PCOD vs PCOS: What is the Difference?


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects many women worldwide, causing hormonal imbalances and a variety of symptoms, however, there is often confusion between PCOS and another condition called polycystic ovary disease (PCOD). In this blog post, we will explore the key differences between PCOD and PCOS, helping you understand your diagnosis and take control of your health.

Understanding PCOD

Polycystic ovary disease (PCOD), also known as polycystic ovary morphology (PCOM), is a term used to describe the appearance of the ovaries on an ultrasound scan. Women with PCOD often have multiple tiny cysts on their ovaries, which can make them look larger than usual. These cysts are not the same as the fluid-filled cysts associated with PCOS.

PCOD is a common finding in women of reproductive age and does not necessarily indicate the presence of PCOS. In fact, not all women with PCOD experience the hormonal and metabolic imbalances associated with PCOS. Therefore, PCOD is considered a lesser-severe condition compared to PCOS.

Understanding PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects up to 10% of women of reproductive age. It is characterised by a combination of symptoms, including irregular menstrual cycles, excessive androgens (male hormones) in the body, and cysts on the ovaries.

The exact cause of PCOS is not fully understood, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Insulin resistance is also commonly associated with PCOS, leading to elevated insulin levels in the body.

PCOS is diagnosed based on the presence of two out of three criteria: irregular menstrual cycles, excess androgen levels, and cysts on the ovaries. However, it is important to note that not all women with PCOS will have visible cysts on their ovaries, as the name might suggest.

Difference between PCOS and PCOD Symptoms:

While both PCOD and PCOS involve the presence of cysts on the ovaries, there are several key differences between the two conditions that help distinguish them.

  1. Hormonal Imbalances: PCOS is primarily characterised by hormonal imbalances, including elevated levels of androgens such as testosterone. These imbalances can lead to a range of symptoms, including excessive hair growth, acne, and male pattern baldness. In contrast, PCOD may not always involve hormonal disruptions and, therefore, does not have the same impact on a woman's body.

  2. Menstrual Irregularities: Irregular menstrual cycles are a common symptom of both PCOD and PCOS. However, in PCOS, the irregularities are often more severe and may include extended periods of amenorrhea (absence of periods) or oligomenorrhea (infrequent periods). PCOD, on the other hand, may present with milder menstrual irregularities.

  3. Metabolic Factors: PCOS is associated with a higher risk of metabolic complications, such as insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity. These metabolic factors are not necessarily present in women with PCOD, making PCOS a more significant concern in terms of long-term health implications.

  4. Fertility Concerns: Both PCOD and PCOS can affect fertility, but PCOS is more commonly associated with ovulation difficulties. Women with PCOS may experience difficulty in conceiving due to irregular or absent ovulation. PCOD, on the other hand, may not have the same impact on fertility, as it primarily affects the appearance of the ovaries rather than hormonal and metabolic functions.


Understanding the differences between PCOD and PCOS can help you navigate your diagnosis with clarity and take appropriate steps to manage your health. While PCOD is a common finding in women's ovaries and does not necessarily indicate the presence of PCOS, PCOS is a more complex condition characterised by hormonal imbalances, metabolic factors, and fertility concerns.

If you have been diagnosed with PCOD or PCOS, it is essential to work closely with your doctor or healthcare professional to develop a personalised treatment plan that addresses your unique needs. Lifestyle modifications, such as a balanced diet, regular exercise, and stress management, can play a crucial role in managing both conditions. Additionally, medications and hormonal therapies may be prescribed to regulate menstrual cycles, reduce excessive androgens, and promote ovulation if needed.

Remember, you are not alone in this journey. Reach out to support groups, online communities, and healthcare professionals who specialise in PCOD and PCOS. Educate yourself about your condition, advocate for your own health, and trust in your ability to make the best decisions for yourself.

Stay strong, stay empowered, and take control of your PCOS journey!

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  1. Rotterdam ESHRE/ASRM-Sponsored PCOS Consensus Workshop Group. (2004). Revised 2003 consensus on diagnostic criteria and long-term health risks related to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Human Reproduction, 19(1), 41–47.

  2. March, W. A., Moore, V. M., Willson, K. J., Phillips, D. I., Norman, R. J., & Davies, M. J. (2010). The prevalence of polycystic ovary syndrome in a community sample assessed under contrasting diagnostic criteria. Human Reproduction, 25(2), 544–551.