Myths About PCOS

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a complex hormonal and metabolic disorder that affects women, causing weight gain, excess hair, acne, scalp hair loss, fertility problems, mood swings, skin tags, and an increased risk of diabetes.

Many myths are surrounding PCOS, so let’s clear up some of them.

MYTH 1: If you’re overweight, you’ll have to put up with it because there’s nothing you can do.

WRONG! If you have PCOS and are overweight, it can be harder to lose weight than the “average” person, but it is certainly not impossible. The only way to lose weight and keep it off is to deal with the underlying factors that make you cling to fat. Fat does not burn when insulin levels are high, so focus on insulin resistance following a low-glycemic diet, exercising regularly at least every other day, maximizing sleep, and taking nutritional supplements. A multivitamin is an excellent place to start, but people with insulin resistance need more magnesium, chromium, and B vitamins as well. If you are taking metformin, you should supplement a multivitamin and a separate tablet of vitamin B12. A naturopath can also prescribe an herbal formula to combat insulin resistance.

MYTH 2: If you have PCOS, you can’t have children without the help of IVF.

WRONG! Although having PCOS can make it hard to conceive, and IVF has helped many women with PCOS become mothers, it is not the only option for you. Many women have developed with less invasive treatments, and some even with only natural therapies. With PCOS, ovulation doesn’t always occur regularly, so the first step is to determine if you’re ovulating, which can be done through blood tests, daily temperature tests, or ovulation screening kits (although they may not be 100% accurate in the case of PCOS). If you’re doing it, great! It’s just a matter of getting the timing right for conception. If not, seek help to stimulate ovulation naturally. Losing 5% of your body fat can help restore ovulation, reduce stress, treat nutritional deficiencies, and restore hormonal balance with herbal medicine or acupuncture. You can still have PCOS and be a mother!

MYTH 3: PCOS is only a real concern if you are trying to conceive.

WRONG! For many women, trying to conceive is the biggest concern they have with PCOS, but PCOS brings many other problems that can be just as challenging. The effect PCOS has on a woman’s femininity, and self-esteem cannot be underestimated. Depression can be a real consequence of this and should be taken seriously. The physical problems that occur with PCOS, such as excess hair, hair loss, weight gain, and acne, can cause much distress—sometimes dismissed by health professionals as merely a cosmetic problem when they are a consequence of more serious underlying imbalances. Insulin resistance is a significant health problem that underlies many PCOS symptoms and should be treated as soon as possible to prevent the risk of diabetes. If your symptoms are being dismissed as minor when you know they affect your quality of life, find a new health care professional who will take you seriously. It is your right to have a supportive health guide that does not judge or dismiss you.

MYTH 4: PCOS goes away after menopause, or a hysterectomy will fix all my problems.

WRONG! After menopause, many changes occur. Some of the PCOS symptoms may decrease, like menstrual problems, obviously, but the underlying metabolic causes of PCOS will still exist. Menopause will not cure your PCOS, although it will affect it differently. You may even experience excess hair and acne, weight gain, and sugar cravings. Although the syndrome’s name implies an ovarian base, cystic ovaries are just another possible symptom you may experience. Also, don’t be fooled into thinking that a hysterectomy will fix all your problems. As with menopause, it will stop menstruation problems, but it will not prevent the other symptoms. After menopause or a hysterectomy, you are at greater risk for weight gain, osteoporosis, hot flashes, and cardiovascular disease. PCOS is a whole-body condition that requires a “more holistic approach.”

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