In this blog, we will bust 7 common myths about PCOS that will make you more aware of the topic and avoid conversations that encourage the stigma attached to it.
Let’s bust 7 myths about PCOS!
Being diagnosed with PCOS can be life-altering, and the unnecessary shame that comes with being open regarding it is also equally challenging. You may know about others with PCOS or might have it yourself.
Myths surrounding PCOS persist, and the resulting stigma can prevent one from getting the treatment they need. Learning about the condition can help to make the right choices regarding the treatments.
If you have PCOS, you will have acne and hirsutism.
The presence of acne and hirsutism can neither confirm nor deny a diagnosis of PCOS. The persisted problem of hirsutism and acne can link back to hyperandrogenism, the presence of high levels of androgens in the body.
If you have PCOS, the dysregulation of enzymes in ovaries can lead to hyperandrogenism manifesting acne or unnecessary hair-growth. And there are many other causes for hirsutism as well.
If you have PCOS, you have polycystic ovaries.
The term cysts in the name “Polycystic Ovary Syndrome'' is a misnomer since the presence of polycystic ovaries is neither necessary nor sufficient for diagnosing PCOS.
In actuality, it is the small, multiple immature follicles in both or either of the ovaries that may appear as cysts upon medical screening.
Image Credits - https://andrologycorner.com/
You can not get pregnant if you have PCOS.
Women around the world are burdened with the expectation of starting a family as soon as possible. It is still a matter of respect for a lot of families if a woman can not bear a child.
And the misconception that you can not get pregnant if you have PCOS can be daunting for them. It is a common cause of infertility but it is treatable.
Hormonal imbalance caused by PCOS may impede ovulation. However, if one wishes to conceive, a proper understanding and tracking of one's ovulation becomes important. There are a number of treatments that can be considered for the same.
Ultrasound is enough to detect PCOS.
The commonly used ultrasound detection of cysts to diagnose PCOS is not enough. The ultrasound can only detect cysts which is not enough to conclude that one has PCOS.
According to the International PCOS guidelines, it is suggested to follow the Rotterdam criteria to diagnose PCOS.
Two out of the following three conditions must be present for one to qualify for PCOS.
Image Credits - PCOS Causes and How to Heal PCOS Naturally (parsleyandpumpkins.com)
It is also necessary to rule out other issues like thyroid, hyperprolactinemia, ovarian cyst, or tumors.
It can take several visits to doctors and lab tests to get a nearly accurate diagnosis for PCOS but it is better than paying attention to the word of mouth or relying on unreliable sources.
5. If you have PCOS, your menstrual cycle is irregular.
Many factors, such as stress, change in diet, and breastfeeding, amongst other things, can cause irregular periods. PCOS need not be the only cause.
Conversely, a person with PCOS may still have regular periods. A proper diagnosis should consider all possible characteristics of PCOS.
PCOS can not be self-diagnosed, but you could refer to the self-help tools available on our website to understand your PCOS better. These tools are curated based on the latest PCOS guidelines. We encourage you . It will help you manage your condition better.
6. You can get rid of PCOS by losing weight.
Weight gain is a symptom, not a cause, of PCOS. Weight gain during PCOS can be caused due to insulin resistance. The high level of insulin in the body occurs when the pancreas is unable to communicate on a balanced level resulting in inflammation and weight gain.
Encouraging people to lose weight to cure the condition is dangerous. The weight gain caused by PCOS needs to be managed with lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet, supplements (if necessary), appropriate exercise, and a healthy sleep schedule.
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7. PCOS is a rare condition.
It is no surprise that many people are not aware of PCOS. The topic is not talked about enough. However, this has a lot to do with ignorance of society and not the condition being rare.
The most recent statistics suggest that 22.5 % or one out of every 5 women in India suffer from PCOS. This means that people need to be sensitized about the condition more. Hence, they can understand its prevalence better.
One of the first urban based studies conducted in Mumbai, India demonstrated the prevalence of PCOS in adolescence and the need for highlighting the importance of a healthy lifestyle to work around the condition.
The conversation around PCOS is the need of the hour because it not only affects one physically but can also take a toll on one's mental health. The stigma that prevails only adds to one’s challenges.
If you are more open up about your struggles, it will help you communicate your needs better. This way you can deal with the condition efficiently and effectively. The list of myths does not end but a step toward awareness can disrupt it from spreading.
If you wish to connect with our in-house PCOS expert, please reach out to us at email@example.com or connect with us here.
Written by Yukti Grover
Yukti is an undergraduate student of Journalism and Mass Communication, based in Delhi who is deeply invested in advocating and writing for Women's Health, LGBTQ+ rights, and mental health.