PCOS is a very common hormonal condition affecting 1 in 5 woman of a reproductive age. It is a condition that may cause disruptions in your menstrual cycle, hair growth and physical changes of the body.
I'm going to share with you 10 myths about PCOS. The why behind this is that a lot of women are being diagnosed (and wrongly diagnosed) and not being told all right the information, walking away feeling vulnerable, saddened and inadequate of a woman.
Everything on here is backed by research and what i see in the clinic with my client on a daily basis. So grab a pen and paper if you need it, allow yourself some time to digest and if you have any questions then feel free to email me and i'll happily respond.
1. You have to have cysts to have polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Because of it’s name it can be as though it’s giving you a clue in to what the condition is but in fact that’s not all there is too it (in fact they are wanting to change the name to reproductive metabolic syndrome so people don't self diagnose). You don't have to have cysts on your ovaries to have PCOS. You actually need two of the three following factors below to be diagnosed (in western medicine) with PCOS;
1. Multiple cysts on ovaries
2. Androgen excess hormones (male hormones) which gives the features; excess facial hair, hair loss, acne etc.
3. Irregular menstruation.
2. You have to be overweight to have PCOS
This is a common misconception that people think about an overweight woman with facial hair “obviously” has PCOS as well, but in fact that’s not true! And because of this woman are wrongly diagnosed with the syndrome and are left believing they have something wrong with themselves for a really long length of time (affecting their mental health). Women of any weight can have PCOS, although their still isn’t entirely enough research about how women get PCOS from a western perspective (some are seeing insulin resistance relatable to the imbalance in hormones contributing to this), Chinese Medicine looks in to many factors that can cause PCOS which are; stress (effecting our liver by reducing detoxification pathways for hormones), sedentary lifestyle ( no movement, causes blood stagnation in the body therefore causing no movement thus cysts builds up), Inadequate diet (lots of oily, fatty or processed foods) can lead to higher blood sugar and disruption in the microbiome of the gut and medications (effects your immune system and microbiome)
Someone can be lean, eat poorly and is stressed out which could lead to PCOS. Best thing is, if you don't feel good then go seek help.
3. You won’t be able to fall pregnant if you have PCOS
This is certainly not true, I’ve helped many woman in the clinic who have PCOS get pregnant and get pregnant again. It’s a matter of getting smart about your health and understanding your body. Everyone’s story is different and so getting the right balance and knowledge behind you, you can still fall pregnant. It could mean that your ovulation takes a bit longer to happen, or you ovulate from one ovary (due to follicles overgrowth in the other) or potentially needing detoxification support so you can balance out your female and male hormones again. This is the time to invest in you!
4. Every woman with PCOS will have hair growing in places they don’t want too.
This will only happen if your androgen hormones are dominant (male hormones). Females are dominant in oestrogen hormones (female hormones) and will have some male hormones (testosterone) circulating in the body and vice versa with males (they have more testosterone than oestrogen). When females produce higher levels of male hormones this can produce more hair in the areas where males would usually get more hair such as the face. Other hormonal conditions can cause this or thyroid issues. A blood test is the only way to check your hormonal levels, and it’s best to go see a holistic health practitioner as they can help identify if this is the right option for you. You may have cysts and irregular periods but no irregular hair growth or loss to have PCOS.
5. You have to have irregular cycles to have PCOS.
There are many reasons as to why you could have irregular cycles but you can still have PCOS with regular cycles and not know it. Even if you do have irregular cycles, this is something I would research to find out why it’s occurring for you as it isn’t normal to not have a proper period each month. If by chance you do have irregular cycles and PCOS it is mainly due to the hormonal imbalance or cysts that can block the tubes and the ovaries therefore reducing the peak in hormones at the right time of your cycle to signal for a period. (sometimes this is why every second month you may get a period)
6. If you are not wanting to fall pregnant, you don’t have to worry about PCOS
Even if you are not ready to fall pregnant, or don’t even want kids, you still need to address PCOS. Why? Because having PCOS can increase your chances of getting type 2 diabetes (hence why we think it’s linked to insulin resistance), higher blood pressure (irregular hormones), sleep apnoea, endometrial cancer (higher rate of mutating cells causing higher cell death rates can lead to cancer) or high cholesterol (due to increase in hormones therefore cannot be detoxed quickly enough). You want to know this, so you can start on your health journey right and make the right decisions for your health needs. This may include a more balanced lifestyle, better diet and regular exercise.
7. Don’t worry I’m taking the pill to help PCOS
Mmmmmmm sorry, no this won’t do. The contraceptive pill has been linked to insulin resistance and now they are searching in to it being linked to cysts in the ovaries. Isn’t that just crazy? THIS COULD BE A CONTRIBUTING FACTOR TO PCOS. Doctors will hand out the pill to young woman to get their cycles on track (if it's irregular) but it’s like a small band aid for a deep cut wound. It won't health or solve the issue. You have more issues later on when you come off the pill than you would if you were to go and seek help. So look for other alternative and get smart about how you can have a proper cycle by nourishing yourself in a healthier way.
8. If you have PCOS you will know for sure you have it!
Some woman have PCOS and they will never know it. They may not have weight issues, get regular cycles, don’t have acne or facial hair issues. But it is only when they are trying to fall pregnant they can’t and get blood tests showing an increase in androgen hormones and do an ultrasound showing cysts on their ovaries. This sounds scary but it’s just what happens especially with so many contributing factors in our modern society. The good thing though, woman who usually don’t know are the ones that are more likely to be stress free and still fall pregnant without ever knowing they have PCOS! Stress is such a big cause of infertility, so try to keep calm as a cucumber - you are better off for that.
9. You can lose weight like anyone else when you have PCOS
Unfortunately ladies this is so false! Women who do get weight gain from PCOS is purely because their insulin levels are being effected more so due to their higher androgen levels. In this case, you can’t work out 2 times a day, eat nothing or even eat things people say is a well balanced diet. Anything that spikes your blood sugar will spike insulin therefore can spike hormone production, these things include; sugars, processed carbohydrates and xenoestrogens (plastics from containers when you heat up your food). I would strongly urge you to make sure you are getting a wholesome diet that involves proteins, lots of vegetables and healthy fats with small amount of healthy carbohydrates (they are still very important for your glucose in the body) such as; sweet potato, pumpkin and carrot.
10. PCOS is the end of the world.
Ladies, it is not the end of the world. If you let it consume you, it’s only going to stress you out and make things worse. Get smart about it and learn what levels or what conditions you have that are relating to PCOS. You can create change and balance within the body if you invest in yourself. This will just push you to learn about your body and your health so enjoy the process and feel yourself feeling better along the way!
To recap here is the ten myths debunked below - save if you need to refer back to this!
Email me if you have any questions! Lots of love,