5 myths about PCOS uncovered
Just when you think you know it all, our bodies tell us something different.
DR NAT KRINGOUDIS shares her insight into debunking certain PCOS myths. How many of these may affect you?
I firmly believe that pretty much all of the information we have been fed regarding PCOS isn’t totally true. Many of the traditional treatments are harming women.
The problem lies in sufferers being uninformed and perhaps making decisions based on a lack of education and sometimes out of fear because we are too afraid to ask health professionals or look like we are rocking the boat.
Once you begin to understand your body on a deeper level, you begin to remove the fear and prepare yourself so if you do have questions, you can get the answers you need. Because no two women are the same, why would we use the exact same treatment methods?
Myth #1: You ovulate on cycle day 14
Maybe you do, but maybe you don’t. It’s ridiculous to think that we all have exactly the same body function, on exactly the same day, every month. Ovulation can be affected by weight loss, weight gain, poor diet, medication, hormone imbalance and, most of all, stress, among other factors. These things can push ovulation way out, meaning you will potentially ovulate later in your cycle.
Myth #2: If I have PCOS, I can’t fall pregnant
This is the biggest myth of all. PCOS doesn’t mean you can’t fall pregnant; it means you need to better understand how to detect ovulation. What we need to get clear on is that women with PCOS most often attempt multiple times to ovulate in the one cycle – and most importantly, the last ‘try’ or attempt at ovulation will always result in ovulation. This is key for these women, especially those trying for a baby.
Myth #3: I get my period but I’m not ovulating
This is physically impossible. If you are truly ovulating, it must absolutely be followed with a period one-to-two weeks later. The confusion here lies around when you actually ovulate. Your GP may perform an ovulation test to check – a blood test done on cycle day 21 to see what your hormone levels are saying. Here’s the problem: you may actually be ovulating after cycle day 21, meaning your test is going to come back negative. Your GP may then tell you you’re not ovulating and understandably you’re going to need one big box of tissues with this seemingly unfortunate news. Know this – it’s just a symptom of hormone imbalance and completely treatable.
Myth #4: When I see a lot of fertile mucus, I’m ovulating
Oh no you don’t! Fertile mucus means you are ‘potentially’ fertile. If you’re trying for a baby, this thinking can be a disaster. Timing sex to that one day can mean you miss the boat entirely. You see, it’s not the day we see the most amount of fertile mucus (characteristically clear/egg white consistency), it’s the last day we recognise this mucus. If the mucus lasts for four-to-five days, this can be key for timing. This equally doubles for natural contraception (couple it with withdrawal and you’re about 96 per cent covered) – if you know exactly when your body is fertile, avoiding unprotected sex is key.
Myth #5: Ovulation should be marked by pain
Hells no! Pain at ovulation typically indicates hormone imbalance. Just like the period, ovulation should be symptom free. Pain, heaviness, irritability, anxiety, emotional upset and headaches are the key indicators. Symptoms of fertile mucus should always be your primary sign of ovulation. Over time (and due to the Pill) we’ve somewhat disconnected from the signs and symptoms our bodies show us each month as clues to the bigger picture. It’s time we got back to basics and understood what’s being communicated to better educate ourselves about…ourselves.
Want to learn more about endometriosis and PCOS? Check out The Vajayjay Diaries entry series here.