September is PCOS awareness month, a time to share information and knowledge about Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, a hormonal disorder that commonly affects women of reproductive age

As your daughter grows and her reproductive system develops, it is important to inform and arm her with the information she will need not only to understand her body but also for her to know when something is not right.

Here’s what you and your daughter both need to understand about PCOS.

You can’t self-diagnose PCOS

Although PCOS is a common hormonal disorder, it isn’t easy to diagnose because most of its symptoms are actually common for most women.

PhD candidate Tessa Copp from the University of Sydney says PCOS is sometimes overdiagnosed because of how common its symptoms are.

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“PCOS is a syndrome or a group of symptoms, so just one sign or symptom is not enough for a diagnosis,” says Tessa.

“Many young women have polycystic ovaries but don’t have PCOS.

“Symptoms are also on a spectrum of severity, with no clear line separating normal from abnormal.

“Women of different ethnicities, for example, have different amounts of facial and body hair,” she explains.

Discomfort during your period is normal, but excruciating pain is not

Menstruation can be uncomfortable; a certain degree of pain can be expected however extreme debilitating or sickening pain is a sign that something is wrong, even if it isn’t PCOS.

During the launch of their #BreakTheSilence 

campaign recently Walter Mbatha, 3Sixty Biomedicine’s CEO said: “30% of women suffer from often painful and debilitating heavy menstrual bleeding.”

The #BreakTheSilence campaign was geared towards breaking the social and cultural stigma around women’s reproductive health which can sometimes get in the way of women getting help or medical attention for issues like severe period pains.

You can still get pregnant even if you have PCOS

PCOS affects your reproductive system and sometimes causes you to miss your periods. According to Fertility Solutions, disrupted periods can affect your fertility.

“To get pregnant, you have to ovulate. Women who don’t ovulate regularly don’t release as many eggs to be fertilized. PCOS is one of the leading causes of infertility in women; however, women with PCOS can get pregnant using fertility treatments that improve ovulation,” they said.

“PCOS treatment starts with lifestyle changes like diet and exercise. Losing just 5 to 10% of your bodyweight if you’re overweight and lowering blood sugar levels can improve your odds of having a healthy pregnancy or it can help improve your symptoms,” they added.

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#BreakTheSilence campaign: Continuing the PCOS conversation on social media

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For more information about the 3Sixty Biomedicine hosted Facebook and Instagram live chats and other forums featuring health experts and #BreakTheSilence ambassadors, visit the Salome social media platforms.

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“While I was happily married and had a successful career, I still felt ashamed whenever anyone asked me when I was going to have a baby. It made me feel like a failure.

 

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.