Myths about PCOS

Periods form an important part of a woman’s life, signaling her fertile years. Naturally, any issues with her reproductive health has a profound impact on her quality of life. One such problem is Polycystic ovary syndrome.

What are PCOS?

In this condition, benign follicles develop on the surface of the ovaries. These follicles then impair the process of ovulation. They surround the egg, due to which it is not released every month, causing irregular periods.

Moreover, PCOS also cause a surge in the male hormone, androgen, which then leads to excess facial and body hair. Whereas the physical appearance of hair does not harm the health, but it has grave implications for the confidence and vanity of women.

PCOS also cause increase in weight gain, loss of hair on the head, acne and fertility issues. While polycystic ovarian syndrome cannot be treated, it can be managed well with the aid of your Gynecologist in Lahore.

What are the myths surrounding PCOS?

Any ailment is hard to live with, but it is much worse when there is so much misinformation about the matter. It can not only make it hard for women to manage their disease, but also can wreak havoc on their mental and physical health. Thus, it is important to analyze these myths surrounding PCOS.

Myth 1: PCOS are rare

They really are not. Since our lifestyles, diet and environment is contributing towards increase in hormonal imbalance, PCOS are becoming more and more common. This may not amount to much, but it surely helps women get social and emotional support. It also makes it easier for research then.

Myth 2: PCOS cannot be treated

While it is true that PCOS cannot be treated; there is no cure for this condition, but it is possible to manage the symptoms of the condition. This in turn helps women live better with this ailment.

Myth 3: All women suffering from PCOS are fat.

Unfortunately, weight gain is a side-effect of PCOS. It is harder for such women to keep off the excess weight and putting on is much easier. One reason might be due to the higher amount of androgen in their bodies.

The difficulty in sustaining weight is not an unsurmountable challenge, however. With good diet and regular exercise, women suffering from PCOS can also ensure a normal BMI.

Conversely, skinny women can also have PCOS.

Myth 4: Women with PCOS cannot get pregnant

PCOS does not mean infertility. Due to irregular ovulation, it is harder for women with PCOS to get pregnant but does not mean they cannot conceive a baby. They can have just as many children as any other woman.

Myth 5: If you have PCOS, you have cysts in your ovaries

One might think that the name PCOS implies the presence of cysts in the ovaries, but that is not always the case. Women who have cysts in their ovaries do not necessarily have PCOS, and likewise, those who have PCOS might not necessarily have cysts.

This brain teaser is because of naming convention problem. For PCOS to be diagnosed, 2 of the 3 salient features need to be there, which is why cysts are not to a precondition for the disorder.

Myth 6: PCOS leads to excess hair growth all across the body

Hirsutism is a common side effect of PCOS, which leads to excess hair on the body, face, chin, chest etc. However, this symptom is not unanimously found across all women. Those who are ethnically predisposed towards greater hair, like Asian women, are more likely to suffer from hirsutism, courtesy of PCOS. Otherwise, some women with PCOS have normal body hair. 

Myth 7: Having irregular periods means you have PCOS.

Many women, especially those who are overweight, worry that their irregular periods might be due to PCOS. But this hasty conclusion is not a correct one. There are other symptoms of PCOS that also need to be present, and most importantly, a proper diagnosis from the doctor to reach to the conclusion that you have PCOS. 

Myth 8: You will know when you have PCOS

Well, not really. According to one estimate, around 50 to 70% of the women suffering from PCOS are unaware of their condition. Issues like hirsutism, weight gain etc. might not always be there in some women.

Similarly, stress can also cause irregular periods, acne breakouts, fatigue etc. as well. Thus, it can be hard to ascertain a case of PCOS, with such non-specific symptoms.

Myth 9: All women with PCOS need to take birth control pills

While birth control pills are used to regulate the menstrual cycle, and therefore are often used in PCOS, it is not always the course of action.

The treatment option is contingent on your end goal; women who want to manage their symptoms can opt for the pills, but it’s not the appropriate choice for those wanting to get pregnant. Hence, discuss your goals with your doctor first, before you start taking birth control pills.

Myth 10: The only side-effect of PCOS is infertility, thus treatment is optional

Treatment of PCOS is not just required for fertility, but it has implications for health otherwise as well. PCOS has implications for the wellbeing of women, as it can cause chronic ailments as well.

Women who have PCOS are more likely to suffer from type 2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, depression, anxiety. They also have the higher risk of cholesterol problems and endometrial cancer. Thus, it is pertinent that women visit the Gynecologist in Karachi to get themselves treated for PCOS.