If you have been recently diagnosed with PCOS, it might feel overwhelming to understand all the facets of this condition and even more daunting to try and control its symptoms. But rest, assured, you are not alone in this! PCOS has become more common in women who are of reproductive age and unfortunately, they come across their diagnosis either due to their symptoms becoming visible or while they are trying to conceive.
It is important that you understand this syndrome correctly not only to conceive properly in the future, but also to improve your overall quality of life – both physically and mentally.
To help you gauge your condition better, here are eight important facts every woman should know about PCOS:
PCOS is caused by hormonal imbalance
The name “PCOS” can be misleading and make you think that your ovaries are malfunctioning and causing all these symptoms. Also the ‘cysts’ that you observe on ovaries are nothing but follicles which are basically immature eggs that have not been released.
PCOS is a hormonal disorder which means that the symptoms are actually an outcome of the underlying hormonal imbalance, especially androgen (male hormone) and insulin levels. Leaving PCOS untreated and not managing hormonal imbalance can lead to a range of PCOS complications in the long term which can affect various areas of your health.
PCOS, if left untreated, can cause reproductive problems
You may have heard so around frequently, and it is true – fertility can become a concern for women with PCOS. If PCOS is left untreated, the symptoms of PCOS aggravate and can cause further imbalance in your hormones. This can impair your affect your chances of conceiving and even increase the chances of complicating your pregnancy. However, with proper medical care and managing your PCOS, you can successfully conceive and reduce the risk of developing future complications.
There are long-term complications associated with PCOS
Women with PCOS may have a higher risk factor towards conditions such as diabetes, heart conditions, hypertension (high blood pressure), and certain mental health disorders too in the long-term. The risk of these complications increase significantly if PCOS is not managed early on. 70% of women with PCOS have insulin resistance which if not managed properly can lead to type 2 diabetes.
You may face various PCOS symptoms
PCOS in women can show up in a variety of ways. Since PCOS is a hormonal disorder, its symptoms are widespread too. Some of the symptoms that are mostly noted in women are irregularity in periods, excessive growth of hair (hirsutism), thinning or loss of hair (alopecia), gain of body weight, aggressive skin conditions such as acne on localised areas on the body and even hyperpigmentation of skin across different areas. And not every woman will have every symptom – symptoms can vary among women and also change during the course of a woman’s life.
PCOS is mostly misdiagnosed or remains undiagnosed
Since there are different symptoms that characterise PCOS, it can be difficult to diagnose it. Most women remain undiagnosed for the longest time because there is not enough information to understand how PCOS can be diagnosed early. The symptoms can also pertain to other health conditions and hence most women do not understand the underlying condition of the symptoms they face.
Any woman can have PCOS
PCOS in women is not restrictive to a particular set of women in terms of ethnicity, race, or even body size. However, some may face a greater risk of having PCOS if you have a mother or sister who is diagnosed with PCOS. Although obesity is often linked to PCOS due to the – but there is no concrete link between PCOS and obesity that can affirm that they cause each other. In fact, women who fall under the lean category i.e. BMI < 25 can also develop PCOS, and is called lean PCOS.
Treatment can help you conceive
PCOS has no cure but you can manage all your symptoms in the long run with holistic lifestyle changes. And PCOS does not make you infertile, you can conceive with PCOS with proper medical treatment. Many women with PCOS have obtained proper care and treatment for their PCOS and have gone ahead to deliver absolutely healthy babies. Several treatment options are available for women with PCOS who are planning to conceive which include medications as well as assisted reproductive technologies like IVF.
You are not alone!
Dealing with PCOS is not easy, especially when it can be difficult to deal with physical and mental symptoms with no clear resources to manage. Often it is good to talk about your condition to a supportive loved one. This can make you feel more reassured and less isolated. Support groups of women with PCOS can be a safe space to confide and talk about all the things that bother you about PCOS. If a group setting seems overwhelming to you, you can also seek help by talking to a therapist who can help you cope with the symptoms differently.
There have been numerous cases where a good diet, regular exercise and some treatments work in tandem to help you conceive and the same things may make no changes. Trusting your doctor and your body is important and equally vital for you to know to not compare your own journey with anyone else.
Disclaimer: Content on Veera is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice, or as a substitute for medical advice given by a physician