What happens if PCOD is left untreated for a long time

PCOD has a Domino effect, wherein it means that if the condition is left untreated, it can cause other problems and ways in which it can impact the body and overall health as well. PCOD in general is underdiagnosed and undertreated probably because symptoms are ignored as they can be mild or seem unrelated. But it is important to note that untreated PCOD can lead to a wide range of symptoms and other serious health conditions that can cause significant distress. If left untreated for a long time, PCOD may lead to serious, life-threatening illnesses that include cardiovascular and heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and cancer of the uterus or endometrium. PCOD treatment in Chennai is hence critical and one cannot afford to ignore symptoms, diagnosis or holistic management.

Consequences of untreated PCOD can be serious

PCOD has numerous manifestations but the major set of symptoms are gynaecological. Irregular periods, lack of ovulation and infertility in PCOD are caused by abnormal levels of androgens and luteinizing hormones. Management of PCOD symptoms include medication and lifestyle modification that involve diet changes and weight reduction. Initial symptoms of PCOD may not traumatise the woman but lack of awareness or ignoring the signs for a long time can lead to bigger problems that can haunt in the long run. PCOS complications can be mild, moderate, or severe. Form of PCOD complications can be specific to the woman depending upon the individual’s cardiometabolic implications. What happens if PCOD is left untreated for a really long time can be classified in to early-term complications and long-term complications. 

Early-term complications of PCOD include gynaecological and obstetric issues that can be:

  • Infertility – PCOD hinders ovulation, which makes it difficult and devastating for women who desire to become pregnant. If a woman is having a hard time trying to conceive and get pregnant, it can mean that she has ignored and left symptoms of PCOD untreated for a long time that affected her reproductive cycle. In a large population of 1,741 women affected by PCOD, primary infertility was reported in 50% of women, while secondary infertility was reported in 25% of women. PCOD is the most common cause of ovulatory disorder and oligo anovulation related with increased risk for infertility.
  • Pregnancy complications –  Though women with PCOD have improved chances of conceiving with appropriate treatment, they are at an increased risk of obstetric complications that include increased chances of pregnancy-induced hypertension, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, premature delivery, early pregnancy loss and increased risk of miscarriage. Moreover, the obstetric risk may be exacerbated by comorbidities, such as obesity and/or insulin resistance typical of PCOD. However, with proper diagnosis and remedies for PCOD treatments Chennai, many women go on to have healthy full-term pregnancies.

Long-term complications of PCOD include metabolic disorders,  and risks of cancer:

Metabolic syndrome – This is not an isolated issue, but a  group of problems that happen due to the disruption of metabolism in the body in someone with PCOD. Up to 70 % of women with undiagnosed PCOD have an increased risk for long-term metabolic problems like high blood sugar or diabetes, high cholesterol, low cholesterol and obesity. Women with PCOS represent a high prevalence of overweight and obesity compared to healthy women. A typical central distribution of adipose tissue is seen, although there is a wide variability in the estimates of obesity in PCOS women across different countries and ethnicities. Having metabolic complications such as these in unmanaged or untreated PCOS is a huge risk factor for serious lifestyle diseases. Lifestyle modifications including weight reduction with dietary modifications and exercise, and medical management that are usually recommended at Chennai PCOS clinic can reduce metabolic complications of PCOS.

Cardiovascular complications – Women with untreated PCOD over a period of time are more prone to heart and cardiovascular diseases. A wide range of coexisting conditions like insulin resistance, high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and high blood pressure are understood to be the reason behind this. Even women with PCOD who are not obese, are prone to cardiovascular and heart risks. Oxidative stress due to abnormal hormonal levels in PCOD is known to be contributor for the cardiovascular and heart complications of PCOD. Additionally, the levels of antioxidants in women with PCOS is known to be much lesser. Cardiovascular diseases in PCOD include coronary heart disease, arteriosclerosis, atherosclerosis and stroke.

Sleep apnoea – PCOD when left untreated can cause a potentially serious sleep disorder in which repeated pauses in breathing occur during the night. Sleep apnoea is more common in women with PCOS and who are overweight. The risk of sleep apnoea is higher in obese women with PCOS as compared to women without PCOS.

Psychiatric complications – Women with PCOD present an increased risk for psychological disorders and reduced quality-of-life compared to healthy women. Depression is reported in round 27 to 50 % of women with PCOD/PCOS. Hormonal changes along with symptoms like unwanted hair growth, acne, male pattern hair loss and weight gain can negatively affect women’s emotions. Researchers haven’t established why depression and PCOD/PCOS occur together. But many women experience depression and anxiety as long term consequences of untreated PCOD.

Oncology risk – PCOD is considered a lifelong multisystemic and multifaceted disorder characterised by reproductive and metabolic alterations. The disorder also seems to be associated with an increased risk of the development of cancers, such as the endometrial, ovaria and breast cancer, recognised to be due to potential hormonal and/or metabolic pathogenetic mechanisms. A lack of ovulation in women with PCOD, prevents the uterine lining from shedding during every menstrual cycle, causing increased thickening of uterine lining. The risk of endometrial cancer is because of the prolonged exposure of the endometrium to unopened oestrogen caused by anovulation leading to endometrial hyperplasia that can ultimately cause endometrial cancer. PCOS specialists in Chennai advise that if irregular periods remain unchecked for years, and reduces to two or three menstrual cycle in an year, a risk of developing a cancer in the lining of the uterus can be caused even at a really young age.

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