10 Myths About Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Certain medical conditions have the potential to influence your life in many ways. PCOS is a perfect example of one such condition. It is said that 1 out of every 5 women in India is diagnosed with PCOS. Women with PCOS face certain conditions like hormonal imbalance, metabolism problems, high level of androgens (male hormones), and elevated levels of insulin.
Unfortunately, PCOS is not well understood by some doctors and this misinformation can impact the diagnosis and treatment. But if you have PCOS, it is important for you to know as much as you can about the syndrome. So, here are 10 myths about PCOS that every woman should know to live better with the condition.
1. It’s Impossible to Lose Weight with PCOS
One of the biggest myths about PCOS is that women with this syndrome can never lose weight. Many women with PCOS say that even if they exercise more and eat less, the weight still sticks on. But the fact is that PCOS is not entirely to be blamed for weight gain.
Although it could be a bit challenging to control your weight with PCOS but it is not impossible.
If you are following a healthy lifestyle and still struggling to lose weight, chances are you are insulin resistant. Also, the idea that weight loss is simply calories in versus calories out is oversimplified as weight loss is more complicated than that. And with PCOS, you have to take extra care of your lifestyle. Try mixing up your workouts and include more resistance training to stress your muscles. Changing your diet plan and focus on protein with small amounts of grains, fruits, or starchy vegetables.
2. You Did Something to Trigger It
It is a fact that the exact cause of PCOS cannot be known, but you should not blame yourself for triggering it, as a lot of different factors are widely believed to play a role.
Doctors don’t know the exact cause of PCOS. But it is believed that high levels of male hormones prevent ovaries from producing hormones and making eggs. Genes, insulin, and resistance are some factors linked to excess androgen (male hormones) production.
Scientists believe that insulin might play a role in the body's increased androgen production. And insulin resistance is most common in women who are overweight or have an unhealthy diet. Also, studies have shown that PCOS runs in families, hence women whose mothers or sisters have PCOS are more likely to be affected by this syndrome.
3. You Can't Get Pregnant with PCOS
PCOS can interfere with your pregnancy but it isn’t true for everyone. You can consult a doctor about fertility treatment. Also, a number of medications can stimulate ovulation, which is the main problem that women with PCOS face.
However, to avoid side effects, diet and lifestyle changes are the primary treatment approaches for PCOS and following a healthy diet along with some physical activity or weight loss can improve ovulation.
4. Women With PCOS Have Ovary Cysts
Although the name poly “cystic” ovary syndrome refers to cysts in the ovaries, it is not completely accurate. Many women who have PCOS don’t have cysts, and having cysts doesn’t mean you have PCOS. PCOS can be tiny immature follicles that surround the ovaries which are an outcome of imbalance of sex hormones. The follicles resemble cysts but they are not the same.
To be diagnosed with PCOS, a woman needs to fulfill only two of the three conditions - androgen excess, irregular menstruation, or multiple follicles/cysts.
People feel the name of PCOS is misleading which sometimes contributes to the challenges in getting more women diagnosed. Hence, a new name for PCOS has been proposed that doesn’t focus on cysts or ovaries, rather on the metabolic aspects that women with PCOS can experience.
5. PCOS is a Rare Condition
It has been estimated that 5 to 10 percent of women in childbearing age have PCOS, which is about 5 Million women. This makes the condition one of the most common hormonal endocrine disorders among reproductive-age women. According to the PCOS Foundation, less than half of all women are actually diagnosed correctly, which means that millions of women are actually not even aware of their condition.
6. Every Woman with Excess Hair has PCOS
One of the most common symptoms of PCOS is hirsutism, which is nothing but abnormal hair growth in women. Because of an excess of androgens, women with PCOS can have unwanted hair on their upper lip area, chin, or chest. But not every woman will show the same symptoms. Hence, excess hair growth on all body parts is just another myth about PCOS.
7. Every Woman with Irregular Menstrual Cycle has PCOS
PCOS can be one of the causes of irregular menstrual cycle but they can also be caused by other health conditions or lifestyle factors, like an over or underactive thyroid gland. Hence, it is not entirely accurate to say that every woman with irregular periods have PCOS.
8. You Must Take Metformin
Metformin is a popular diabetes medication that is widely prescribed to women battling PCOS even though it is not indicated for treating PCOS. It just helps to reduce glucose and insulin levels which can improve menstrual regularity for some women. But the medication also has some side effects such as nausea and diarrhea.
To avoid such side effects, newer insulin-sensitizing medications are now available which can help manage insulin. Also, nutritional diet have shown to be effective to improve insulin in PCOS.
9. You Don’t Have to Worry About PCOS if You’re Not Looking to Get Pregnant
PCOS does not just affect a woman’s fertility; it can also impact her long-term wellness. Since it has been linked to type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, poor cholesterol levels, sleep apnea, depression and anxiety, and endometrial cancer. So, even if you are not looking to get pregnant it is important that you follow a healthy lifestyle and consult a doctor about the syndrome.
10. You’ll Know for Sure if You Have PCOS
With common symptoms like acne, mood swings, and irregular menstrual cycle, it can be easy to chalk these up to other causes, like stress. That’s one reason why PCOS is often missed and 50 to 70 percent of women with PCOS are left undiagnosed.
Not every doctor is educated enough about PCOS. Hence, if you’re experiencing these symptoms, it’s best to consult an ob-gyn and endocrinologist to find out the root cause.
So, those were the Top 10 myths about PCOS. We hope this will help you get over the traditional myths about the syndrome and give you a more positive outlook. And remember, while there’s no specific cure for PCOS yet, there is a lot of hope for you to feel better by continually being in a healing process that would bring your body into balance. &Me PCOS Drink is one such healthy option to treat hormonal imbalance and irregular periods. With a unique blend of ayurvedic herbs and micronutrients, it manages PCOS, PCOD. &Me PCOS drink has Lodhra, Vitamin B12 and Zinc which provides hormonal balance, improves immunity and boosts metabolism for women with PCOS, PCOD. Now, with &Me PCOS drink and a healthy lifestyle take the healing into your own hands.