With the increasing prevalence of PCOS, it has become crucial to start conversations centred around PCOS. Let's take a look at how dialogues can make a difference to the early diagnosis, intervention and holistic treatment of this condition.
PCOS is still a stigmatized, misrepresented, and under-diagnosed condition in India; the hush-hush syndrome if you will. This makes dialogues around this condition not only important but also necessary, crucial, and much-needed.
It cannot be emphasized how important it is to recognize PCOS as a chronic condition that one needs to learn to manage. It is a multi-faceted condition that affects numerous aspects of a person's life. PCOS is a much more common condition than we think.
Nidhi Singh; PCOS Coach and Certified Holistic Nutritionist, says, "The latest research says 22 percent which means about 1 in 4 women have PCOS in India. Due to the lack of awareness and less diagnosis, this number is just an estimate and in fact could be higher."
People living with the condition often suffer from body image issues because of symptoms such as acne, abdominal weight gain, facial hair, baldness, etc. To add to that, they feel sidelined by society; a society that does not understand or recognize the severity or the seriousness of this chronic condition.
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What's In A Name?
Part of the problem lies in the name of the condition. Previously known as Stein-Leventhal syndrome, PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome has a misleading name, making people believe that it is a condition caused by polycystic ovaries. The truth is that polycystic ovaries are a sign of PCOS and not the underlying cause of the condition.
A study of the condition talks about how PCOS does not have the 'celebrity status' or popularity that other 'well-known' conditions/diseases have.
The Role Of Awareness In Early Diagnosis
Due to the lack of awareness about PCOS, people assume that it is a condition that is only limited to the ovaries.
Clearly, the lack of awareness among people and scarcity of dialogues centered around PCOS have a huge role to play.
PCOS is a complex condition that needs more discourse around it than just a few paragraphs or a couple of lines in a biology textbook.
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Early diagnosis would allow individuals to start working on their condition earlier and avoid/prevent diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, endometrial cancer, fertility issues, metabolic disorders, and cardiovascular disease.
Keeping this in mind, PCOS patients can change their lifestyles to alleviate symptoms and prevent the familial transmission and inheritance of PCOS.
PCOS diagnosis can give women a deeper insight and push them towards better mental, emotional and physical health and well-being. Lifestyle changes can help women ovulate regularly, overcome stress, maintain optimal hormone levels, and reverse PCOS symptoms to a great extent. These changes have a positive impact on pregnancy outcomes and reduce the risks that are typically associated with pregnancy in individuals with PCOS.
Proper diagnosis and intervention ensure that women start addressing the root cause of their condition early on. It also allows family members, friends, and loved ones to become aware of the condition and offer their love and support to individuals.
Screening of a larger population and the subsequent diagnosis of individuals would allow healthcare practitioners to see a more accurate picture of the prevalence of PCOS and assist patients in making early lifestyle modifications. Moreover, we need more research in this area to truly understand the nature of this condition and determine the role of community and geographical location in the inheritance of PCOS.
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Written by Samia Arshan.
Samia is a Delhi-based content writer who is passionate about women's health, wellness, and nutrition. Her motive is to empower women and help them fight their battle with PCOS.