• Shruti GOCHHWAL

PCOS VS PCOD: What’s the Difference?

Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD) and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) are two different medical conditions. The similarities of the condition include they are related to ovaries and cause hormonal disturbances. Here we are discussing the differences between these two conditions and how it is treated.

What is PCO?

PCO

Simple representation of polycystic ovary, Credits: pixabay


In an ultrasound image, if the ovaries contain a high density of partially mature follicles, it is said to be a polycystic ovary.

What is PCOD?

The reproductive system of a woman is designed in an orchestrated manner. There is a pair of ovaries that release an egg alternately every month. The ovaries produce female hormones that are responsible for fertility and the proper schedule of menstrual cycles. The ovaries also tend to secrete male hormones like androgens in very small quantities.

PCOD is a condition where the ovaries tend to release a lot of immature or partially-mature eggs that gradually develop into cysts. Over some time, the ovaries become secrete higher amounts of androgens that interfere with fertility.

What is PCOS?

PCOS

PCOS cause hormone imbalances,Credits: Pixabay


PCOS is a condition where the ovaries produce higher amounts of androgen, exceeding the normal levels and this male hormone interferes with the development and release of eggs. Some of the eggs develop into cysts. In PCOS, more than 10 follicular cysts are identified in the ovary every month. Instead of the egg getting released during ovulation, these cysts tend to build up in the ovaries and cause enlargement of ovaries.

Differences between PCOS and PCODFactorsPCOSPCODNaturePCOS is a disorder of the endocrine systemPCOD is due to an imbalance in the hormone.The Severity of the conditionPCOS is a metabolic condition and little serious than PCODPCOD per se is not a disease and can be managed with the right diet and exercise.Ultrasound imageThe ovaries appear 1.5 to 3 times larger than normal. Approximately 12 follicles (2 to 9mm diameter) per ovary are seen.In PCOD, ovaries do not appear larger but they are filled with follicles.CausesHormonal imbalances and genetics, insulin resistance and inflammationHormonal imbalances, genetics, stress, overweight, and consumption of junk food.OccurrenceThe occurrence of PCOS is relatively low compared to PCOD.PCOD is more common. Up to one-third of women suffer from PCODSymptomsSince PCOS is due to metabolic disturbances, symptoms are seen during the teenage years itself. Some of the common symptoms include hair loss, male pattern baldness, mood swings, headache, obesity, and infertilityAbdominal weight gain, irregular periods, hair loss and infertility

Effect on fertilityIn PCOS, due to hormone dysregulation, conception can be a challenge. This is mainly due to high levels of androgen in this condition. Also, the chances of miscarriage are high in women who have PCOS.Women with PCOD who face infertility can overcome the issue and get pregnant with medical aids and exercises.ComplicationsWomen with PCOS are at risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure cardiac-vascular issues, obesity, and even endometrial cancer.The chances of complications are rare.

PCO and Pregnancy

PCO and Pregnancy

PCO can affect pregnancy, Credits: Unsplash


Since PCOS interrupts the regular menstrual cycle, 70 to 80% of women with PCOS find difficulties in getting pregnant. Women with PCOS also have higher chances of having a premature baby, a higher risk of miscarriages and a greater risk of gestational diabetes. Fertility treatments can help solve the problem.

Women with PCOD also face fertility issues. But maintaining a healthy lifestyle and minor medical interventions holds promise in increasing fertility rates.

How PCOS and PCOD are Diagnosed?

PCOD Diagnosis

Ultrasound examination, Credits: Unsplash


Both diagnoses of PCOS and PCOD are based on a physical examination, signs and symptoms, clinical findings, family history, and laboratory test results. Enlarged ovaries are identified through an ultrasound (transvaginal/pelvic/ultrasound) examination.

Treatment

Treatment for PCO

Pills for treating PCO, Credits: Unsplash


The treatment option for PCOS include:

  1. Diet, exercise, and maintain a healthy body weight

  2. Weight reduction can help to decrease the levels of testosterone and insulin.

  3. Stopping the use of cigarettes and tobacco can help in lowering the levels of androgen.

  4. Consumption of healthy foods and practicing regular exercise can help a person maintain blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

  5. Drugs will be prescribed to treat insulin resistance which can also be helpful to regulate menstrual periods and encourage ovulation.

  6. Laser treatments are recommended to remove excess facial and body hair.

  7. To normalize menstrual cycles, oral contraceptives are prescribed.

The treatment option for PCOD include:

Treatment for PCOD

Healthy lifestyle helps combat PCOD, Credits: Unsplash


  1. Following a healthy lifestyle is important for PCOD

  2. Certain yoga postures like Bharadvajasana, Supta Badhakonasana, Chakki Chalanasana, and Padma Sadhana can help you feel better.

  3. Birth control pills and hormonal medications can be followed after doctor’s consultation.

PCOD diet

PCOD Diet

Healthy diet for PCOD, Credits: Unsplash


  1. Incorporate lots of nuts, fruits, and vegetables in your diet

  2. Avoid dairy- based products

  3. Lean meat like fish-Yes! No to red meat

  4. Limit sugary foods and drinks.

  5. Avoid saturated or hydrogenated fats

  6. Low carbohydrate diet

  7. Low glycemic index diet

  8. Consume estrogen rich foods like tofu, berries, peaches, garlic, dried fruits, and flax seeds.

For PCOS, a low glycemic, an anti-inflammatory, and a DASH diet is recommended.

Take Home Message

PCOS and PCOD are two different medical conditions that can be managed with the right diet and lifestyle modifications.

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