PCOD vs. PCOS: 3 Ways These Conditions Differ

Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD) and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) can be confusing. The conditions are similar because they involve the ovaries. However, there are differences and millions of women suffer from the ailments.

What’s the general difference between a disease and a syndrome? A disease impairs normal body function. On the other hand, a syndrome is a collection of symptoms that makes it hard to diagnose a specific disease. Let’s take a closer look at PCOS and PCOD.

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The first noticeable symptoms of PCOS are usually related to menstrual periods. A doctor might suggest checking a patient for PCOS if they have one of three symptoms. First, the patient may have irregular menstrual periods such as infrequent or prolonged periods. Secondly, patients have signs of elevated male hormones. This is often reflected by excess facial and body hair known as hirsutism. Finally, a patient may have polycystic ovaries. The ovaries may be enlarged and fail to function properly.

Patients are often overwhelmed by PCOS and pregnancy. Women with PCOS develop many follicular cysts in each ovary monthly. The cysts prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs. Rather, the ovaries secrete a large number of male hormones. But with the advancement of treatment options, it is still possible for women with PCOS to get pregnant so it is important to consult a doctor if you are a woman with PCOS facing fertility problems.

Other Symptoms

Both PCOS and PCOD tend to make women gain weight. Further, some women’s bodies can’t absorb insulin. Other possible side effects include dandruff, skin darkening, oily skin, and acne.

Patients are often given metformin to help with insulin resistance. If the treatment is successful, periods normalize and they can conceive.


Similar to PCOS, PCOD is a disease that affects the ovaries and it’s caused by a hormonal imbalance. In addition, like PCOS, the ovaries release a lot of male hormones. Women with PCOD have similar symptoms to those with PCOS.

Symptoms include weight gain around the stomach, irregular periods, hair loss, and infertility. Interestingly, PCOS is considered more serious than PCOD.

Differences between PCOD and PCOS

The conditions affect the ovaries but PCOD is caused by an imbalance of the sex hormones. PCOS is the most common disorder of the endocrine system. Scientists believe the conditions may be hereditary. Remember in PCOS, few eggs develop and they are not released.

However, a woman with PCOD produces mature eggs in the ovaries monthly. They just can’t be released. Women with both conditions have male hormones but the amount is much greater in PCOS. Another interesting difference occurs with hair. Women with PCOS have thinning hair while PCOD leads to male hair growth patterns.

Cure and Management

While there is no known cure for either condition, they can be managed. Doctors suggest making lifestyle changes. Initially, women need to lose weight if they’re overweight.

Eating more lean protein and fiber along with exercising decreases the flow of male hormones. As mentioned earlier, women can have a baby with PCOS and PCOD. IVF is often used to make this happen. Women are given drugs to stimulate ovulation and egg production. The doctor retrieves the eggs and fertilization takes place in the lab.

These conditions are not life-threatening. However, women may develop serious conditions if they’re overweight. Consult your doctor about pregnancy if that’s your desire. It is also recommended to lower stress levels so try meditation or yoga. You can also talk to your doctor about treating individual symptoms like unwanted hair growth and darkening skin.



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