PCOD vs PCOS: What is the difference between the two?
Among some of the health issues that women face, Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD) and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) are the two most common problems related to their ovaries and the functioning of their hormones. PCOD and PCOS are many times used interchangeably, but there are certain differences between them. While women have two ovaries responsible for producing eggs every month, they also produce female and male hormones (in small quantities).
What is PCOD?
PCOD is a medical condition where the ovaries release the eggs prematurely which turn into cysts over time. This causes irregular periods, weight gain, male pattern hair loss and abdominal pain. The ovaries become bigger in size and start to release higher levels of male hormones in the body. This occurs because of unhealthy lifestyle habits, consuming junk food and being overweight.
What is PCOS?
PCOS is a metabolic disorder of the endocrine system. In this condition, high amounts of male hormones are produced which leads to irregularity in ovulation. A lot of cysts form in the ovary because of this condition.
The differences in both the conditions can be understood below:
Severity of the disorders
While PCOD is not even considered a disease entirely, PCOS is a serious condition. PCOD can be controlled and nearly cured with a proper diet and exercise regime whereas PCOS needs treatment by consulting a doctor as it is a metabolic disorder.
Approximately one-third of women in the world suffer from PCOD which means it is fairly common. PCOS is an illness and a smaller number of women suffer from it compared to those suffering from PCOD.
PCOS is an endocrine system’s disorder whereas, PCOD is a medical condition that occurs because of hormonal imbalance. An endocrine system disorder may lead to excessive production or deficiency of a hormone which may cause hormonal imbalance. Hormonal imbalance itself is a symptom and not a disorder. Therefore, PCOS is a disorder and PCOD is the manifestation of a symptom.
Pregnancy and health complications
As PCOD is not a serious disease, it does not affect fertility in women. Women with PCOD generally remain fertile and do not face problems in conceiving. Pregnancy is also free of complications for such women and they might need just a little help to make their conception and pregnancy smoother. On the other hand, PCOS makes conceiving a big challenge in the first place. Women suffering from PCOS find it difficult to conceive because of hormonal irregularities as their ovaries are unable to produce eggs regularly because of that. Such women are also susceptible to complications in their pregnancies and miscarriages.
Pregnancy is greatly related to ovulation which gets affected when a woman suffers from PCOS. Women who suffer from PCOS lose their ability to ovulate regularly because of the excessive release of male hormones. This leads to fewer chances of them being able to conceive. On the other hand, women who have PCOD can still ovulate and thus, can get pregnant.
PCOS can not only cause infertility and complications with pregnancy, but it can also lead to other health problems. Women who suffer from PCOS face a higher risk of developing heart problems, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. Although PCOD can be caused due to obesity and unhealthy habits, it does not result in health complications like that in PCOS.
Women suffering from PCOS generally start to develop the symptoms in their adolescence which are quite noticeable. Abdominal weight gain, excessive hair growth on the body, facial hair growth and acne are some of the symptoms which they start developing early. Since PCOD does not release as high amounts of male hormones as PCOS, the symptoms are less noticeable and occur less frequently.
The bottom line
Both PCOS and PCOD are diseases that involve our ovaries and hormones but have certain differences. While PCOS is more severe than PCOD, both can be treated if they are detected in time. Following a healthy diet and fitness regime can help control the symptoms and improve the hormonal imbalances which occur because of PCOS and PCOD. If you experience excessive hair growth, irregular periods, and lower abdomen pain, you should consult with a doctor who can further guide you.