Healing polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD)

Kavya, a 35 year old who has been having PCOD for the last 10 years says, weight gain always hampers the regularity in her period cycles. The moment she loses weight and maintains her normal BMI (body mass index) her cycles are regular. This is Kavya’s story but there are many women worldwide who have been diagnosed with PCOD every year. Almost one-third of women around the world suffer from Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD). According to a study conducted in Southern India and Maharashtra, about 22.5% of menstruating women in those regions have PCOD.

What is PCOD?
In a standard menstrual cycle, the two ovaries alternately release mature, ready-to-be-fertilized eggs each month. PCOD on the other hand is characterized by the ovaries often releasing either immature or only partially-mature eggs, which in turn develops into cysts (little sacs filled with liquid). This leads to inflammation in the ovaries causing increased secretion of androgens which are male sex hormones. This later leads to symptoms like male pattern hair loss, increased waist circumference, irregular periods, and in some extreme cases, even infertility. 

What causes PCOD?

The exact cause of PCOD is unknown. Many doctors and researchers believe that people who are affected might have some genetic predisposition. The symptom that is most common is irregular periods. So unless someone has this symptom, the cases of PCOD go unnoticed. In a lot of women, PCOD is discovered when they are trying to get pregnant since this condition may cause infertility. It can be detected by conducting a few hormonal blood tests and ultrasound. In addition, higher insulin levels (Hyperinsulinemia) in the body might increase androgen production that causes difficulty with ovulation.

Symptoms of PCOD
The most common symptom being irregular periods, there are other symptoms as well such as diabetes, infertility, acne, weight-gain, oily skin, migraine, excessive hair growth, and cardiovascular problems. Mood swings, depression are some of the  less common symptoms.

Certain lifestyle modifications can help with healing PCOD:

  • Maintaining a healthy body weight: Maintaining your weight in the normal range of BMI (body mass index) from 18.5 - 24.9 is considered ideal and healthy. Anything above 30 is considered as obese and not healthy. Maintaining healthy body weight or weight loss helps in improving overall body cholesterol levels, reduces the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes, maintaining ideal insulin levels and androgen levels that also restore ovulation phase in the menstrual cycle.

  • Limiting carbohydrate's consumption: Limiting your intake of simple carbohydrates like maida and its products, bakery items, processed foods, aerated drinks etc. Increasing complex carbohydrates in the diet in the form of millets, legumes, pulses, fruits, vegetables can help regulate insulin levels

  • Regular exercise and activity: 30-45 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise at least five days a week can help women to lose weight. Losing weight with exercise also improves ovulation and insulin levels.

  • ??Eating small frequent meals: PCOD patients might also experience water retention and the best way to avoid that is by having enough water and eating small and frequent meals.  

  • Incorporating nuts and oilseeds such as  walnuts, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds etc because of their healthy fat and fiber content which helps towards better heart health and controls diabetes. 


Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is equally important to treat hormonal imbalance and related conditions. Treatment usually starts with lifestyle changes like weight loss, diet, and exercise. Losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can help regulate your menstrual cycle. Consult a dietician to understand how you can achieve your ideal body weight through diet and exercise. 

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