What is PCOS: Addressing Misconceptions

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what is PCOS

Srabani, a 27 year old plump lady enters my chamber, almost gasping, “Doctor, I’ve a cyst.”

Sometimes, mischief takes over me; sometimes I speak casually to ease the patient’s anxiety. Here both worked. “Where do you have a cyst? On your head or…”

She looked perplexed, “Why doctor? I thought cysts appear in the ovary.”

— “Yes, they may appear in ovaries, and elsewhere as well. Sebaceous cysts appear on the head, face, etc. Cysts may occur in the liver, kidney and in many other parts of the body.”

— “I have a cyst in my ovary.”

— “Again, there are many types of cysts in ovary, dermoid cyst, cystadenoma, chocolate cyst, and others.” I have found that this is the best way to make one aware of his/her misconceptions. Another such misconception is ‘GAS’. I have come across many patients having ‘GAS’ which was actually Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction).

— “But Doctor, UltraSound says so.”

— “Listen, any liquid filled structure like a water filled balloon is called a cyst, now tell me what problems are you facing?”

— “I want to have a baby, and I have some type of cyst in my ovary. My friend Seema has PCOS and she says she won’t have a baby normally.”

— “You needn’t worry, first let me understand what problems you have, may be PCO or PCOS as you say, or other factors hindering your conception.”

— “That means PCO and PCOS are different?”

— “Yes, those are, and please tell your friend Seema that she may conceive without IVF (In vitro Fertilization) even if she is suffering from PCO or PCOS, if other parameters are alright.”

This dialogue is very common nowadays. Misconceptions are rampant. A normal adult lady expels one egg (ovum) each month from a fluid filled sac. It enters the Fallopian Tube, one on each side of the uterus. If sexual intercourse takes place, then pregnancy may set in. Ovary produces Estrogen hormone before and Progesterone Hormone after ovulation. The duet of these two hormones results in menstruation if she is not pregnant. If the egg is not discharged every month, then they remain in the body giving rise to Poly (many) Cystic Ovary. As ovulation does not happen, there is no progesterone, only estrogen plays solo and menstruation may not occur.

— “Yes doctor, sometimes I do not bleed for months.”

— “And you may have excessive hair on your face and chest and acne.”

— “Yes Seema has that, can she conceive?”

— “I cannot say that as I do not know about her, there may be other reasons for her infertility.”

Actually, in these patients, there is excess of male hormones, leading to hairy faces and problems in menstruation. Moreover, as the egg is not liberated, she cannot conceive. 

— “If you have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and if you do not take proper care, then in future many other diseases may set in apart from diabetes.”

— “Oh! Is it so? You said Syndrome, What is it? “

Syndrome is a set of symptoms (subjective evidence of a disease) or conditions that occur together and suggest the presence of a certain disease or an increased chance of developing the disease. Truly speaking, the exact cause of PCOS is not known at present, but there are some speculations. Factors likely are Heredity, Insulin Hormone Resistance and Obesity. 

— “So, what should one do who has PCOS?

— “She should reduce her body weight by taking a balanced diet, avoid junk food, go for brisk walking for at least 20 minutes a day, and do aerobic exercises. In addition, she should listen to her doctor and religiously follow his advice.”

— “So, you are suggesting that I shouldn’t panic even if I have PCOS?”

— “Definitely not. Follow a healthy lifestyle, enjoy yourself, listen to your doctor and all is yours.”

Image courtesy: Pexels

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23 Responses

  1. By reading the above I can say that this approach of rectifying the misconceptions is commendable. This will definitely help common people to be aware of their problems as well as encourage them seek appropriate professional guidance.

  2. Yes, a misconception is explained in a clear & simpl way. Even it’s clearly understandable to layman like us. Your method of telling a tale is unique. Waiting for more inputs. We will be benifitted. Thanks.

      1. Nowadays PCOS is a common health issue among women.In many cases it may be cured with changing lifestyle and proper guidance. But many people are unaware about this and carrying misconcepts about its cause and treatment. Misconceptions of PCOS are clearly explained in this article in a simple way which is very helpful to form a primary transparent idea about PCOS. Thanks for this easy, simple explanation.

  3. Greatly explained…. Very good message for the Confused young girls…. Correct knowledge decreases fear.

  4. A very well written concise explainer for the average literate person who is not well versed in this area of extremely common discussion. May I also humbly suggest that Dr AKG also writes similar pieces in Bengali so that a much larger no of Bengali readers benefit from his efforts.
    I am pretty confident similar pieces on other health aspects will also keep coming from the good doctor.

  5. A very well written, concise awareness piece in a much needed area. As I myself realised, there are misconceptions galore about these things. Dr AKG deserves kudos for his efforts. I do not have the slightest doubt that similar pieces will come up on other health aspects for the benefit of lay persons like me.
    One suggestion though. If such pieces are also published in Bengali it will certainly fill a much greater need amongst the ordinary people who aren’t conversant in English.

    1. Thank you Swapan for your nice words. I am humbled. I shall try to keep upto your expectations.

  6. Nowadays PCOS is a common health issue among women. In many cases it may be cured with changing lifestyle and proper guidance. But many people are unaware about this and carrying misconcepts about its cause and treatment. Misconceptions of PCOS are clearly explained in this article in a simple way which is very helpful to form a primary transparent idea about PCOS. Thanks for this easy simple explanation.

  7. A complicated matter is explained so simple way that many common people will be benifitted from your guidelines

  8. Dear Sir, It is a simple and beautiful understanding for us. Sometimes our family members are also suffer this type of situation and most of us do not have clear understanding. This will help us to understand the problem as well as encourage for appropriate professional guidance.

      1. It was nice to hear from you. You were one of the most dedicated students under my guidance.

  9. Sir , namaskar , great concept share the general people . remembered Friday night at Sambhunath pandit Hospital

  10. Thank you Dr. Parimal. You were one of the best students under my guidance. Prosper further.

  11. Firstly, misconceptions on this topic is cleared well; comprehensively and simply.

    I like the conversation/question-answer mode which makes it an interesting read and helps the audience in identifying themselves or their associates.

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