Regardless of its identify, not everybody with PCOS has cysts on their ovaries. Picture Credit score: Menshalena/iStock/GettyImages
For the way frequent it’s, there are an terrible lot of misconceptions about polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). And whereas that may be irritating for individuals who have the situation, it could additionally get in the way in which of their care.
PCOS statistics fluctuate a bit as a result of it may be difficult to diagnose, however in keeping with the Workplace on Ladies’s Well being, as much as 10 % of individuals with ovaries have the situation throughout their reproductive years.
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“PCOS is a hormone imbalance the place your ovaries produce extra hormones referred to as androgens,” explains Amy Wetter, MD, ob-gyn at Pediatrix Medical Group in Atlanta, Georgia. “On account of this hormone imbalance, ladies will usually have missed intervals, irregular cycles, unpredictable ovulation and may have zits, extra hair, weight problems, skinny hair, cysts on the ovaries and infertility.”
Though there’s a lot we find out about PCOS, there’s additionally loads we do not know, together with what causes it. “The precise explanation for PCOS is just not clear presently, however genome-wide research have recognized some genes that will play a job in its improvement and predispose one to the illness,” says Elizabeth Dilday, MD, an ob-gyn with CCRM Fertility in Orange County, California.
There’s quite a lot of confusion on the market about PCOS, which might go away individuals with the situation not sure about learn how to handle their signs. Right here, ob-gyns and endocrinologists assist us unpack the most typical myths about PCOS and clarify the reality about residing with this analysis.
Fantasy 1: All Folks With PCOS Have Ovarian Cysts
Perhaps the most typical fantasy about PCOS is that everybody with the situation has ovarian cysts. This concept has in all probability sprung up due to the situation’s identify (polycystic ovary syndrome), says Stephanie Smeltzer, MD, reproductive endocrinologist at Atlantic Middle for Reproductive Medication. However it’s truly not true.
In reality, there are a bunch of standards used to diagnose the situation, Dr. Smeltzer says, and cysts are only one chance.
And simply because somebody has cysts on their ovaries, it does not robotically imply they’ve PCOS. In reality, in keeping with a 2014 paper in Medical Epidemiology, about 20 to 30 % of individuals with ovaries who do not meet the medical standards for PCOS have a number of ovarian cysts.
Fantasy 2: PCOS Is Triggered By Unhealthy Way of life Selections
Many individuals assume PCOS is attributable to unhealthy way of life selections, like overeating or lack of train.
However Pamela Berens, MD, ob-gyn and professor with UTHealth Houston, says this can be a misunderstanding: “PCOS is an endocrine and metabolic dysfunction,” she explains, including that there can also be a genetic predisposition for the illness.
In different phrases, whereas we do not completely perceive what causes PCOS, “the illness doesn’t seem like attributable to way of life selections,” Dr. Berens emphasizes.
Fantasy 3: Solely Folks With Obese or Weight problems Have PCOS
“Some of the frequent myths is that ladies with PCOS should be chubby or overweight to have a analysis and even do a workup for PCOS,” says Dr. Wetter.
Quite the opposite, September 2019 analysis in Medical Medical Insights: Reproductive Well being discovered that between 38 and 88 % of individuals with PCOS meet the standards for chubby or weight problems. So whereas this is perhaps the bulk, it is definitely not everybody.
A part of the explanation why this fantasy exists is that many individuals assume weight problems causes PCOS. However this is not true.
“You will need to perceive that the underlying mechanism is ovarian hormone dysfunction, which might be current in [both] regular and chubby/overweight ladies,” Dr. Wetter explains.
Fantasy 4: Folks With PCOS All the time Have Extreme Hair Progress
Whereas it is true that extreme hair development generally is a signal of PCOS for some, it is a fantasy that all individuals with PCOS have this symptom, Dr. Wetter says.
Hirsutism, or male-pattern hair development — which causes hair development on the face, again and chest — generally is a signal of PCOS, however it can be a symptom of a unique endocrine dysfunction or just a product of somebody’s ethnicity, Dr. Wetter notes.
Fantasy 5: Folks With PCOS Can’t Get Pregnant
One big fantasy about PCOS is that you probably have it, you’ll be able to’t get pregnant. Whereas it is true that lack of ovulation is an indication of PCOS and infrequently a part of the way it’s recognized, it doesn’t suggest you cannot ovulate when you might have the dysfunction.
“For ladies with PCOS who do expertise infertility, there are various good remedies for bettering ovulation and fertility which are accessible,” Dr. Berens assures.
In accordance with the Nationwide Institutes of Well being, getting pregnant when you might have PCOS often entails way of life modifications and drugs, or a mix of the 2.
Fantasy 6: It’s Inconceivable to Lose Weight When You Have PCOS
Many individuals have heard that shedding pounds you probably have PCOS is an impossibility. However this is not true, says Melanie Bone, MD, an ob-gyn and medical board member for gynecological well being firm Daye.
“In actuality, whereas weight administration might be more difficult for some with PCOS attributable to insulin resistance and hormonal imbalances, it isn’t insurmountable,” she says.
Easy way of life modifications, like decreasing energy and train, may also help. At instances, medical therapy for weight reduction might be useful as nicely, Dr. Bone says.
And once more, somewhat goes a good distance. Research — together with December 2017 analysis in Ladies’s Well being — have discovered that even a weight discount of 5 to 10 % may also help with metabolic points associated to PCOS and enhance your possibilities of ovulation.
Fantasy 7: PCOS Is Solely a Reproductive Dysfunction
We often consider PCOS solely as a reproductive dysfunction that makes being pregnant difficult. “This can be a fantasy,” says Dr. Dilday. “Whereas PCOS is classed as a reproductive endocrine dysfunction, it might have an effect on many methods in your physique outdoors of the reproductive system.”
For instance, PCOS could cause pores and skin points, like zits and undesirable hair development, she says.
Folks with PCOS even have an elevated danger of circumstances like insulin resistance, heart problems, metabolic syndrome, elevated ldl cholesterol and kind 2 diabetes, Dr. Dilday notes.
All of for this reason it is so essential to take your situation significantly, sustain together with your well being care appointments and take steps to handle the situation.
Fantasy 8: You Don’t Want Beginning Management if You Have PCOS
Many individuals hyperlink PCOS with infertility, and if they’re experiencing irregular menstrual cycles as nicely, they could not assume they want contraception. However it’s not true that individuals with PCOS do not ovulate or get pregnant, so if being pregnant is just not an possibility for you proper now, you must use contraception, Dr. Dilday says.
“It can be crucial for sufferers with PCOS to make use of a dependable type of contraception, as ovulation should be occurring, albeit much less ceaselessly and fewer predictably,” she says.
Fantasy 9: You Ought to Attempt to Conceive for at Least One 12 months Earlier than Seeing a Specialist
Some individuals with PCOS take a “wait and see” strategy on the subject of getting pregnant. However Dr. Smeltzer does not suggest this, particularly if you realize you are not ovulating.
“One other fantasy is that you must attempt to conceive for at the least one yr earlier than seeing a fertility specialist you probably have PCOS,” says Dr. Smeltzer. “It’s not potential to get pregnant with out ovulating, so if you realize you aren’t ovulating, the sooner you see a fertility specialist, the sooner we may also help you get pregnant.”
Fantasy 10: PCOS Goes Away Throughout Menopause
You probably have PCOS, you may assume you may not have to fret in regards to the situation anymore when you hit menopause (outlined as not having a interval for at the least 12 months, and often affecting individuals between ages 45 and 55). However this is not utterly correct, Dr. Bone says.
“It’s true that ovulatory irregularities go away after menopause,” she says. “Nevertheless, metabolic circumstances akin to insulin resistance will persist.”
PCOS is definitely a lifelong situation, Dr. Bone says, although it manifests in numerous methods at totally different instances in life.
Likewise, having the situation places you at increased danger of circumstances like coronary heart illness, diabetes and stroke, and that danger additionally will increase with age.
For this reason it is essential to keep up a correspondence together with your well being care staff, take any really useful medicines and preserve consuming nicely and exercising, even after the menopause transition.
The Backside Line
PCOS is a fancy situation that may have an effect on many physique methods and have vital results on well being and wellbeing.
Nonetheless, it’s potential to handle PCOS signs, and higher understanding the situation may also help individuals get the analysis and care they should dwell full, wholesome lives.