Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that causes irregular menstrual periods because monthly ovulation is not occurring and levels of male hormones in women are elevated.
Do we know what causes PCOS?
No. It’s still not understood what causes PCOS, and the causes probably vary for different people. Genetics, behavior, lifestyle, and environment may all play a role.
PCOS is underdiagnosed and undertreated. This may be because symptoms can be mild or seem unrelated.
It is easy to give a medical definition but like any other health conditions, PCOS also surrounded by several myths.
Here we are busting 10 myths about PCOS.
1) EVERYONE WITH PCOS HAVE POLYSYSTIC OVARIES. No. Not everyone with PCOS has small cysts in their ovaries—cysts are a symptom of PCOS, rather than a cause.
PCOS cysts are different than the kind of ovarian cysts that grow, rupture, and cause pain.
2) MY MENSTRUAL CYCLE IS IRREGULAR, I HAVE PCOS.
No. Infrequent or absent menstrual periods can be caused by other health conditions or lifestyle factors, such as an over or underactive thyroid gland.
3) WOMEN WITH PCOS CAN NOT GET PREGNANT.
They can. For people trying to become pregnant, PCOS can ‘make it harder’ to time sex to the fertile days of their menstrual cycle, when ovulation happens. It can also take longer to become pregnant if ovulation is only occurring every few months.
4) I HAVE PCOS, I DON’T NEED BIRTH CONTROL.
Yes, if you are having vaginal sex and want to avoid pregnancy. Some people with PCOS think they’re unable to become pregnant, but this isn’t true.
5) PCOS IS A SIMPLE DISORDER WHICH AFFECTS THE OVARIES.
No, it’s not. PCOS is an endocrine and metabolic disorder that affects the body well beyond the ovaries.
6) I CAN TREAT PCOS WITH ONLY MEDICINES.
No. Diet, exercise, and behavioral changes can have a big impact in preventing and managing PCOS. Limiting simple carbohydrates and sugars in the diet, quit smoking etc can help to keep PCOS in control.
7) EVERY WOMEN WITH EXCESS HAIR HAVE PCOS
One common symptom of PCOS: hirsutism, which is abnormal hair growth in women. Because of excess androgens, women with PCOS can sprout unwanted hair on their upper lip, chin, or chest.But not every woman will have this symptom. “Ethnicity may predispose a patient to having excess hair,” says Loren Wissner Greene, MD, professor of endocrinology and ob-gyn at NYU Langone Health.
8) IF YOU ARE NOT LOOKING TO GET PREGNANT, YOU DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT PCOS
PCOS doesn’t affect just a woman’s fertility; it can impact her long-term wellness for the rest of her life. It has been linked to type 2 diabetes , high blood pressure (hypertension), poor cholesterol levels, sleep apnea, depression and anxiety, and endometrial cancer. Getting diagnosed and treated is critical for a woman’s health future.
9) EVERYONE WITH PCOS IS OBESE OR OVERWEIGHT.
There’s a misconception that you have to be the stereotypical overweight woman — it’s the image of the bearded fat lady. It’s more common to be overweight when you have PCOS but the risk of using weight as a gauge is twofold: Thin women might commonly be overlooked, and an obese woman with irregular periods might be inaccurately diagnosed with PCOS.
10) PCOS IS A RARE CONDITION.
It is estimated that between five to 10 percent of women of childbearing age have PCOS. That’s about 5 million women, which makes the condition one of the most common hormonal endocrine disorders among women of reproductive age. But, according to the PCOS Foundation, less than half of all women with PCOS are actually diagnosed correctly, meaning that millions of women are potentially unaware of their condition.
While there may be no magic pill that will make PCOS go away, there is so much under your control. It’s up to you to take the healing into your hands.