Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects about 3 to 10% of women in the world. It is usually characterized by excess production of testosterone, enlarged ovaries and menstrual irregularities. However, not everyone observes the same symptoms. In fact, not much is known about the disease even among the medical community. As a result, there are a lot of misconceptions associated with PCOS. These myths sometimes affect both the diagnosis and the treatment of a patient.
In this article, we bust four such myths associated with PCOS.
Myth 1: PCOS leads to weight gain.
It is a common notion that women with PCOS tend to gain weight/are overweight or they find it difficult to shed kilos. However, the link between weight and PCOS is not really clear.
Fact: PCOS equally affects women of all sizes and shapes. There is some evidence that women with PCOS tend to put on weight and find it difficult to shed weight. However, experts suggest that with adequate dietary and lifestyle changes, they can lose weight as any healthy woman. Also, just because you’re not overweight, does not mean that you can’t have PCOS.
Myth 2: If you have PCOS, you can’t get pregnant.
Since PCOS affects ovarian follicles, many younger women with PCOS believe that they may not be able to conceive due to the condition.
Fact: Women with PCOS may find it difficult to get pregnant. The condition also increases the risk of pregnancy complications. But if you want to conceive, you can talk to a doctor and they’ll put you on medications to promote ovulation. A majority of women with PCOS can conceive with small changes in lifestyle along with fertility treatments.
Myth 3: The condition does not have any long term health consequences.
PCOS is often considered just that, a problem with ovulation and menstrual cycle. However, it is a complex condition that affects various body functions.
Fact: It is suggested that in the long term, women who have PCOS are seven times more likely to have a heart attack due to conditions like diabetes, insulin resistance, high cholesterol and obesity. Additionally, PCOS increases the risk of breast cancer and endometrial cancer over time. So even if you’re planning of having children, it is in your best interest to get this condition under control.
Myth 4: You don’t have to take contraception if you have PCOS.
Pregnancy happens when a sperm fuses with an ovum (fertilisation). And because ovulation (the release of ovum from the ovary) is affected in PCOS, many women believe that they don’t really need to take any contraceptives.
Fact: It may be harder to get pregnant when you have PCOS, but experts say that even women with PCOS ovulate spontaneously at times. This can lead to unwanted pregnancies. A study done in Australia found that women with PCOS had almost the same number of children as healthy women. So, it is best to be cautious and always use contraception.
For more information, read our article on PCOS.
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