What is PCOD?
PCOD stands for Polycystic Ovarian Disease, which affects the hormonal balance in women. As a result, one may face various other health issues such as irregular menstrual cycle, hirsutism, acne, hair fall or thinning of hair and in severe or complicated cases infertility.
- 6 out of 10 women who step into gynecology or skincare clinic suffer from PCOD or PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome).
- PCOD is not just restricted to ovaries but can affect overall health.
- Usually, acne is an early sign of PCOD.
- Constant fatigue can be another common symptom of PCOD.
- Studies have shown that it can also lead to certain mood disorders or mental health issues. PCOD is always not associated with obesity, and even lean women can be suffering from PCOD which is often called Lean PCOD.
What Causes PCOD?
Genetics :- Heredity may be one of the reasons.
Lifestyle :- Stress, imbalanced diet, lack of exercise. Unhealthy lifestyle leads to common hormonal conditions wherein the levels of androgen and insulin increase.
When a patient is diagnosed with PCOS, they mostly get information about overweight women which can be really troublesome and invalidating. One thing we all need to be aware of is that PCOD diagnostic criteria do not include being overweight or obese. In fact, studies have proven that every one out of five women suffering from PCOD are having healthy BMI (Body Mass Index) or are thin.
Can Lean Individuals Can Suffer From PCOS?
Yes! Up to 20% of women with PCOS are of normal weight or thin. These healthy-weight women generally face fertility problems, increased androgen levels, and the other skin related symptoms (like acne, unwanted hair growth, hair loss, etc), and might be at increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Many Unique Challenges Faced By People Suffering From Lean PCOS
Delayed Diagnosis Time: PCOS have always been associated strongly with obesity, so lean women remain undiagnosed for a longer time period. Most of the obese women get diagnosed in early stages because of their overweight and irregular periods. Whereas, lean women remain undiagnosed until they face challenges while conceiving. Lean women are also at low risk to suffer from diabetes as compared to obese women. They also have a delayed or missed diagnosis of cardiovascular disease
Insulin Resistance can happen with a Healthy BMI: This happens due to its relation with genetics than weight in case of lean PCOD. The best option to figure this out is by measuring hip to waist ratio. If the hip to waist ratio is more than 0.85, then there are chances of elevated levels of insulin.
Emotional Health: Lean women suffering from PCOD can face problems like anxiety, lower resistance to stress, higher levels of ACTH (Adrenocorticotropic hormone), which is responsible for long term stress. Studies have shown that the more anxiety a woman with lean PCOS experiences, the higher levels of plasma ghrelin, than normal. Ghrelin is a hormone that is responsible for feeling hungry. Lean women are more likely to face anxiety as compared to obese women.
Risks associated with PCOD and Lean PCOD
- High insulin levels lead to excessive production of androgen.
- A higher risk of getting diabetes type 2.
- Likely to have high blood pressure.
- Prone to cardiovascular disease.
- Mood swings and hypertension.
Health Problems Caused By PCOD And Their Treatments
Acne Vulgaris: Commonly known as acne. They can be of different types like Non-inflammatory - Blackheads and whiteheads or Inflammatory in the form of nodules, cysts, and papules. Non Inflammatory acne can rupture and leave stubborn marks and scars.
Hirsutism: Women might have excessive hair on various body areas like the face, chest, stomach, and thighs due to PCOD.
Hair Fall/Hair Thinning: Hair fall can increase due to PCOD. Also commonly known as female pattern baldness.
Acanthosis Nigricans: This condition appears as a dark and velvety patch on the skin majorly at neck, underarms, inner thighs or face area. This can be treated with topical treatments and oral medications. It is advisable to consult your dermatologist for the same.
Obesity: PCOD can lead to excessive weight gain, as well. Keep a regular check on your BMI. Being overweight attracts multiple health issues. Opting for an active lifestyle is very important.
Irregular Periods And Ovarian Cysts: PCOD can lead to reproductive problems. Hence, it is beneficial to consult a gynecologist for the same.
If you are witnessing any of the skin concerns that are related to PCOD, refer to a dermatologist and get proper investigations done to get the right treatment plan. Keep Healthy! Keep Glowing!