FITNESS TALES: PCOD - A Rising Menace
On Jan 20, 2012
PCOD or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome has now come to be very common and a serious cause for concern among young women between the ages of 20 and 30. Medical science is still not very clear about what causes the hormonal changes that have come to be termed as PCOD. This is a condition where there is an imbalance in women’s sex hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and also the male hormones such as androgen. Women also have some male hormones in their body in the same way as men have some female hormones. Though PCOD is not entirely classified as a genetic disorder, it is common to see mothers and daughters suffering from it.
These hormones in women help in the development of eggs in the ovaries. In those affected by PCOD, male hormones such as androgen may be produced in more than normal amounts. There are small sac - like formations in the ovaries, which carry the eggs, which are released, one at a time, during the process of ovulation in each menstrual cycle. These eggs may not mature and may not be released from the sacs in the ovaries in the case of women suffering from PCOD and they form small cysts in the ovary itself. It may be noted that all those who have cysts in the ovary need not necessarily be suffering from PCOD. PCOD is indeed an overproduction of the male hormone in women, which leads to the formation of cysts.
These manifestations in the ovary can lead to a lot of health problems, apart from causing infertility. Absence of regular menstrual periods or irregular periods, thinning of the hair, more than normal hair growth in the chest, deepening of voice, decreased breast size and skin problems such as acne are the regular symptoms of PCOD. Other problems such as weight and fat gain leading to obesity due to insulin insensitivity are also very common among those who suffer from this disease.
Not all women who are affected by PCOD suffer from infertility. Nor is it impossible for those who suffer from this disease to get pregnant. Weight loss and insulin management are very important and critical in the treatment of PCOD as well as the infertility it may have brought about. Women who suffer from PCOD do indeed suffer from weight gain.
This is due to insulin resistance, which has to be dealt with, as a first step in the treatment. Higher levels of insulin should not be allowed and a diet coupled with an exercise routine should bring down the weight problem. However, it is far tougher for women who suffer from PCOD to lose weight than normal women, which is not to say that weight loss is impossible.
Eating small meals, which consist of fruits and food items that do not shoot up insulin levels fast, thus maintaining steady blood sugar levels, is the best diet for those who suffer from PCOD. It may be noted at this time that the eight meal diet that I have advised in previous columns, which strives to maintain steady blood sugar levels may be the best diet option for this condition.