FIGHT PCOS INITIATIVE, Blog by Dr.Supriya Tiwari is an attempt to bring more awareness about this debilitating condition to help women and improve the quality of lives among young female population. Our mission is to create awareness and be a part of revolution aimed at reducing health burden among female population.
PCOS is hard but it’s even harder to see young girls struggling with it from very early on in life. One of the biggest reason why I feel so passionately about creating PCOS awareness is this – given the true epidemic that PCOS has become, I cannot imagine another generation struggling with PCOS like we do. We need to make our daughters, younger siblings, sisters, friends aware of this debilitating condition so they are better informed, better prepared and our future is much better and brighter than what it is today.
Here are 5 things you need to know if you are diagnosed with PCOS at an early age :
1. Start early – Habits like an active lifestyle, moving around as much as possible can feel like a compulsion for us because we grew up hating exercise. Why can’t it be as normal as brushing your teeth? When exercising will feel normal, it will no more be a compulsion but a part of your daily routine, say like sleeping because that’s important for your physical, mental and social well-being just like working out is.
2. Forget Deprivation – Don’t deprive yourself of joys of life. You have a long way to go on this journey. It’s no crime to indulge in your favorite food every once in a while. You can definitely go ahead and have that piece of cake but remember to ‘move around’. Get active, run to your gym, take stairs. DO NOT DEPRIVE. Period.
3. Educate yourself – and those around you, PCOS can be an extremely complex subject and to go through with it during your teens can definitely be confusing so the better informed you are, the better you will be able to handle it. There are so many great books out there and if not, you can always leave me a message regarding any query that you may have related to PCOS.
4. Talk about it – to your parents, friends, most importantly to your doctor. Ask questions, listen, learn. Many young girls often have the misconception about infertility, facial hair, and hormonal imbalances. It’s always better to open up about things that bother you and it’s important for parents too, to understand and be open about the subject of PCOS.
5. Nourish yourself – with good food, good company, and a supportive environment. You are young, your body will eventually change, there may be times you will have difficulty understanding why you feel the way you do, there may be many rainy days along the way so it is of utmost importance to build for yourself, a rock solid foundation that you can fall back on such days. Build your strength, eat proteins and nuts, nourish your soul.
PCOS is a struggle that we as women live with every single day but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way for our generations to come. We can create a better tomorrow for them, by inculcating some of the simplest of habits and by providing a safer space for them to grow.
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OCPs or oral contraceptive pills are one of the most common treatments given for PCOS but there is also a lot of unawareness and myth surrounding OCPs among women. Whether it is the side effects that scare you or ‘not knowing how it works’ part, it is an important aspect to be aware of and also, to know your different options.
So, let’s talk OCPs :
OCPs do not treat PCOS but it is one of the best bet available to us in medical science. If your symptoms are quite troublesome for example acne or facial hair or regularizing your cycle for that matter, OCPs can help you bring them under control but will not cure the root cause of it all. OCPs provide symptomatic relief and the symptoms are likely to come back once the treatment is withdrawn.
OCPs will not cause weight gain – It is a very common myth most of the women on OCPs have. Yes, it is a labeled side effect but only if OCPs are taken for a very long time. Most of the women with PCOS are put on OCPs for anywhere between 6 months to 2 years which is completely safe. Moreover, the OCPs we use in modern days are all low dose OCPs which will not lead to weight gain at all.
OCPs do not cause cancer – In fact, in long-term, OCPs will reduce your chance to develop uterine cancer in future as it protects the uterus from excessive estrogen exposure by inducing a monthly menstrual period.
OCPs may cause other side effects like nausea, bloating, irregular spotting, breast tenderness in some patients initially, hence it is important to talk to your doctor before starting the therapy. Also, mention of any other significant health problems that you may have so your doctor knows how safe it is for you to be started on OCPs.
Last but not the least OCPs are not your only resort, it is one of your options. The ultimate solution to control PCOS is to take care of your lifestyle choices, food habits, and managing your weight. Each one of us is unique and so it is left up to you to decide what works for you as I always say. Do not disregard OCPs as a result of unawareness. Try and find whether it works for you or not, talk to your doctor openly, watch for side effects and know that it takes time to get adjusted to OCPs.
If you have any further questions about OCPs, feel free to leave them down below in the comments. Also, let me know if this is a better way to learn or would you like for me to go back to my usual writing style? Anyway, let me know how you are all doing, it has been soooooo looooong!