As you might imagine, it’s very frustrating for anyone who is affected by PCOS. As prevalent as it may be, it’s also quite misunderstood. I’m the one sat here with a sticky note on my forehead saying “I have PCOS” and I’m reading things online about it that are downright myths. I’ve read so much over the years, trying to find out a little bit more about my condition, and I’m always left feeling confused or frustrated. There’s statements and uneducated assumptions on these forums and websites that don’t quite add up or make sense to me personally when I think about myself and what I have to deal with. There’s a lot out there to do with PCOS and a lot is far from the truth.
Let’s start with myth number one being that polycystic ovarian syndrome is a sorrowful, awful, life changing condition affecting women in their 30’s or older. No. It’s not all that life changing. It’s not fun but it’s not dreadful. It actually affects between 5-10% of all women aged between ages 18-44. That makes it an unfortunately fairly common condition.
Myth number two is that surgery is the only option to treat PCOS. While for some women this may be the case, it isn’t always the best way to treat PCOS and there’s actually loads of diet and lifestyle changes that can help grab your PCOS by the horns. (Read my blog ‘Controlling PCOS’)
Myth number three is that ‘Women with PCOS can’t have children’ – a misconception I cannot stand. Undeniably, fertility problems may be present such as irregular and/or painful periods and it may take longer to conceive but, here’s a thought: if PCOS is hereditary then women with PCOS evidently can have children…. or it couldn’t be passed on? Right? Right.
You might also be surprised to learn that cysts don’t always have to be present for a diagnosis of PCOS. Myth number four, in my case, doesn’t apply as having cysts were the main feature of my diagnosis. However, women can often be diagnosed after seeing the doctor about period pain, excessive hair growth, irregular mentruation, or having detected that the ovaries are different sizes or enlarged using an ultra sound.
Myth number five is that women with PCOS are obese.Well, I’m a size 8 and my Nan, who also had the condition (who also had five children), was only ever chubby when she became a Nan and needed to be for cuddle purposes. Win.
Lastly, while the belief that there is no cure for PCOS isn’t really a myth, the fact is, there are many treatments and changes that you can make that will make a difference when it comes to this frustrating, supressing condition.