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PCOS Myths & Facts: How to Avoid PCOS (Mis)Information Overload

PCOS Myths & Facts: How to Avoid PCOS (Mis)Information Overload

You can find endless information on health conditions in just one click. But how do you know what is accurate and relevant to you? Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) affects 1 in 10 women of childbearing age. If you’re part of the PCOS community or a supportive family member, it’s vital to learn how to separate the myths from the facts when it comes to managing PCOS.

Let’s start with a few tips so you’re better equipped to spot misinformation.

1. Keep your healthcare provider in the loop.

Between the internet, books, friends, and family, you have plenty of sources to seek answers to your burning questions. And if they’re questions about pop culture or the best substitute for mayonnaise in your recipe (Greek yogurt is great), those sources can probably help you out. But if you’re trying to figure out how to take control of your health and manage PCOS, make sure you start by consulting a trusted healthcare provider – they have your full medical history and are best suited to give you personalized advice on your health journey.

2. Check for credibility.

If you’re taking your questions to the internet, make sure you only trust information from reliable sources. Take everything else with a grain of salt. Visit websites managed by nationally recognized health organizations or government agencies, like the Office of Women’s Health, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For other content, look for the “About” page or author information so that you are clear on the background and credentials of the people who are offering advice.

3. Be aware of common myths.

When it comes to how PCOS develops and its relationship to fertility, weight, and chronic disease, there is a lot of misinformation. Having a basic understanding of the facts can help you and your family make the decisions that are right for you.

It’s time to bust these top PCOS myths.

PCOS Myth #1

Only overweight women get PCOS.

All women can develop PCOS regardless of size. Scientists aren’t completely sure what causes PCOS, but the symptoms (irregular periods, acne, excess body or facial hair, multiple cysts on the ovaries) generally stem from a hormone imbalance and difficulty using insulin effectively. For example, women with PCOS may have higher levels of androgens (male hormones) than women who do not have PCOS. While these different hormone levels and trouble using insulin properly can contribute to weight gain, women of all shapes and sizes can find themselves with a PCOS diagnosis. Following a healthy eating plan and being active is important for all women when managing PCOS and preventing other chronic diseases. The PCOS Nutrition Center offers specific guidance and resources for women with PCOS.

PCOS Myth #2

You can’t get pregnant if you have PCOS.

Although it may take a little longer for women with PCOS to become pregnant, it’s not impossible. Women with PCOS can have healthy, successful pregnancies – the key is to focus on your fertility early. Talk with your doctor about ways you can manage PCOS to achieve healthy hormone levels, ovarian function, and eventually pregnancy.

PCOS Myth #3

If you have PCOS, you will get type 2 diabetes.

Very few things in life are definite, but you can’t ignore the increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes if you have PCOS. According to the CDC, more than half of women with PCOS develop type 2 diabetes by age 40. The majority of women with PCOS are resistant to the hormone insulin (helps the body regulate blood sugar), which can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, but it doesn’t mean the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes is imminent. Regular care from your healthcare team, combined with healthy eating, physical activity, and even more important, stress management and regular sleep habits, can help keep your body at its healthiest.

PCOS Myth #4

All women with PCOS have the same story.

This is probably the most important myth to bust. Social sharing sites are filled with stories from women with PCOS and their family members. While social support is essential for everyone, not all women with PCOS have had the same experience, and some things that help others manage their PCOS may not work for you. The only story that should matter to you is your own. Be your best advocate, ask questions, and ask for help when you need it. And if you feel alone, seek support from organizations like The National Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Association, who recognizes September as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Awareness Month each year.

For more information, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @Theralogix!



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