PCOS Awareness Month: We're Celebrating Women With PCOS
It’s PCOS awareness month and I know it can feel like there is a day or a month for everything but this particular awareness month is very near and dear to S’moo. S’moo was created to help women with PCOS and it has been doing a great job. Still, 50% of women are living with PCOS undiagnosed. Which is why PCOS awareness month is so important. The aim of PCOS Awareness Month is to help improve the lives of those affected by PCOS and to help them overcome their symptoms. SO LETS GET STARTED!
Keep in mind that PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) is different for every woman! What’s important is that you read as much as possible and make the best choices based on what is happening to your body!
What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (pcos) is a serious genetic, hormone, metabolic and reproductive disorder that affects women. This hormonal disorder causes a variety of symptoms and isn’t fully understood. However it is believed that it could be caused from a combination of genetic and lifestyle habits.
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Missed periods
- Weight gain
- Acne or oily skin
- Male-pattern baldness
- Hair Growth (Hirsutism)
- Thinning hair or hair loss
- Difficulty losing weight
- Ovarian cysts
PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) can also lead to depression, anxiety, eating disorders, endometrial cancer, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, miscarriage and more. You can get all the details here.
1- PCOS is treatable:
Part of PCOS Awareness Month is letting women know that they don't have to live with this condition and it doesn't need to hold you back. PCOS is completely treatable with a healthy lifestyle and diet. HOWEVER, no matter what PCOS symptoms you have, if you're trying to balance your hormones naturally (even if you are eating a whole-foods based diet that contains ample vegetables, fruits, and proteins) you're most likely still deficient in certain nutrients. Which is why including supplements in your diet, can be essential.
2- Common Myths about PCOS:
Not overweight? Not all women with PCOS are overweight, and this misconception can delay diagnosis and proper treatment. There are a lot of myths about PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) that keep women from seeking help. Things like “everyone with PCOS is obese or overweight” is FALSE or myths about what you can and can’t do if you have PCOS. For example: “you can’t get pregnant if you have PCOS” also FALSE. Check out these common Myths here.
3- What else is causing PCOS?
The exact cause of PCOS is not clear but experts think there are several factors involved besides genetics.
- A very small amount of androgens (male hormones) are produced in all women. However, women with PCOS experiencing male traits such as male-pattern baldness and hirsutism have high levels of androgens being produced in their body. This high level of androgens can also cause fertility problems because those high levels of androgens are preventing the ovaries from releasing an egg when you're ovulating.
- Insulin is a hormone that controls how your food becomes energy. Women with PCOS aren't responding to insulin normally and this causes insulin resistance. Many women with PCOS who are experiencing weight gain or are overweight, are dealing with insulin resistance. Without lifestyle and diet changes this can lead to type 2 diabetes.
How is PCOS diagnosed?
There isn't an easy way to being diagnosed for PCOS. Often PCOS is based on your medical history and a physical exam paired with a few different tests.
1- Physical exam
If you're going in to find out if you have POCS, your doctor will measure your blood pressure, your body mass index and waist size. They will also be looking for excess hair on your face, neck, chest or back.
2- Pelvic exam
Women with PCOS often have extra male hormones, this can causes things like an enlarged clitoris or swollen/enlarged ovaries. A pelvic exam can help a doctor see if you have symptoms that show signs of excess hormones.
3- Pelvic ultrasound (sonogram)
Your doctor will use an ultrasound to check for cysts, all women with PCOS don't have cysts but it is more common.
4- Blood tests
Women with PCOS often have higher levels of androgen hormones so a blood test can reveal this. Normally your doctor will also check for other hormone related health problems that can be mistaken for PCOS.
Your doctor will decide if you have PCOS depending on the results of the above tests and your symptoms such as irregular periods, extra hair growth (on your face, chin, and body which is called hirsutism), acne, or thinning of scalp hair.
PCOS awareness month is important because you shouldn't feel alone when you're going through this. 1 in 10 women have PCOS and you might know someone experiencing it who you can help. There are also groups like the S'moo Babe's Private Facebook group that is full of women helping women as they connect over similar experiences and find solutions together.
PCOS is something we can get through together and it isn't a life sentence. The S'moo babes are here to help. Spread awareness about PCOS not only during PCOS awareness month but always.
You’re not alone, check out these other resources.