Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common health problem that affects up to 5-10% females in the age group of 18 to 44 years (1). It creates an imbalance of hormones, and the common symptoms are irregular periods, excessive growth of facial hair, and explicit mood swings. It is sadly an undiagnosed health problem, and there is a lack of awareness and clarity on the health issue. Before we go on to the struggles and challenges women with PCOS deal with every day, let us go deeper into what PCOS is, how we can control it, and the myths encircling it.
Does PCOS Affect Ovaries Alone?
Even though you might think PCOS is a condition that just affects the ovaries, it is much more than just that. It is a metabolic health disorder that goes beyond the ovaries. Also, just because you have PCOS does not mean you will have cysts. Polycystic ovaries don’t meet the criteria for being diagnosed as PCOS.
What Causes PCOS?
It is still not clear as to what causes PCOS. Different variables might trigger it, like lifestyle, genetics, or even environmental issues.
Diagnosis Of PCOS
Like any other health issue, it is essential to detect the problem at the earliest and give the necessary treatment. However, PCOS goes undertreated and underdiagnosed in most cases because of the related and mild symptoms. PCOS is often associated with infertility, type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea, fatty liver, and depression. Detecting it early can help reduce the risks and give a better assessment of your problems with the help of simple tests.
Is It Possible For Women With PCOS To Conceive?
There are various other fertility treatments to help you get pregnant. PCOS can undoubtedly make it harder to conceive as you will have to guess the days you are fertile, but it is not impossible. If you detect the problem early, your doctor might help you with solutions to help you conceive easily.
Is Birth Control A Necessity If You Have PCOS?
Even though PCOS makes it difficult to conceive, it doesn’t mean you won’t get pregnant without birth control measures. Even if you don’t have periods, you could still be ovulating. So if you were thinking of getting the best of PCOS and using it as birth control, it probably wouldn’t work.
Now that you know all about PCOS and how it affects your everyday life, here are some common struggles every woman with PCOS can relate to.
1. Cascade Of Body Hair
Yes, we know the struggle of shaving arms, underarms, and legs every other day; now imagine excessive hair growth all over your body, including your face. There is a spike in hair follicles in all parts of your body, and every inch is covered with thick manly hair. So you can understand the torture of running a razor each time you step out.
2. Mood Swings
Women with PCOS have sudden hormonal fluctuations that lead to emotional outbursts. One moment you are smiling and happy, and the other minute you are crying hysterically. These symptoms are often considered normal, but they should be treated with empathy and care.
3. Weight Gain
All women want to stay in perfect shape and wear whatever they like; however, unexpected weight gain is one of the symptoms of PCOS. Even traditional weight loss techniques like yoga, gymming, and diet are ineffective if you have PCOS.
4. Unsolicited Advice
The funny thing is, even when there is no fixed cure for PCOS, once you tell someone you are diagnosed with it, they will fill you with remedies or advice to cure it. From Ayurveda to diet plans, there is always something new that people want you to try.
5. Missing Periods
Honestly, there is no love-hate relationship greater than periods. You hate it when you have it, and when you don’t have it, you miss it!
Myths Following PCOS
Myth 1: You Made It Happen
Even though the cause of PCOS is still unknown, one thing is for sure, you did not make it happen. So even though maintaining an unhealthy lifestyle could cause other health issues, PCOS is very unlikely a result of it.
Myth 2: Weight Loss Will Cure PCOS
PCOS leads to unprecedented weight gain that is hard to lose, but that does not mean losing the weight will cure your PCOS as well.
Myth 3: PCOS Is A Rare
Millions of women are unaware of the potential dangers of their health conditions. In the US alone, about 5 million women are dealing with PCOS. In most cases it goes undiagnosed and ignored as a minor health issue.
Myth 4: You Can’t Conceive With PCOS
Just because it is difficult does not mean it is not possible. There are numerous options available that will stimulate ovulation and help you conceive.
Myth 5: PCOS Affects Overweight Women Only
Obesity is a symptom of PCOS, but it does not affect overweight women alone. It can be genetic and affect a rather skinny woman.
So now that you know all about PCOS and the common challenges that women face, it will be easier for you to detect if someone is going through the problem and you will know how to assist them. Medical science is constantly evolving, and someday we might have the solution to permanently eliminate the problem. So, do you have any effective remedy to diminish the visible symptoms of PCOS? Let us know in the comments below!