There are several myths about PCOS? Have you heard them or believe them? ⤵
PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, but the name does not tell the whole story. It’s one of the most common conditions to affect the menstrual cycle and reproductive health, yet it’s also frequently misunderstood and misdiagnosed. PCOS affects about 10% of reproductive aged women. There are blood tests to secure the diagnosis and finding ovarian cysts on ultrasound is not accurate for diagnosing PCOS. This syndrome has no single defining cause, but most of the symptoms arise from overproduction of hormones called androgens, a group to which testosterone is included. This condition causes overproduction of testosterone in the ovaries. We just don’t know why.
I’ll be doing a series of posts on PCOS, but first let’s clear up some common misconceptions about this condition:
Myth 1 : Everyone with PCOS has ovarian cysts.
Nope. It’s possible to have PCOS with no ovarian cysts, and it’s possible to have ovarian cysts without PCOS. To be diagnosed with PCOS, a person only needs to meet 2 out of 3 conditions: ovarian cysts, irregular periods, or androgen excess. On ultrasound, multiple cysts are seen lining up just underneath the ovarian capsule.
Myth 2 : Everyone with PCOS should take the birth control pill.
Nope. The pill is commonly prescribed to women with PCOS, but it is far from the only option and does not address the whole picture. Whole-body strategies that rely on nutrition, lifestyle, and stress management can also be powerful ways to manage PCOS. Taking a birth control pill merely suppresses the symptoms of the underlying condition. When you stop the pill, you still have PCOS.
Myth 3 : Everyone with PCOS is overweight.
Nope. While it’s true that PCOS causes many women to gain weight, this is not an absolute. Also, weight loss becomes easier when we address the deeper metabolic patterns of PCOS, like changes in cortisol and insulin resistance. Women with PCOS have a higher risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes so insulin resistance is worth investigating and reversing. However, the single worst PCOS patient I cared for looked like the picture of health and was not overweight at all.
Myth 4 : You can’t get pregnant with PCOS.
Wrong. Even though PCOS is a common cause of infertility, it does not mean that pregnancy is impossible—particularly if you work to support your hormones and reproductive health through diet, lifestyle, and functional medicine. There are also various medical treatments available to improve fertility in PCOS patients, up to and including In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).
Myth 5 : PCOS will go away at menopause.
Nope. PCOS disrupts far more than the menstrual cycle. Its effects on insulin resistance, cortisol, inflammation, and weight gain continue (and may even worsen) after menopause. Menstrual issues will go away, but not the underlying metabolic issues. Want the bottom line? ⤵
Even though PCOS is a complex condition disrupting numerous hormones and metabolic pathways, it does not mean you need to feel bad for the rest of your life. We have an extensive set of tools in functional medicine to support hormonal and metabolic health in PCOS.
Be sure to like and save this post so you’ll see more in this series on PCOS 📌
#pcoshormones #pcosdiet #pcoslifestyle #hormonehealth #polycysticovariansyndrome #infertility #insulinresistance #type2diabetes #androgens #testosterone