PCOS is a condition that affects 6-12% of women in their reproductive age in the world. We are no longer strangers to this disorder, and it is becoming all the more rampant with the passage of time. The causes of PCOS are not exactly known, genetics, androgens etc play a major role. Nutrition, smoking, consumption of alcohol, chronic stress, and unhealthy diets play a significant role too. Stress and lifestyle habits are considered to be the most significant causes of PCOS, as stress sends the entire human body into a tumultuous state of tizzy.
As of today, there are plenty of myths and misconceptions surrounding this disorder due to lack of proper awareness and information. Let’s dig right into it and bust some of them:
To have PCOS is to have Polycystic Ovaries
Not true. According to Meddo-curated gynecologist Dr Astha Dayal, in Gurgaon, to diagnose PCOS, there are certain criteria, the commonest is Rotterdams criteria saying that besides the ultrasound appearance, there should be some symptoms of anovulation, meaning irregular cycles and excess of androgen, the male hormone. The indicators of this include acne, hirsutism, and male pattern baldness. The ultrasound appearance also has criteria of the ovaries being 10cc in volume with more than 12 follicles at the periphery giving a pearl necklace appearance. So, ovarian cyst doesn't necessarily mean that one has PCOS.
PCOS is incurable
The idea that PCOS is untreatable is somewhat true, however if you can manage symptoms effectively a healthy lifestyle can be lead. There are various treatments which can help you manage symptoms effectively, including Ayurveda, dietary and lifestyle changes, medical treatments and more. But PCOS symptoms can come back or worsen if the lifestyle goes bad or with age, weight gain or any physical or mental stress.
People with PCOS have a difficulty in conceiving
Even when they conceive these women are at a higher risk in developing complications during pregnancy. If PCOS is ignored and left untreated, there is a chance that it could lead to infertility in the long term. But, when symptoms are properly managed through oral medication or injectables enable ovulation (release of an egg) and therefore, conception is possible leading to a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby.
If you are not planning to conceive, you don't need lifestyle changes
Whether aiming for a pregnancy or not, PCOS is an indicator of an unhealthy lifestyle which must be corrected at the earliest. Stress and a sedentary lifestyle will only be detrimental to your overall mental as well as physical health. Exercise, a balanced diet, meditation and 8 hours of sleep will not just help in balancing hormones but also keep you fit and healthy.
PCOS has nothing to do with Mental Health
People assume that the only effects of PCOS are physical- acne, weight gain, male pattern hair loss, hirsutism, etc. But it is often overlooked that the disorder takes a mental and emotional toll on you. Dips in mood, irritability, a sense of worthlessness, and extreme anxiety are all side-effects of PCOS. These things make it hard for women to concentrate, and to be their best self. Hence, treating PCOS is requisite to lead a happy and emotionally balanced life.
If you or someone you know is struggling with PCOS, consult Dr. Astha. She specializes in medical and surgical management of women’s health. She is an active member of the Federation of Obstetric and Gynecological Society of India (FOGSI).
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