PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) previously known as PCOD (Polycystic Ovarian Disease) is caused when follicular cysts develop in the ovary due to hormonal imbalances. It is usually marked by high levels of male hormones, acne, weight gain, hair fall, reduced response to insulin etc.
A dear friend of mine has recently been diagnosed with PCOS. Her gynecologist has given her medicines for regulating her menstrual cycle. She has been told that conceiving might be a little difficult for her in future.
However, what my friend is worried about is her growing acne, hair fall and gaining weight. Conceiving is not an issue for her.
This is the situation with most of the millennial girls suffering from PCOS.
Reproductive health and normal menstrual cycles are considered to be an essential part of a woman’s femininity. This has given society a reason to make PCOS a sever disease with deep repercussions.
On the flip side it is a lifestyle disorder like diabetics which with a little care, can make a person go a long way.
The risk of some diseases do increase but right diet, exercising and a good mental health can keep those diseases at bay. And as a fact, a normal healthy person also needs to take similar steps to have a healthy life.
PCOS was first described by American gynaecologists Irving Stein and Michael Leventhal. Back then it was considered a rare disorder. Now, in east India 25.88% and in north India 18.62% women are affected by PCOS (The Hindu, 2016).
Reproductive state is given more attention than any other thing
Gynecologists have categorized women’s pelvis in a manner such that reproduction formed the focal point of medical classifications of pelvic types. What if a woman does not want to bear a child rather she wants to be an athlete?
Gynaecologists are sometimes viewed as “Guardians of family”. They often advise women with PCOS to get married as soon as possible, this will let them have kids before “it’s too late”. While this holds true for women desirous of bearing children, presently, as more and more women delay their first childbirth, the focus is slowly shifting from a purely “fertility preserving” treatment to a more holistic approach.
The treatment of PCOS usually revolves around storing the fertility of women and less attention is paid to the other effects it has on mental, physical and sexual health.
Reproductive state has been the basis of normality for women.
Sexual dysfunction has been a major problem among women suffering from PCOS. Sexual dysfunction prevents a couple from experiencing satisfaction from sexual activity resulting from physical, social and psychological factors.
“The frequency of sexual dysfunction was verified to be 57.7% in PCOS patients with the domains of desire and arousal being commonly affected in 99.2% and 98.5% of cases respectively.” (Tehran University of Medical Sciences)
Sexual dysfunction has been given very less importance. It can be more important for some women than the matter of reproduction.
Women with PCOS are at odds with what is narrowly defined as beauty. They have more acne and more melanin production with other skin and weight issues.
These women might be able to deal better with physical and sexual problems if they don’t have to fight daily to deal with societal understanding of beauty.
Women with PCOS have often been seen as someone losing their femininity because of reduced menstruation and high level of male hormones.
Such an understanding invokes a feeling in women that a part of their womanhood is being taken away. This has huge implications on her mental health as her identity is being questioned.
Rather, she should be told that this is not a disease where life and death is being questioned. On the flip side, it is a lifestyle disorder which with a little change towards a healthy lifestyle can make the situation a lot better.
So, if you are suffering from PCOS, it is essential for you to adopt a healthy lifestyle along with prescribed medication and do not stress about beauty rules and reproduction.
In the age of Photoshop and models with clean and fair face and slim bodies, it might be difficult to adjust but think beyond these physical aspects.
Over thinking about PCOS and its implication on your womanhood would be no good as these are all social constructs and less important, a good mental and physical health is more essential.
You have to just treat your body in the right way and do not let societal standard of womanhood get in your way towards a healthy lifestyle.
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