Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a very common female endocrine disorder which could have several repercussions if not managed properly. One of these repercussions is infertility. September is PCOS Awareness Month and we are trying to bust a few myths associated with PCOS
1. Myth: PCOS is a cause of concern only if I am trying to get pregnant.
Fact: PCOS does not affect women only at a reproductive age. It affects women who are younger as well as women who are older. In fact, PCOS should be managed well even if you are not trying to have a baby now. There are several common symptoms of PCOS such as high cholesterol levels, general exhaustion, depression, anxiety and sleep apnea which definitely come in the way of regular life.
Also, women with PCOS have greater chances of developing several serious, life-threatening diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease [CVD] and cancer.
2. Myth: I am not overweight. I do not have to worry about PCOS.
Fact: It is true that being overweight increases your risk of PCOS. It is also true that PCOS increases body weight and is one of the symptoms to look out for. But, it is very untrue that skinny women cannot be affected by the condition. So, women in the normal weight range need to look out for other features such as insulin resistance, depression, anxiety and irregular periods.
3. Myth: I have PCOS, so I cannot get pregnant.
Fact: PCOS is definitely related to infertility. However, it is false to say that you cannot conceive if you have PCOS. Usually, in the case of women with PCOS, anovulation or lack of ovulation happens. This can be treated by inducing ovulation with ovulation drugs or by correction of insulin resistance. The final option for achieving pregnancy in patients with PCOS related infertility is IVF i.e In Vitro Fertilization
4. Myth: I do not have PCOS. I will know if I have PCOS.
Fact: Usually, some women have very clearly defined symptoms which point to PCOS. However, in some cases the symptoms could be severely evasive. In fact, at times few women with PCOS might not even show cysts on an ultrasound.
So, it is important to know all the symptoms of PCOS which include irregular periods, obesity, hirsutism, infertility, acne, skin tags, male pattern hair loss, high cholesterol levels, exhaustion or lack of mental alertness, depression, anxiety and decreased sex drive.
It also helps to get yearly health checkups including a complete gynecological examimation.
5. Myth: I cannot do anything about my PCOS.
Fact: This is completely wrong! In fact a combination of medications along with lifestyle modifications including a healthy diet and exercise is the best option for treating PCOS. Weight loss of even 5-10 % of body weight can restore normal ovulation and regular periods.