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Here are 9 things that no one tells you about PCOS

Published on:3 June 2021, 13:40pm IST
There are several myths around PCOS, but the unfortunate part is no one ever told you the truth. Fret not, we are going to bust them all today.
Nikita Bhardwaj
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There are a lot of things that can happen, when you have PCOS. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

PCOS – these four letters can be life-changing. No, we aren’t kidding; we mean it in every way. But before we jump to conclusions about this hormonal disorder, it is important to do a fact check. Do you know why? Because there are a million myths around PCOS. 

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder, and in most cases, women of childbearing age, those between 15 and 45 years, get affected. The fact is this disorder affects a woman’s ovaries. Ovaries are the reproductive organs that produce hormones like estrogen and progesterone that regulate the menstrual cycle. 

The ovaries make an egg every month that symbolises a healthy menstrual cycle but with PCOS, the eggs may not develop and get released by the ovaries, as they should. 

“During PCOS, the reproductive hormones go out of whack, due to which women may have infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods or excess male hormone (androgen) levels,” explains Dr Aruna Kalra, senior gynaecologist and obstetrician at CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram.

Some major causes of PCOS
  • Excess insulin in the body: Pancreas produces a hormone called insulin that is used by the body to get sugar from food for energy. When the cells in our body are not able to use the insulin properly, the body demands more insulin. 

    If your cells become resistant to the action of insulin, then your blood sugar levels can rise and your pancreas might produce more insulin. In this case, the pancreas starts producing more insulin. Excess insulin might affect the ovaries and they start producing more male hormones, causing difficulty with ovulation,” suggests Dr Kalra.
  • Heredity: One can experience PCOS, if someone in the family has suffered from it. Hence, PCOS is a genetic disorder. 
  • Excess androgen: Androgens are male hormones. Women’s bodies make some amount of androgen. If a woman’s body has high levels of androgen, it can prevent the ovaries from producing and releasing the egg (ovulation). This may also result in hirsutism (excessive hair growth) and acne. 

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Some major symptoms of PCOS
  • Irregularity in menstrual cycle: Lack of ovulation (releasing of egg by the ovary) can cause period irregularities.
  • Weight gain: Weight gain is also a common symptom of PCOS. Women who suffer from this disorder have to maintain a healthy lifestyle, in order to prevent weight gain. Losing weight is also a task for women with PCOS.
  • Hair growth: Too much hair on the chin, face and chest (like males) are the symptoms of PCOS. This is called hirsutism.
  • Acne: Women with PCOS may also experience acne on the face, back or chest. Male hormones usually make the skin of the women oilier than usual, resulting in acne.
  • Male pattern baldness: During PCOS, the hair of women may get thinner and start to fall out, causing male pattern baldness.

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Finally, some shocking facts about PCOS that no one ever told you about

1. Eating disorders, including anorexia and binge eating disorder, are common among women with PCOS.

2. You can very well get pregnant if you have PCOS.

3. Women with PCOS have higher rates of anxiety and depression.

4. If a woman is taking metformin or oral contraceptives, it is also important for her to take a B12 supplement, as the drug can interfere with absorption of the vitamin.

5. “Regular exercise is an effective way to improve insulin levels in women with PCOS,” says Dr Kalra.

6. Women with PCOS are at a higher risk of gestational diabetes, miscarriages, preterm deliveries and stillbirths.

7. Vitamin D, a hormone and a vitamin, has been shown to play a role in insulin resistance and egg development.

8. According to studies, sleep disturbances are twice as common in women with PCOS as compared to the women without it.

9. If you are a breastfeeding mom, PCOS can hamper the supply of your milk.

Told ya! You’ll be shocked to know that there are so many myths that you would have believed, before reading this article.

Nikita Bhardwaj Nikita Bhardwaj

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content.