregnant and address it.

When the condition has been diagnosed, a treatment plan is prepared by your doctor to help you cure the infertility and get pregnant. 

Cure of PCOD

There is not really a cure for Polycystic Ovarian disease (PCOD). But, a change in your lifestyle can improve the condition to some extent. By change in lifestyle, I mean that you have a routine that allows you to have a decent amount of sleep, timely meals, daily exercising, etc.

The major factors that cause PCOD, are:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Contact with toxins, pesticides, plastics, chemicals, cosmetics.
    •        Harmful chemical xenoestrogen
    •        Insulin insensitivity

There are certain measures that will definitely help with the condition of PCOD. These are:

  • Having a balanced diet
    •        Exercising daily
    •        Avoiding processed and unhealthy food
    •        Limit the intake of caffeine
    •        Meditate to release stress

Your doctor might also refer these medications to help with the condition.

  • Contraceptive pills: they are pills to control birth that also have the capability to regulate your menstrual cycle.
  • Anti-androgen drugs: they prevent acne and abnormal hair growth.
  • Diabetes medications like metformin: Regulates the levels of insulin in the blood.
  • Fertility medications: They can stimulate ovulation.
  • Surgery

If any of the following methods do not help you and despite your infinite attempts you are unable to get pregnant, your doctor might recommend Laparoscopic ovarian drilling procedure. The major agenda of this procedure is to diminish the amount of testosterone and encourage ovulation and hence, fertility.

During the procedure, small holes are made in the ovary, where testosterone is produced, this gradually decreases the secretion of testosterone.

Oral intake of hormones has some side effects. When we start supplying hormones in our body externally, it gradually stops the secretion of hormones, which is extremely unhealthy and not healthy for the long term. So, intake of such medications is strongly discouraged and natural initiatives must be taken.

A natural approach to resolving the issue of PCOD involves the following:   

  1. Diet-related tipsPrepare a diet that contains food having a low glycemic index. This helps in regulating the insulin hormones. Some foods having a low glycemic index are listed below:
  • Whole grains
    •        Whole fruits and vegetables

Include high-quality protein in your diet like:

  • Pulses
    •        Legumes
    •        Nuts
    •        Curd
    •        Paneer
    •        Eggs
    •        Chicken
    •        Fish

Eat healthy fat, vitamin A, D and E, omega 3-6. The foods that contain these, are:

  • Coconut oil
    •        Flax seeds
    •        Olive oil
    •        Rice bran oil
    •        Fish oil
    •        Ghee
    •        Walnuts
    •        Sesame
    •        Soaked nuts

Instead of eating more at a time, try to have 5-6 short meals in a day, i.e., eat frequently but control the portion size. You should prepare a routine such that you have your last meal at least 2.5 hours before going to bed. Avoid eating overheated and overcooked food.        

  1. Say no to toxins

Instead of using plastic containers, use steel or glass. Avoid coming in contact with pesticides. Avoid foods that have been manufactured using artificial colors, artificial flavors, and preservatives.         

  1. Exercise daily

Go for walks, jogging, aerobics, yoga, etc, i.e., you must indulge in some kind of physical activity. Be regular and consistent with exercising. You can also exercise during periods, but avoid doing exercises that put too much pressure in your pelvic area. It is very easy to improve the intensity of exercising during the follicular phase. It is the best phase for exercising.         

  1. Avoid stress

Though stress is not something that can be avoided, but it can be released or managed with the help of proper sleep and meditation.

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