7 Myths of PCOS
Posted October 15, 2022 by Anusha ‐ 4 min read
Most women don’t learn about polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) unless they’ve had trouble getting pregnant. And that’s a shame, since PCOS isn’t just a fertility issue. According to the Office on Women’s Health, a whopping 1 in 10 women of childbearing age have PCOS. It’s often linked to an imbalance of reproductive hormones. And this can lead to problems with the ovaries. Either eggs don’t develop the way they should, or they’re not released during ovulation.
Myth: You did something to cause PCOS
The exact cause of PCOS is unknown.
But what we know for sure: You are not to blame. (And just to be clear, taking or stopping oral birth control pills does not cause PCOS, she adds.)
Instead, experts believe that several factors outside of your control may lead to developing PCOS.
Genetics are believed to play a role.
And it’s been shown that women who have a mother, sister or aunt with PCOS may be more likely to have the condition themselves.
Myth: PCOS is diagnosed only through a blood test
There’s no single test to diagnose PCOS, reports the Office on Women’s Health.
Instead, your doctor will look at a number of tests and other factors.
These may include a:
Physical exam to look for hair loss or other signs of hormonal imbalance
Pelvic exam to check if your ovaries are enlarged or swollen
Blood test to check your androgen hormone levels, as well as other hormones
Pelvic ultrasound to detect any cysts in your ovaries or changes in your uterine lining
Myth: All patients with PCOS are overweight
The link between PCOS and weight is complicated.
Some people with the condition have excess weight and report difficulty losing weight, but that’s not the case for everyone.
There are many people with ‘lean PCOS’ who often go years without a diagnosis because they don’t fit the typical PCOS presentation of a patient with insulin resistance and weight gain, she adds.
Myth: If you lose weight, you can get rid of PCOS
Losing weight won’t reverse the condition, but it can help women balance their hormone levels.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for PCOS.
For now, the focus is on managing symptoms and reducing health risks.
Treatment may involve medication (such as birth control pills) and healthy lifestyle changes.
Your doctor may talk to you about how losing excess weight can help manage symptoms and reduce your risk of PCOS-related issues such as diabetes.
Myth: If you have irregular periods, that means you have PCOS
Sure, PCOS is one cause of an irregular cycle.
But it’s certainly not the only one.
Other factors that can throw off Aunt Flo include stress, extreme dieting or exercising, and other hormone conditions such as thyroid disorders.
If you think you have PCOS, the best thing to do is talk with your doctor.
This way, you can get the answers you need to live a full and symptom-free life.
And if prescription medication is part of your treatment plan, download our free mobile app.
You could find discounts that save you up to 80% on your next trip to the pharmacy.
Myth: You can never get pregnant if you have PCOS
This is one of the biggest myths and it’s absolutely false.
I’ve had too many patients say they heard this from doctors when they were first diagnosed with PCOS.
Some people may have trouble conceiving or take longer to conceive, especially if their ovulation is unpredictable and their periods are irregular.
But by no means does PCOS mean you cannot have a baby.
Myth: PCOS matters only if you’re trying to get pregnant
It’s true that PCOS is one of the most common causes of infertility in women.
But it’s also a lifelong condition that can have widespread health impacts.
With PCOS, your body may have high amounts of 2 hormones: androgen (the
guyhormone) and insulin (which helps regulate blood sugar).
This may lead to many PCOS symptoms that can range from frustrating to downright life-altering.
Symptoms can include:
Extra hair in places you don’t want it (on the face, chest)
Ovarian cysts (fluid-filled sacs)
Weight gain (especially around the belly)