5 Common myths vs reality associated with PCOS

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome(PCOS) is a common health issue caused by an imbalance of reproductive organs. The ovaries are harmed because of the hormonal imbalance. The ovaries produce the egg that is released each month as part of a normal menstrual cycle. Because of PCOS, the egg may not develop properly or not be released during ovulation.

In most cases, ovulation problems are the root cause of infertility in women with PCOS. Ovulation may not occur because of an increase in testosterone production or because ovarian follicles fail to mature. Even if ovulation occurs, a hormonal imbalance may prevent the uterine lining from properly developing and allowing the mature egg to implant. Because of unbalanced hormones, ovulation and menstruation can be irregular. Irregular menstrual cycles can also cause complications during pregnancy.

5 Common myths vs reality associated with PCOS

What are the symptoms of PCOS?

Some women experience symptoms of PCOS when they get their first period. Others discover they have PCOS after gaining a lot of weight or having difficulty getting pregnant. A few of the symptoms of PCOS are-

• Irregular menstrual cycles

• Heavy bleeding

• Hair regrowth on their face and body, including their back, belly, and chest.

• Weight gain

• Skin darkening 

• Fertility problems

• Physical or psychological changes 

PCOS can affect mental and emotional health. Mood, stress, lifestyle, body image, lifestyle changes and so can lead to depression and anxiety in women when the cause is not known.

There are certain myths associated with PCOS. Here are few myths along with their realities mentioned below.

Myth 1: PCOS can cause irregular periods.

No, irregular periods can be caused by a variety of factors, one of which is PCOS. If your cycle is less than 22 days or more than 34 days long regularly, it is best to consult a gynaecologist rather than speculating and self-diagnosing.

5 Common myths vs reality associated with PCOS

Myth 2: PCOS only affects overweight women.

While yes, many women with PCOS are overweight or obese, it does affect women with healthy or low BMIs as well. By assuming PCOS only affects overweight women, thin women with the disease can easily be misdiagnosed. On the opposite hand, overweight women are more likely to be misdiagnosed with PCOS, when their symptoms are caused by something else.  

Myth 3: Women with PCOS can lose weight in the same way that anyone else can.

Losing a small amount of weight can indeed help regulate your menstrual cycle. That is not to say they cannot lose weight; in many cases, patients have previously been on a successful program. 

Many women with PCOS who exercise more and eat less than others complain of gain weight. What is clear is that the notion that weight loss is simply a matter of calories in versus calories out is oversimplified.

Myth 4: An ultrasound is required to diagnose PCOS.

Because the presence of multiple follicles or cystic ovaries is not required for PCOS diagnosis, a doctor is not required to perform an ultrasound. He or she might, especially if you’re seeing an ob-gyn, but only if you don’t meet the criteria for hirsutism or irregular periods and PCOS is still suspected.

5 Common myths vs reality associated with PCOS

Myth 5: If you have PCOS, you can’t get pregnant.

Infertility is frequently caused by PCOS. The hormonal issue interferes with the ovary’s ability to release an egg that can potentially be fertilized for pregnancy. However, you can still become pregnant, either naturally or following fertility treatments such as follicle-stimulating drugs.

About the author: Dr Aarthi Bharat, Consultant Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Motherhood Hospitals, Bengaluru

Also Read: 5 Ways to get your sleep cycle back on track

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