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Gynaecologist busts some common PCOS myths.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) has become one of the most common hormonal problems in women today. Recent data shows that at least three out of 10 women are diagnosed with it, and six out of 10 diagnosed women are teenagers, said Dr Vaishali Joshi, senior obstetrician and gynaecologist at Kokilaben Ambani Hospital.

“PCOS is a lifestyle disease which involves problems like irregular periods, scanty menstrual flow, acne, excess body hair, weight gain, darkening of skin, along with Polycystic bulky ovaries (PCOD) on sonography and hormonal imbalance including high insulin resistance and excess of male hormones,” she said. “Many young women get wrongly diagnosed as PCOD instead of PCOS as some symptoms are similar. As such, there are also a lot of myths and facts around PCOS,” she added.

*PCOS happens only in young women in early twenties or thirties: PCOS can happen any time from the age of 18 till the peri-menopause age.

*All women showing with PCOS have PCOD: Polycystic ovaries can be found in 20 per cent of healthy women. At the same time, all women with PCOS do not necessarily have PCOD ovaries on sonography.

*PCOD ovaries give abdominal pain: PCOD ovaries are small (<10mm) size water bubbles (cysts) and are arranged at the periphery of the ovary in a pattern of pearl necklace. They do not give any pain or discomfort. The ovarian cysts which give rise to pain are at least three cm or more in size, which are not found in PCOD.

*Irregular periods and scanty period flow causes weight gain and PCOS: Culturally, menstruation has been considered as a process where unhealthy blood is thrown out of the women’s body. The skipping of periods or decreased flow is believed to prevent this process and leads to the accumulation of fat and obesity. Unfortunately, it is the other way round. The weight gain gives rise to hormonal imbalance and hence irregularity of the periods and development of PCOS, said Dr Joshi.


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