As PCOS is severely underdiagnosed, misinformation and myths can affect how you live with it. Even worse, they can impact diagnosis and treatment. Beware of these myths, do not believe everything you hear and focus on your own process. You don’t have to have everything figured out at the start. You will best learn from your own unique body, and step by step, you’ll get there.
1. Myth: You did something to cause it
Even though the exact cause of PCOS cannot be traced, one thing is for sure- you are not to be blamed.
Fact: Genetics, male hormones, excess estrogen and insulin are the reason behind changes in your ovulation cycle.
2. Myth: PCOS is a ‘rare’ condition:
One in five womxn suffer from PCOS.
Fact: It’s a very common endocrinal system disorder among women of reproductive age. Sadly, a whole lot of them are potentially unaware of their condition.
3. Myth: You have to have ‘polycystic ovaries’ to have PCOS
What even? Going by the name to get clues about the disease is not a very smart move. Many womxn who don’t have ovarian cysts have PCOS, and having cysts doesn’t mean you have PCOS.
Fact: To be diagnosed, only two out of the following three conditions are to be fulfilled – facial hair, irregular periods or cystic ovaries.
4. Myth: You can never get pregnant if you have PCOS
It’s an unfortunate reality that so many womxn are given a doomsday scenario when it comes to starting a family. PCOS is a common cause of infertility, but it does not eliminate your chances of pregnancy.
Fact: You can get pregnant, naturally or through fertility treatments. You don’t have to ‘jump through hoops’ for it. The message here is to not get discouraged if someone tells you it’s not possible.
Most importantly, with a baby or without, you are valuable. You are whole. And you matter.
5. Myth: If you’re not looking to get pregnant, you don’t have to worry about PCOS
Wrong. PCOS doesn’t affect just a womxn’s fertility; it can impact her long-term wellness for the rest of her life. Getting diagnosed and treated is critical.
Fact: It has been linked to type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, poor cholesterol, sleep apnea, depression, anxiety and endometrial cancer.
6. Myth: Everyone with PCOS is overweight
This is a misconception that you have to be the stereotypical overweight womxn – the image of the fat bearded lady. The weight factor here is twofold, and is not always true.
Fact: Lean womxn with PCOS are few, but they do exist. The syndrome affects different bodies in different ways.
7. Myth: If you lose weight, you can get ‘rid’ of PCOS
False. There is no certain cure for it, but overweight womxn can help ‘balance’ their hormones by losing weight.
Fact: Lifestyle changes go a long way and improve the way your body responds to PCOS. Additionally, it’s not that easy to lose weight with PCOS as it’s a little more complicated than just managing calories.
8. Myth: You will ‘surely’ grow a beard:
Excess hair growth or hirsutism is a ‘common’ symptom and contrastingly, so is hair loss. But do not make it a general assumption.
Fact: Owing to excess androgens, womxn with PCOS can sprout unwanted hair on their upper lip, chin or chest.
9. Myth: Insulin resistance causes weight gain:
Nope. You got it the other way round.
Fact: No one is sure why womxn with PCOS are overweight. But while weight gain causes insulin resistance, insulin resistance doesn’t cause weight gain.
10. Myth: Irregular periods = PCOS!
Acne, mood swings and irregular periods are normal. There are so many causes of an irregular cycle and PCOS is only one of them.
Fact: Stress, over exercising, extreme dieting, pregnancy, breastfeeding, fibroids or thyroid can be the many reasons as to why your periods are late.
11. Myth: You’ll know for sure if you have it
Almost 50-70% womxn with PCOS go undiagnosed.
Fact: Some don’t see it, while some simply attribute it to stress. Quite a few doctors aren’t educated enough about the syndrome. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, it’s best to work with both an ob-gyn and endocrinologist to get to the root cause.
12. Myth: Birth control pills are the answer
Oral contraceptives are just one of the common ways to treat the irregularities of PCOS.
Fact: Your treatment depends on you, and your end goal. Many argue that the pill is more of a band-aid that masks symptoms. It is encouraged that womxn address their hormonal health more holistically with lifestyle measures.
13. Myth: PCOS is a life sentence for feeling bad
You can always be positive, and continually be in a healing process that brings your body into balance.
Fact: You cannot get to a point where you say ‘I’ve cured completely’, but you can fight, get better and heal all on your own. Small changes can make a huge difference, and a little progress each day adds up to big results. Surround yourself with positivity and remind yourself that you are not alone.
To all the PCOS warriors, you are strong enough to face it all, and you already have what it takes.
Written by Nibha Patil
Cover source : Unknown