Let’s talk PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) and bust some myths 🤯
PCOS is defined by a combination of signs and symptoms of androgen excess (a hormone) and ovarian dysfunction in the absence of other specific diagnoses (Escobar- Morreale, 2019). Investigations (blood tests and an ultrasound) should always be done to get an accurate diagnosis.
Many women that have been “diagnosed” or told they “might have” PCOS are done so without any investigations. This is not okay, don’t accept this. Seek out a second opinion.
Many women are confused and concerned because they think they won’t be able to have babies. Yes, unmanaged PCOS can make it difficult to conceive, but it doesn’t make you “infertile” if it is managed. PCOS can be reversed. It is not a life sentence.
Some women are told the treatment option is the oral contraceptive pill. The pill does not “cure” PCOS. It suppresses your hormones so you don’t ovulate. But when you stop the pill, you may still have PCOS – nothing’s changed. In fact, there is a condition called post-pill PCOS – meaning the pill can in fact cause PCOS (Alois & Estores, 2019). Some women are told their PCOS is genetic, so they’ve just got to put up with it. Yes, PCOS can be genetic (Escobar-Morreale, 2019). We cannot change our genes but we can change the way our genes behave. A PCOS diagnosis does not need to be permanent. Our environment (diet and lifestyle) significantly influences the way our genes behave and how our body responds to hormones. PCOS is strongly influenced by environmental factors including stress, nutritional deficiency, obesity, high glycemic diet (sugar and carbs) and lack of exercise (Escore-Morreale, 2019). Therefore, diet and lifestyle modifications are critical in managing PCOS. Research has also shown herbal and nutritional supplementation to be effective in managing PCOS (Alois & Estores, 2019).
And finally, some women are told not to worry about PCOS unless they are trying to have a baby – no, no, no! PCOS is associated with an increased risk of many chronic illnesses including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, endometrial cancer, depression and anxiety.