PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) is a very common condition that affects how a women’s ovaries work.

The three main symptoms of PCOS are:

1. Irregular periods
2. Excess androgen - high levels of male hormones.
3. Polycystic ovaries - your ovaries become enlarged and contain small follicles that surround the eggs. 

Symptoms can be managed and controlled by following a healthy lifestyle through food and physical activity. 

When you’re diagnosed with PCOS, through a number of tests and an ultrasound, the first piece of information you are told is that it may cause problems with fertility (speaking from personal experience).

Being Asian, you go home, tell your parents and all hell breaks loose! ‘Who will marry you now? Your future is ruined!’ are some of the common phrases that I can imagine a traditional Indian/Pakistani mother will recite to you on a weekly basis. 

The truth is, it’s not true. This article is inspired by hundreds of Asian women that have spoken to me about their fears of not being able to have children in the future.  

PCOS causes a number of symptoms, some people have symptoms, and some people don’t. Infertility is often a worst case scenario, the majority of women conceive naturally or with some help (tablets/fertility treatment).

I know many women that have had children and have PCOS, don’t panic.

The main problem with being diagnosed is that there is a lack of understanding surrounding the syndrome, you’re told the worst case scenario by your practitioner and are sent away with a leaflet that again, emphasises the worst case scenarios. 

Here are the 10 biggest myths about PCOS 
1. You have cysts on your ovaries 
Tiny immature follicles surround the ovaries, appearing like a strand of pearls on an ultrasound, you don’t actually have cysts on your ovaries. 

2. You can’t have children
The majority of women with PCOS conceive on their own or with the help of some fertility treatment. Diet and lifestyle changes are the primary treatment for PCOS and following this along with regular physical exercise will greatly help. 

3. It is impossible to lose weight with PCOS
I’m living proof that this isn’t true! Granted, it may be slightly more of a challenge than someone without PCOS. If you’re eating a balanced diet and exercising and you’re still not managing to shift those pounds, change your workouts, add in some resistance training and KEEP ON GOING! For more on this, follow @rosiegetsfit_ on Instagram. 

4. You must take medication 
Incorrect, I was never even offered medication! Metaformin is widely prescribed to women with PCOS but it can cause unpleasant side effects. Speak to your doctor about alternatives such as nutritional supplements. 

5. Birth control pills are the only way to regulate periods
Again, incorrect! It is possible to restore regular menstrual cycle with fat loss: a balanced diet and exercise. However, birth control can help with acne which is another symptom of PCOS. 

6. Everyone with PCOS is obese of overweight
Although it is more common to be overweight or obese, lean PCOS women do exist…. Victoria Beckham comes to mind! Insulin resistance is thought to be the underlying cause of most cases of PCOS but there is much speculation as to whether or not thinner women with PCOS suffer from the same degree of insulin resistance than their heavier counterparts. 

7. If you lose weight, you can get rid of PCOS
There is no cure for PCOS but you can help balance your hormones and almost ‘reverse’ symptoms by losing body fat: making lifestyle changes such as sensible eating and regular physical exercise. This will improve the way your body uses insulin. 

8. You did something to cause it
The exact cause is unknown but one thing is for sure, you’re not to blame! Several factors, including genetics, are widely believed to play a role. 

9. PCOS is a rare condition
PCOS is one of the most common conditions amongst women of childbearing age. 1 in every 10 women (approx.)  have PCOS. 

And finally…
10. If you have irregular periods, you have PCOS
There are so many cause of irregular periods and PCOS is only one of them. Speak to your doctor and don’t assume!

Other PCOS symptoms include: excessive hair growth, thinning hair, hair loss, oily skin and acne. PCOS MAY increase your chances of developing health problems in the future such as diabetes, depression, mood swings, anxiety, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and sleep apnoea. Leading a healthy lifestyle can prevent and reduce symptoms greatly. Speak to your doctor if you think you may have PCOS. 

For more, follow @rosiegetsfit_ on Instagram