Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) affects 6 to 10% of women worldwide, making it one of the leading health issues for females of childbearing age. But in Pakistan, roughly only 10% of women understand what having PCOS entails, which is why a large number of cases remain undiagnosed. Don’t worry though, we’ve done the homework for you so let’s dive in straight!
Where Does It All Start?
PCOS has several known causes beyond fluctuations in the normal estrogen and progesterone levels for females. Insulin resistance and high insulin levels in the bloodstream, excessive production of androgens, low-grade inflammation of ovaries, and genetics include a few others. There is a major misconception of ovarian cysts being listed as a cause, when in fact that too is just another symptom!
Persistent issues with your period are a key symptom of PCOS since it can prevent a girl from ovulating normally. This then ceases the further stages by disrupting hormone levels, even more, interrupting the cycle and causes cessation of menstrual cycles. But given it can take two years for a young girl’s periods to regulate, it’s hard to diagnose anything based on irregularities in her menstrual cycle. However, here are three things you should be taking note of regarding your monthly cycles:
Eight or fewer cycles a year, cycles shorter than 21 or longer than 35 (45 for girls in early years of puberty), and not experiencing menarche by the age of 15 are all irregularities.
Completely skipping your period. Failure to menstruate for four months or more is alarming. Time to go check with a gynaecologist!
Missing your periods means your uterine lining keeps building up without shedding. This means when your endometrium finally sheds after months, the flow can be unusually heavy and high! Some women may even experience excessively light bleeding and scanty flow if they’re not ovulating at all.
Myths and Misconceptions
Single symptoms are enough to indicate you have PCOS
While it is true that irregularities with periods is one of the most noticeable symptoms, having issues with your period does not mean you have PCOS. Lifestyle choices such as excessive exercise and low-calorie consumption or thyroid disorders can cause irregular periods too. It is recommended that all women closely monitor their cycles and make annual checkups to their gynaecologist. Negligence can have severe consequences. Hence being conscious about your health is a safer option.
Having PCOS means your periods remain irregular forever
Many women have been able to regulate their menstrual cycles over time. Especially if they are seeking treatment, practicing diet control, and making lifestyle changes to help them deal with PCOS. Yes – PCOS is treatable and controllable!
PCOS goes away at menopause
Despite the positive changes in regulating menstrual cycles, PCOS hormonal imbalance does not change with one’s age and so other symptoms may remain.
PCOS is not curable, but its effects can be minimised with a healthier diet, exercise, better sleeping habits, and seeking medical help. There is of course a need to closely monitor one’s health and consult a gynaecologist or hormones specialist if you suspect you may need medical advice. Timely diagnosis and a change in lifestyle habits that might be aggravating the problem can help one deal with PCOS.