10 Myths About PCOS
PCOS is a common hormonal condition that affects around 12 percent of women of reproductive age (CDC) – but it’s blighted with misconceptions!
Many people with PCOS are underdiagnosed, some may not even know they have PCOS until their struggle to get pregnant. With so much misinformation around PCOS, we’re sharing the facts about this common condition.
Please note this blog post is not a substitute for official medical advice and is for informational purposes only. If you are concerned about your PCOS symptoms, suspect you have an underlying health condition, or wish to make dietary/lifestyle changes, please consult your doctor first who will be able to advise you on appropriate treatment options.
10 Myths About PCOS
1. You can cause your own PCOS
PCOS can not be caught or caused.
It’s believed that PCOS is generally a combination of genetic and environmental factors. It is genetically passed down from one generation to the next through insulin resistance (which controls blood sugar.) This may play a role in those diagnosed with PCOS, but it’s certain that you cannot cause yourself to develop PCOS.
2. Only overweight women get PCOS
PCOS affects people in many different ways.
Whilst it is more common for women with PCOS to struggle with weight gain – it doesn’t mean that they cannot lose weight, or that they might be underweight. Lean PCOS exists – and often leaves women undiagnosed.
3. Losing weight cures PCOS
There is no cure for PCOS, but losing weight can help regulate your periods.
Whilst there is no specific cure for PCOS, losing weight can help to regulate periods. However, in people with PCOS, it’s not as simple as just ‘eating less’. Exploring an anti-inflammatory diet, avoiding being overweight or obese, incorporating low impact exercise and taking advice on correct supplementation can help people with PCOS to lose weight and improve their PCOS symptoms.
4. Women with PCOS can’t get pregnant
You can get pregnant with PCOS
PCOS can affect someone’s ability to get pregnant – but it doesn’t mean they can’t get pregnant. A fertility specialist will be able to advise women of reproductive age on how to increase their chances of getting pregnant naturally, or with medical help.
5. You have to have cysts to have PCOS
You don’t have to have cysts to have PCOS.
Many women with cysts on their ovaries have PCOS – but equally, you can have cysts and not have PCOS. There are multiple conditions that someone must fulfil in order to get a PCOS diagnosis, including: excess androgens, irregular periods and ovarian cysts.
6. PCOS is a rare condition
PCOS affects up to 12% of women of reproductive age (CDC).
In fact, PCOS is fairly common and is chronically underdiagnosed. It’s predicted that many more women have PCOS, without knowing – due to the difficulty in diagnosing it.
7. All people with PCOS have unwanted hair growth
Hirsutism is a common symptom of PCOS, but not everyone has it.
Excessive hair growth is caused by excess androgens. Depending on ethnicity, age and androgens, not all people with PCOS have excessive hair growth.
8. Irregular periods mean you have PCOS
Irregular periods are just one possible symptom of PCOS.
If you have irregular periods, it’s worth talking to a fertility specialist or your ob gyn. Whilst irregular periods are a common symptom of PCOS, it can also be caused by extreme dieting, fibroids, thyroid disorders and many other conditions.
9. Birth control cures PCOS
Birth control cannot cure PCOS.
Often, irregular periods affect women with PCOS. Birth control pills are a common way that doctors treat menstrual irregularities – but they are not a long term solution for PCOS. It’s more important to focus on reducing stress and eating an anti-inflammatory diet that supports blood sugar control..
10. PCOS is for life
There is no ‘cure’ for PCOS.
However, many people with PCOS find that addressing their symptoms with lifestyle changes, diet alterations and supplementation can reverse all PCOS symptoms. There are many treatment options, specific to your PCOS type, once you have been diagnosed with PCOS.
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