We Should be Talking More About PCOS

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, nor does this article serve to be a self-diagnosing PCOS tool. It is merely written to create awareness.  

While we discuss sexual health and create awareness for sexual health, we often forget to create awareness for certain conditions that don’t have enough recognition but still affect numerous women. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects a woman’s hormone levels and can potentially arise during their reproductive age. There aren’t exact causes that could lead to one being diagnosed with PCOS, but possible symptoms can lead to a diagnosis.  

Signs and symptoms include:  

  • Irregular periods 

  • Excess androgen levels (male hormones) 

  • Enlarged ovaries or follicles that surround the egg 

  • Acne  

  • Hair loss 

  • Dark spots or darkening of the skin  

  • Weight gain  

The irregular periods result from improper ovulation since the ovaries could be enlarged and may collect a large number of follicles, which prevents monthly ovulation. It could lead to more painful periods following a missed period or simple inconsistencies throughout one’s cycle.  

It can be hard to assess if you have PCOS because it is a hormonal imbalance, and you might believe that it is normal to feel all kinds of things during your time of the month or could just associate it with stress. But it is essential to keep track of these signs if they occur more commonly than before, and if that is the case, it would be best to see a medical professional. Catching it earlier in your life, such as late teens or early adulthood, could benefit you later as you would know how to handle it.  

During our sexual health classes in high school or later on, PCOS was not widely taught nor given awareness. Therefore, if one is diagnosed and has no knowledge of it, it can be very overwhelming. It is essential to create awareness and spread information early on in our lives to help us understand it better when we’re older.  

According to the Canadian Women’s Health Network, it affects about 6-10% of women in Canada and cannot be fully visible until their early 20s. It is one of the most common causes of infertility, and knowing early can help women prepare for its repercussion since there is no cure for PCOS yet.  

If you are struggling with PCOS or feel that you might have it, visit www.pcosaa.org/ to find more resources to expand your knowledge and book a doctor’s appointment as soon as you can. Other ways to feel connected to others who are dealing with it are joining groups on social media where others can share their PCOS stories, so you recognize that you are not alone.  

Creating more awareness and helping organizations that already create awareness will only help other women dealing with it right now.