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Top Myths that you heard about PCOS

PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a condition that is becoming more and more common in women and now almost 10 % of the women in their childbearing age are getting diagnosed with PCOS. Since this is becoming popular among women recently, many of us do not know entirely about the symptoms, causes, and treatment and the abnormalities or complications this condition can lead to. And when there is little information in the public that everybody knows about, arises the myths around the topic.

PCOS has many myths and misunderstandings attached to it and for most women, it is a burden that takes the mind and consequently the body by the storm. Since we already have such unrealistic beauty and body standards that even physically healthy women cannot stand up to, it becomes even more difficult for women with PCOS to accept themselves because of the “abnormal” symptoms or effects of PCOS like excess facial and body hair, extra fat around the belly, obesity, thinning of scalp hair, pockets of thick and velvety skin and many more. These make the women insecure and largely affect their mental health adding to the effect that the hormonal imbalance in the body already has on the mind.

Women with PCOS sometimes get scared because of their false notions or the scary unverified “facts” that people narrate them leading to more anxiety. Now here we are to bust 10 most popular myths that women have about PCOS and its consequent hormonal imbalance:

PCOS is a rare condition and you probably did something to cause it

PCOS is absolutely not a rare condition and I need you to have complete trust in me when I say this. It is fairly common among women of childbearing or reproductive age and now it is becoming increasingly common because of the lifestyles that people are forced to adapt to in their fast-paced lives. Around 5 to 10% of women face this problem.

You miss out on pregnancy if you have PCOS

Not every woman who has PCOS develops infertility and infertility is not just associated with women with PCOS. It is definitely a tad bit harder for women with PCOS to conceive since their ovulation cycles are extremely irregular and they have to time their intercourse with the time they ovulate. Some of the women who have PCOS do not menstruate even the bare minimum that is eight periods a year but this does not mean you cannot ovulate entirely. With some effort, ovulation can be forced and thus there are chances to get pregnant.

There are also many other Assisted Reproductive Technologies that can help you get pregnant like in vitro fertilization. So, here is another myth busted might also have provided you some relief because you might have been worried about this the most.

PCOS affects overweight and obese women

PCOS does not discriminate and affects all skinny and obese people alike. They are also classified under lean PCOS and obese PCOS. Obesity does play a role in heightening the effects of PCOS but women who are skinny and are right in shape are not completely immune from this condition. What PCOS affects is the hormones in your body such as increased levels of testosterone, estrogen, and often insulin. Since it affects the sensitivity of your body towards insulin, you develop insulin resistance and this is falsely linked to gaining weight. Obesity does cause the body to become insulin resistant but insulin resistance does not make you obese.

Women with PCOS do not need to use contraceptives

People who do not need contraceptives at all are the people who are completely infertile meaning that they do not ovulate at all, but you do. Even though your ovulation is not regular it does not mean that your ovaries are completely incapable of releasing or producing eggs. Our ovaries still produce eggs, there are still chances they can mature, and thus there are still chances that you can get pregnant naturally if you have intercourse when you are ovulating. Although women with PCOS do indeed need to use contraceptives less frequently than women without PCOS because of irregular menstruation cycles.

If you are not planning for pregnancy any sooner, you do not need to worry about PCOS

PCOS does not just cause problems during pregnancy but also creates certain health conditions that might be dangerous like type 2 diabetes, increased chances of breast and endometrial cancer, obesity, and many more with which you could be affected in the long run. Even if you get pregnant and have not been taking care of your health before pregnancy since you were not aware, you can also develop gestational diabetes, pregnancy loss, preeclampsia, and preterm labor. You need to take care of your health irrespective of whether you are planning your pregnancy any time soon or not.

If you do not menstruate regularly, you have PCOS

It is completely normal for women to miss out on their pregnancy now and then because of various issues affecting both mind and body like stress, pelvic inflammatory disease, breastfeeding, extreme dieting, undereating, overexercising, etc. Some of the dangerous reasons why you might miss out on periods even if you do not have PCOS are uterine fibroids, thyroid disorders, and pelvic inflammatory diseases.

Irregular menstruation is also not a universal symptom for every woman with PCOS. Some women who have PCOS do menstruate almost regularly and some also experience heavy menstrual bleeding that lasts 7 days or even more.

PCOS can only be diagnosed by ultrasound

It is not necessary to get an ultrasound done to detect PCOS since it can easily be detected through blood sample tests. If your tests indicate increased glucose levels and increased levels of testosterone along with other hormones, you will be diagnosed with PCOS. Even in ultrasound, if you do notice cysts in your ovaries, it is not always due to PCOS. Women who have Hypothalamic Amenorrhea and functional cysts will also show signs of PCOS if that was the case but they are not equivalent to PCOS. Their treatment is completely different from PCOS.

It is easy to lose weight for women with PCOS like everyone else

It is not. Period. It is not easy for women to lose their fat that easily especially the belly fat that they have gained during PCOS. During PCOS it is very difficult to burn the blood sugar since that cannot be managed well due to the hormonal imbalance that you go through. Sometimes the insulin resistance that your body develops makes the body generate more and more insulin which impairs the oxidation of fatty acids contributing to weight gain.

Since you are constantly gaining weight, and it is becoming harder and harder for your body to burn the blood sugar you might also notice that you have been eating lesser and exercising more than anyone else and still not losing weight and that is okay. You will be able to manage in the long run for which you will have to be patient and consistent.

You have to have polycystic ovaries if you have PCOS

No, you do not need to have a polycystic ovary or ovaries to get diagnosed with PCOS neither does polycystic ovaries only mean that you can have POCS. There are other conditions also that cause cysts in your ovaries that might not be linked to PCOS at all like hypothalamic amenorrhea and functional cysts. And it also happens that some women do not have polycystic ovaries and still have PCOS and irregular periods or heavy periods and all the all symptoms like insulin resistance, excess hair, thinning hair, etc.

If you lose weight, PCOS will be cured

PCOS cannot be cured and only the symptoms or let us say the severity of the symptoms can be controlled. It is seen that even if women lose even just 5% of their weight, they would be able to control their symptoms and get their menstruation on track but it does not mean that the cysts would vanish, but it would just mean that now you can have hormones in control which would, in turn, relieve you from many problems and tensions.

I am sure you might have heard or thought the same as most of the myths and do not have much information about it because the maximum amount of information that you get is on the internet as doctors are not interested enough to explain you about it entirely, they just hand out their prescriptions and that is it almost every time.

 But it is extremely important for you to understand your symptoms and how should you deal with them because a solution that works for one woman might not work for another. There are also many different types of PCOS in which you need different supplements. Also, your hormonal imbalance poses different dangers or complications in different people based on the disorders that already run in your family and genetics.  All of these factors are important for you to consider while planning a diet chart and exercise routines.

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