Polycystic ovarian disease & Homeopathy
What is PCOD ( polycystic ovarian disease) ?
Patients suffering from polycystic ovarian disease ( PCOD ) have multiple small cysts in their ovaries ( the word poly means many). These cysts occur when the regular changes of a normal menstrual cycle are disrupted. The ovary is enlarged; and produces excessive amounts of androgen and estrogenic hormones. This excess, along with the absence of ovulation, may cause infertility. Other names for PCOD are polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or the Stein-Leventhal syndrome.
How is PCOD diagnosed ?
PCOD can be easy to diagnose in some patients. The typical medical history is that of irregular menstrual cycles, which are unpredictable and can be very heavy ; and the need to take hormonal tablets (progestins) to induce a period. Patients suffering from PCOD are often obese and may have hirsutism , (excessive facial and body hair) as a result of the high androgen levels. However, remember that not all patients with PCOD will have all or any of these symptoms.
This diagnosis can be confirmed by vaginal ultrasound, which shows that both the ovaries are enlarged; the bright central stroma is increased ; and there are multiple small cysts in the ovaries. These cysts are usually arranged in the form of a necklace along the periphery of the ovary. ( It is important that your doctor be able to differentiate multicystic ovaries from polycystic ovaries. )
Blood tests are also very useful for making the diagnosis. Typically, blood levels of hormones reveal a high LH ( luteinising hormone) level; and a normal FSH ( follicle stimulating hormone) level ( this is called a reversal of the LH : FSH ratio, which is normally 1:1); and elevated levels of androgens ( a high dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate ( DHEA-S) level) ;
A blood test that measures testosterone and its precursors is important in making the diagnosis of polycystic ovarian disease. A pelvic examination is the most important part in diagnosing the enlarged ovaries often seen in women with polycystic ovary disease. Ovaries become enlarged because they are constantly stimulated by abnormal surges of hormones. Ultrasonography, MRI, CT scans and laparoscopy are also used to arrive at a diagnosis. Differential diagnosis on various other ovarian cysts such as functional cysts, endometriosis and cyst adenoma should be corroborated.
Functional ovarian cysts grow at the site of ripening eggs. And there are often no symptoms. Functional cysts often go away within a period of two or three menstrual cycles. Sometimes endometriosis may mislead the diagnosis.The chocolate cysts appears as the endometrial tissue and bleeds cycle after cycle. These cysts filled with dark blood may eventually develop to the size of a grapefruit but the Cystadenomas are cysts that develop from ovarian tissue. These are filled with watery fluid, can grow very large; up to 12" or even larger! Fortunately, in women who have regular physical and pelvic examination, cystadenomas are usually discovered long before they grow huge.
Additionally a Glucose Tolerance Test GTT and study of lipid profile which help to know the levels of triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and cardiac risk level, should be done.
What is the cause of PCOD ?
We don't really understand what causes PCOD, though we do know that it has a significant hereditary component, and is often transmitted from mother to daughter . We also know that the characteristic polycystic ovary emerges when a state of anovulation persists for a length of time. Patients with PCO have persistently elevated levels of androgens and estrogens, which set up a vicious cycle. Obesity can aggravate PCOD because fatty tissues are hormonally active and they produce estrogen which disrupts ovulation . Overactive adrenal glands can also produce excess androgens, and these may also contribute to PCOD. These women also have insulin resistance ( high levels of insulin in their blood, because their cells do not respond normally to insulin).
Abnormally high levels of androgens, the male hormones that are actually secreted in both men and women, trigger the problem. But that isn't the only problem. Many women with PCOS are resistant to their own insulin, it is the hormone that helps cells to absorb sugar from the bloodstream. To counter this resistance, the pancreas makes extra insulin. High insulin levels somehow boost the production of androgens and testosterone which prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg each month, causing infertility and menstrual irregularities. High testosterone levels in women also cause acne, male-pattern baldness and excess hair growth in unwanted places. Last but not the least, it is the insulin problem that puts us at increased risk for diabetes as well as heart diseases. PCOS appear to be an inherited condition. If you have or had it, then encourage your sisters to be tested or have yourself tested if you have a sister with the syndrome
What is occult PCOD ?
While some women with PCOD will have all the classic symptoms and signs, many have what we call "occult PCOD". This means that they may be thin, have regular periods , no hirsutism and normal looking ovaries on ultrasound, but still have PCOD. This problem is detected only when these patients are superovulated, at which time they over-respond by producing a large number of follicles.
Interestingly, many of these patients present with recurrent pregnancy loss ( recurrent miscarriages) , and often their doctor does not make the correct diagnosis for them.
Symptoms can be mild or severe and can vary widely from woman to woman. This is the reason why doctors miss the diagnosis. Someone with polycystic ovarian disease may have one or all of the following symptoms in varying degrees:
Hirsutism -Excessive facial and body hair.
Oligomenorrhoea-Irregular periods abnormal, irregular and scanty.
Amenorrhoea- Absence of mensturation.
Alopecia (male-pattern hair loss).
Decreased sex drive.
Enlarged ovaries and uterus
Note that symptoms can worsen over time or with weight gain.
How is PCOD treated ?
Treatment of PCOD for the infertile patient will usually focus on inducing ovulation to help them conceive.
Weight loss: For many patients with PCOD, weight loss is an effective treatment - but of course, this is easier said than done! Look for a permanent weight loss plan - and referral to a dietitian or a weight control clinic may be helpful. Crash diets are usually not effective.
Increasing physical activity is an important step in losing weight. Aerobic activities such as walking, jogging or swimming are advised. Try to find a partner to do this with, so that you can help each other to keep going.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a mystery. Many patients yet don't know what causes it or the best way to treat it. For years, many physicians have dismissed PCOS as a cosmetic problem, or one that interfered "only" with a woman's ability to get pregnant. You now know PCOS affects far more than reproduction.
Homoeopathy finds remedy for your problems! It covers acne, obesity, irregular periods, alopecia and hirsutism on single drug "The Contitutional Medicine" it gives you total treatment to all your problems with permanent cure. I have come over with enormous cases of polycystic ovarian disease with definite cure. I can say that the improvement statistics as about 90%. If you look in depth to your multi-headed problems, the root cause is inheritance.
Homeopathic approach to PCOD
Homeopathy is the fingerpost on the cross-roads of healing which directs the way to safe and permanent cure. Homeopathy works towards nature. All homeopathy medicines are proved in human beings. It is very refined. It comforts modern living. The medicines have no negative side-effects. They are safe, effective and easy to attain cure.
In homeopathy, medicines are given to induce ovulation in a natural way rather than causing menstruation. Homeopathy medicines will not create any artificial menstruation. They go with nature. The system treats the condition. By taking homeopathy medicines, ovulation and menses can be attained in a natural way.
The common rubrics coming up for PCOD according to its symptoms are
Face; lips; out-breaks on lips; acne;
Face; skin; out-breaks on skin; acne;
Genitals; female; period; irregular;
Genitals; female; sterility;
Genitals; female; tumours; ovaries; ;
Genitals; female; tumours; ovaries; right; ;
Genitals; female; tumours; ovaries; left; ;
Genitals; female; tumours; ovaries; cysts;
Back; skin; out-breaks on skin; acne;
Skin; skin on unusual parts;
Generalities; flabby feeling;
The common drugs coming up for PCOD according to the above symptoms are
The other most common medicines are Thuja, Bryonia, Pulsatilla, Lycopodium and Apis mel, Radium brom, calcarea flour, calcarea phos, belladonna colocynthis, mag phos, cimicifuga, senecio Q, thalaspi, kreosote, Sabina, etc.
These medicines should be taken under the advice and diagnosis of a Homoeopath
How can ovulation be induced in patients with PCOD ?
Ovulation Induction: The drug of first choice for women with PCOD today is metformin ( this medicine is also used for treating patients with diabetes. ) Doctors have now learned that many patients with PCOD also have insulin resistance ? a condition similar to that found in diabetics, in that they have raised levels of insulin in their blood ( hyperinsulinemia) , and their response to insulin is blunted. This is why some patients with PCOD who do not respond to clomiphene are treated with antidiabetic drugs, such as metformin and troglitazone. Studies have shown that these drugs improve their fertility by reversing their endocrine abnormality and improving their ovulatory response.
In the past, the drug of first choice used to be clomiphene; this may be combined with low-doses of dexamethasone, a steroid which suppresses androgen production from the adrenal glands. Just taking clomiphene is not enough , and you need to be monitored ( usually with ultrasound scans) to determine if the clomiphene is helping you to ovulate or not. The doctor may have to progressively increase the dose till he finds the right dose for you. If clomiphene does not work, a newer anti-estrogen called letrozole ( which is also used for treating women with breast cancer) can be used. Clomiphene resistant PCO women may need ovulation induction with HMG ( gonadotropins). Some doctors prefer to use pure FSH for inducing ovulation in PCOD patients because they have abnormally high levels of LH.
Ovulation induction can often be difficult in patients with PCOD , since there is the risk that the patient may over-respond to the drugs, and produce too many follicles, which is why the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome ( OHSS) and multiple pregnancy is often increased in patients with PCOD. The doctor has to find just the right dose of HMG ( called the threshold value ) in order to induce maturation and release of a single , or only a few follicles , and this can sometimes be very tricky.
Difficult patients may also need a combination of a GnRH analog (to stop the abnormal release of FSH and LH from the pituitary) and HMG to induce ovulation successfully.
How is surgery used to treat patients with PCOD ?
Surgery: A recent treatment option uses laparoscopy to treat patients with PCOD. During operative laparoscopy, a laser or cautery is used to drill multiple holes through the thickened ovarian capsule. This procedure is called laparoscopic ovarian cauterisation or ovarian drilling or LEOS ( laparoscopic electrocauterisation of ovarian stroma) . This should be reserved for women with PCOD who have large ovaries with increased stroma on ultrasound scanning. Destroying the abnormal ovarian tissue helps to restore normal ovarian function and helps to induce ovulation. For young patients with PCO ovaries on ultrasound, if clomiphene fails to achieve a pregnancy in 4 months time, we usually advise laparoscopic surgery as the next treatment option. This is because LEOS helps us to correct the underlying problem; and about 80% of patients will have regular cycles after undergoing this surgery, of which 50% will conceive in a year?s time, without having to take further medication or treatment. Having regular cycles without having to take medicines each month can be very reassuring to these patients !
The skill of the surgeon plays a key role in determining the outcome of the surgery . It is important that the surgeon selectively destroy only the stroma, and NOT the cortex. The cortex of the ovary contains the eggs, and if this damaged, then ovarian function is jeopardised, so that the surgery may actually end up causing infertility ! An additional risk of this surgery is that it can induce adhesion formation, if not performed competently.
In the past, doctors used to perform ovarian surgery called wedge resection to help patients with PCOD to ovulate. The removal of the abnormal ovarian tissue in the wedge breaks the vicious cycle of PCOD, helping ovulation to occur . While wedge resection used to be a popular treatment option, the risk of inducing adhesions around the ovary as a result of this surgery has led to the operation being used as a last resort.
For patients who do not respond to the above measures, ovulation induction plus intrauterine insemination is the next step.
How is IVF used for treating patients with PCOD ?
If 3 cycles of IUI have failed, then IVF is the best treatment option for patients with PCOD. However, many IVF clinics have little experience in superovulating these women, and they often mess up their superovulation. Because these women grow so many eggs in response to the HMG injections used for superovulation, and because doctors are very worried about the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation, they often end up triggering egg collection with HCG when the eggs are immature. They consequently get lots of eggs, but since most of these are immature, fertilisation rates and pregnancy rates are very poor.
In our clinic, because we have extensive experience in dealing with women with PCOD ( which is much commoner in the Middle East and South India than in the West), we do a much better job at getting these women to grow many mature eggs. Also, because we carefully and meticulously flush each and every follicle at the time of egg collection, the risk of PCOD patients developing ovarian hyperstimulation in our clinic has been virtually zero in the last 8 years.
The good news is that with the currently available treatment options, successful treatment of the infertility is usually possible in the majority of patients with PCOD.
About the author:
Dr.Samir Chaukkar has graduated in Homoeopathy from the prestigious C.M.P.Homoeopathic Medical College, Mumbai, India, under the aegis of Bombay University following which he has done his doctorate in Homoeopathic medicine from the British Institute of Homoeopathy, U.K. After Graduation he has been practicing Classical Homoeopathy since last 14 years. His keen interest in Addictions lead him to pursue post graduation in addictions treatment and prevention from Georgian College in Orillia, Ontario in Canada. He has also done his MD in Homoeopathy from Y.M.T.Homoeopathic Medical College and P.G.Institute, Navi Mumbai. The topic of his dissertation was “Homoeopathic Approach to ADHD”
He is at present attached to Y.M.T.Homoeopathic Medical College as a Professsor in Dept of Homoeopathic Materia Medica and Pediatrics since last 13 years. He is also a Post Graduate Teacher in Materia Medica and Peadiatrics and a Guide to P.G.Students.
Dr.Samir Chaukkar specializes in treatment of Alcohol and Drug addiction through counseling and Homoeopathy.
He can be contacted on 09892166616, 022-65125616, 022-65118823 or firstname.lastname@example.org