What is PCOS?
If you or someone close to you has been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), you may be wondering what exactly it is and how it affects the body. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about PCOS that can make it difficult to understand this complex hormonal disorder. Debunking some of the most common myths about what is PCOS all about can help in understanding the condition better.
Myth 1: All women with PCOS have ovarian cysts.
One of the most common misconceptions about PCOS is that all women with this condition have ovarian cysts. It is not entirely true. While the name “polycystic” refers to the presence of multiple cysts on the ovaries, the truth is that not all women with PCOS have these cysts.
The diagnosis of PCOS is based on combining clinical and laboratory findings. It is not just found through the presence of ovarian cysts. Typically, a diagnosis of PCOS is made when a woman presents with two of the following three criteria: irregular or absent periods, signs of high androgen levels (such as acne or excessive hair growth), and polycystic appearing ovaries on ultrasound. While the presence of ovarian cysts can contribute to the diagnosis of PCOS, they are not necessary.
It’s also important to note that some women without PCOS can have ovarian cysts. It is common for women to develop ovarian cysts at some point in their lives, and most cysts are benign and resolve on their own without causing any problems. However, in some cases, ovarian cysts can become large or painful and may require medical attention.
The truth is that PCOS is a complex hormonal disorder with various symptoms and contributing factors. While the presence of ovarian cysts is a characteristic feature of the condition, it’s not the only factor determining whether someone has PCOS. Other contributing factors may include insulin resistance, inflammation, and genetic predisposition.
While it is commonly believed that all women with PCOS have ovarian cysts, this is a myth. Understanding the true nature of PCOS can help women receive proper diagnosis and treatment for this common hormonal disorder.
Myth 2: Women with PCOS can’t get pregnant.
It is a common myth that women with PCOS can’t get pregnant. Many women with PCOS may have heard or thought about the common question, “can you get pregnant with PCOS” It can be a source of concern and anxiety for many women. The truth is that while PCOS can affect fertility in some women, it does not mean that they can’t get pregnant.
Many women with PCOS can conceive and have healthy pregnancies with the help of proper management and treatment. One of the primary factors that can affect fertility in women with PCOS is the irregularity of their menstrual cycles. In order to conceive, women typically need to ovulate regularly, which can be difficult for women with PCOS. However, there are a variety of treatments available that can help regulate ovulation and improve the chances of conceiving. For example, lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly can help improve fertility in women with PCOS. Medications can also help stimulate ovulation and increase the chances of conceiving. In some cases, In-vitro fertilisation (IVF) may be necessary to achieve pregnancy.
It is essential for women with PCOS who are trying to conceive to work closely with their fertility specialist to develop a personalised treatment plan that addresses their specific needs and concerns. It may involve a combination of lifestyle changes, medications, and other
interventions to optimise fertility and increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.
While it is commonly believed that women with PCOS can’t get pregnant, this is a myth. With proper management and treatment, many women with PCOS are able to conceive and have healthy pregnancies.
Myth 3: Women with PCOS are all overweight or obese.
One of the most persistent myths surrounding PCOS is that all women with the condition are overweight or obese. It can lead to misconceptions about the condition and the stigmatisation of women with PCOS who do not fit this stereotype.
The truth is that while weight gain and obesity are common in women with PCOS, not all women with this condition are overweight. PCOS can affect women of all shapes and sizes, and in fact, some women with PCOS may have difficulty gaining weight or may even be underweight. One of the reasons why weight gain and obesity are associated with PCOS is because the hormonal imbalances in women with the condition can affect how the body processes insulin. It can lead to insulin resistance, leading to weight gain and difficulty losing weight. However, not all women with PCOS experience insulin resistance; some may have normal insulin levels despite their diagnosis.
In addition, PCOS can affect women’s metabolisms in different ways, contributing to weight gain or difficulty losing weight. For example, some women with PCOS may have a slower metabolism, while others may have a faster metabolism that makes it difficult for them to maintain weight. So how to lose weight with PCOS?
It is vital to recognise what is PCOS and its complexity which can affect women in different ways. Weight gain is just one of many possible symptoms. Women with PCOS who are not overweight or obese may experience other symptoms such as irregular periods, acne, or excessive hair growth. Conversely, women who are overweight or obese may not necessarily have PCOS.
Myth 4: PCOS is a rare condition.
In reality, PCOS is quite common, affecting up to 10% of women of reproductive age. It is one of the women’s most common hormonal disorders, yet it remains widely misunderstood and underdiagnosed. One of the reasons why PCOS is often thought of as rare is that it can be difficult to diagnose. Many women with PCOS may not experience all of the classic symptoms, or their symptoms may be mistaken for other conditions.
PCOS is a complex condition that can affect women differently, and its exact causes are still not fully understood. However, research has shown a strong genetic component to the condition, and hormonal imbalances are also involved. Women with PCOS may have higher levels of androgens (male hormones) than normal, leading to various symptoms.
Another reason PCOS may be considered rare is that it is often associated with infertility. So, “can you get pregnant with PCOS?” you may ask. PCOS can affect fertility in some women, but it does not mean that all women with PCOS will have trouble getting pregnant. With proper management and treatment, many women with PCOS are able to conceive and have healthy pregnancies.
It is crucial to recognise that PCOS is a common condition that affects a significant number of women. By increasing awareness of the condition and its symptoms, we can help more women understand what is PCOS and figure out ways how to diagnose PCOS to get the treatment they need to manage their symptoms and maintain their health.
Myth 5: PCOS only affects the reproductive system.
PCOS is often considered a reproductive disorder that affects only the ovaries and menstrual cycle. However, this is a myth that needs to be debunked. In reality, PCOS is a complex hormonal disorder that can affect many different systems in the body.
PCOS is characterised by an imbalance of reproductive hormones, which can lead to a range of symptoms such as irregular periods, acne, hair growth, and weight gain. However, this hormonal imbalance can also affect other systems in the body, including the metabolic, cardiovascular, and endocrine systems. Women with PCOS are at increased risk of developing insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes and other metabolic disorders. Additionally, women with PCOS may have higher levels of androgens (male hormones), affecting their mental health and well-being.
Recognising that PCOS is not just a reproductive disorder but a complex hormonal condition that can affect many different systems in the body is essential. Women with PCOS may be at increased risk of developing various health conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease.
Women with PCOS should contact fertility specialists to manage their symptoms and reduce their risk of developing other health problems.
Separating facts from myths in PCOS
Many myths surround this condition, which can lead to confusion and misdiagnosis. By debunking these myths, we can better understand PCOS and how it affects women. Women with PCOS need to seek proper diagnosis and treatment to manage their symptoms and reduce their risk of long-term health complications. If you suspect you may have PCOS, you must talk to your fertility specialist about getting tested and receiving the proper care.
You may ask, “can PCOS be cured?’ Well, it may not be cured, but with the right treatment and support, many women with PCOS can manage their symptoms and lead healthy, fulfilling lives. By raising awareness about what is PCOS and dispelling myths, we can help ensure that women with this condition receive the care and support they need.
Learn more about ways to control PCOS here : PCOS
This blog is intended for educational purposes only. All contents here is general in nature and does not take into account your personal circumstances. Please consult with your health care professional to ensure you get the right diagnosis and treatment.