Understanding the Difference between PCOD and PCOS: Demystifying Commonly Confused Conditions

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and polycystic ovary disease (PCOD) are two terms often used interchangeably to describe hormonal disorders affecting women. However, it is crucial to understand that PCOD and PCOS are distinct conditions, even though they share similarities. In this blog, we will delve into the differences between PCOD and PCOS, shedding light on their causes, symptoms, diagnostic criteria, and treatment options. By clarifying these misconceptions, we aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of these conditions and empower women with knowledge to make informed decisions about their health.

Understanding PCOD:irregular menstrual periods

Polycystic ovary disease (PCOD) is a condition characterized by the presence of multiple cysts on the ovaries. It is primarily a structural condition affecting the ovaries, resulting in their enlarged size. PCOD is often associated with irregular or absent menstrual periods, ovarian cysts, and hormonal imbalances. Women with PCOD may experience symptoms such as acne, weight gain, excessive hair growth (hirsutism), and infertility. The exact cause of PCOD is unknown, but genetic and environmental factors are thought to be involved. PCOD can be diagnosed through ultrasound imaging, which reveals the presence of cysts on the ovaries.

Understanding PCOS:

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a complex hormonal disorder that affects not only the ovaries but also various aspects of a woman’s health. PCOS is characterized by hormonal imbalances, insulin resistance, and an excess production of androgens (male hormones). Women with PCOS may experience irregular menstrual cycles, ovarian cysts, acne, hirsutism, weight gain, and fertility issues. In addition, PCOS is associated with long-term health risks such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and endometrial cancer. The diagnosis of PCOS is based on the Rotterdam criteria, which include the presence of two out of three features: irregular periods, hyperandrogenism (clinical or biochemical), and polycystic ovaries observed through ultrasound imaging.

Related: Myths About Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and What You Should Know

Key Differences between PCOD and PCOS:

While PCOD and PCOS share some similarities, there are significant differences between the two conditions:

Hormonal Imbalances: Both PCOD and PCOS involve hormonal imbalances, but the nature of these imbalances differs. PCOD primarily involves an excess production of estrogen, leading to anovulation and irregular periods. In contrast, PCOS is characterized by elevated androgen levels (such as testosterone), leading to symptoms like hirsutism and acne.

Diagnostic Criteria: PCOD is diagnosed primarily through ultrasound imaging, which reveals the presence of multiple cysts on the ovaries. PCOS, on the other hand, is diagnosed using the Rotterdam criteria, which take into account menstrual irregularities, hyperandrogenism, and the presence of polycystic ovaries.

Metabolic Factors:Obesity  PCOS is often associated with metabolic abnormalities, such as insulin resistance and obesity. These factors can contribute to long-term health risks like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In contrast, PCOD is primarily focused on the structural changes in the ovaries and may not have the same metabolic implications.

Symptom Severity: PCOS is generally considered to be a more severe condition compared to PCOD due to its broader impact on a woman’s health. PCOS is associated with a higher risk of complications and long-term health issues compared to PCOD.

Treatment Approaches: Treatment for PCOD and PCOS aims to address the underlying hormonal imbalances and manage symptoms. However, due to the differences in the conditions, the treatment approaches may vary. PCOD treatment may focus on regulating menstrual cycles and addressing infertility concerns. In PCOS, the treatment may involve managing hormonal imbalances, addressing metabolic factors, and addressing specific symptoms like hirsutism or acne.


In conclusion, PCOD and PCOS are distinct conditions that require a nuanced understanding. While PCOD primarily involves structural changes in the ovaries and irregular periods, PCOS is a more complex hormonal disorder with a broader impact on a woman’s health. Understanding the differences between PCOD and PCOS is crucial for accurate diagnosis, appropriate treatment, and long-term health management. If you suspect you may have either condition, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide a thorough evaluation and guide you towards the most suitable treatment options. Take control of your reproductive health by arming yourself with knowledge.