Related Topics: Features, Hormones, Infertility

PCOD – How it Affects Your Health and Fertility

Up to 10% of women suffer from Polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD) and knowing what to look for can help you identify if you are at risk.

AnnA Rushton

Women who have been having hormonal difficulties such as irregular menstrual periods, or who are experiencing difficulty conceiving may find that they have PCOD, also known as polycystic ovary syndrome. It is a condition where small, non-cancerous cysts are present in one or both ovaries and women usually experience more than one symptom.

It is particularly important to be vigilant about the symptoms of PCOD if you are intending to start a family as it is the most common cause of female infertility.

You may have one or more of these symptoms:

1.         Irregular or absent menstrual periods

2.         Male sex characteristics such as excess hair on the face and body, deepened voice, and male-pattern baldness

3.         Acne

4.         Weight gain or obesity

5.         Difficulty conceiving or infertility

6.         Diabetes or insulin resistance

7.         Decreased breast size

The Risks

Women with PCOD are at higher risk for hypertension, high cholesterol, fatty liver disease, sleep apnoea and endometrial cancer as well as seriously affected fertility. These are serious conditions so you should be checked by a doctor if you notice any of the listed symptoms.

The key to dealing with PCOD is achieving, and maintaining, a good hormone balance and avoiding anything that could lead to estrogen dominance. This includes avoiding xenoestrogens from the environment and from beef and dairy which may contain residues of estrogenic hormones used as growth promoters. Maintaining good progesterone levels and keeping a healthy weight will also help as will having regular exercise. Many women have found that following an anti-inflammatory diet has been helpful. Also include whole soy foods in your diet as these contain isoflavones which may help regulate hormone imbalances.

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