Signs You Might Have PCOS And How to Overcome Them
-There is a movement to change the name of PCOS from polycystic ovary syndrome as many women with the syndrome do not have polycystic ovaries at all.
- PCOS is the most common hormonal disorder in women of reproductive age and affects more than 116 million women worldwide.
Signs you have PCOS
You're sitting with a group of your friends, talking about everything under the sun and then you're suddenly talking about your period pain and cycles. Someone talks about how their PCOS showed up when at 15, they took an ultrasound due to sudden pimples and weight fluctuations, and someone else talks about how they too thought it was PCOS, but it was hyperandrogenism. Now you're sitting there wondering if your irregular period is just a minor dalliance in your otherwise in sync cycle, or if there's a larger issue at hand.
Let's be honest. There is a LOT of information out there. You google one symptom, and you jump into a very, very dark hole. But that being said, information is key. How do you treat something you didn't know existed in the first place? The same goes for PCOS.
The diagnostic criteria introduced by the Rotterdam consensus for PCOS state that a woman has PCOS if she has at least 2 of the following 3 criteria:-
- Polycystic ovaries
Don't let the terms overwhelm you. We're breaking down each symptom so that you can tackle PCOS head-on!
What is it?
Anovulation means "lack of ovulation" and occurs when you have fewer than ten menstrual cycles a year.
This doesn't just mean irregular periods, as we're often led to believe. Anovulation is also seen when your menstrual cycle may be longer than the average 28 days. Thus, even if you have regular periods, a longer cycle, or more painful periods may be an alarm for concern.
Why does it occur?
Due to the increased levels of male hormones, the outer layer of your ovaries thickens, and a mature follicle cannot break it to release the egg. The lack of oestrogen also causes your endometrium to mature slower than usual, making your cycles longer.
What is it?
This means that there are higher male hormones like testosterone, DHEA, and androstenedione. These hormones play a huge factor in causing male sexual characteristics like increased hair growth or hair loss patterns.
What are the symptoms of hyperandrogenism?
The main symptoms can be excessive hair in spots like your chin, upper arm or thighs, acne, particularly on your jawline, and hair loss. A blood test will help you get a diagnosis.
What is it?
On getting an ultrasound, you can check for polycystic ovaries. They are typically twelve or more follicles, ranging from 2 to 9 millimetres in a single ovary or ovarian volume larger than ten centimetres in a single ovary.
Can I have cysts in my ovaries but not have PCOS?
Yes! Contrary to belief, not all kinds of cysts in your ovaries lead to PCOS. PCOS cysts are not even true cysts at all! Mind blown? We get it! As we said, knowledge is power here.
The actual reason women with PCOS have so many follicles during their ultrasound is due to the higher level of insulin and testosterone that makes the follicles accumulate in the ovaries rather than go through ovulation.
Time and again, our bodies give us signs that something is amiss. We write them off as our bodies just acting up. "Oh, maybe it was because of all the unhealthy food I ate last week" or "Maybe it's just post-covid-hairfall". But maybe take a step back and access the signs your body is giving you.
What do I do if I face these symptoms?
Step 1 is going to your gynaecologist to get a proper diagnosis and get an in-depth analysis of the kind of PCOS you have (if detected).
Step 2 is to make lifestyle changes. It is imperative that you eat healthily, balance your weight and get regular exercise. Add herbal teas to your routine to use the power of herbs to calm pain, unwanted hair, anxiety, and weight management. PCOS programs specifically designed to cater to your body can drastically help manage PCOS. They provide a holistic solution and understand that one size doesn’t fit all, especially when it comes to managing PCOS.
Step 3 is to be consistent. Quick fixes may seem like a boon, but at the end of the day, we must be kind to our bodies. We must give it time to adapt, and for this, consistency is key. Slower results do not mean failure.