Sasha Pieterse bravely revealed her PCOS diagnosis with the world on ‘Dancing With The Stars’, but not everyone is familiar with the disorder. Here’s what you need to know.
1.) PCOS, which is short for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, is much more common than you might expect. Believe it or not, PCOS affects at least one in every ten women, according to WomensHealth.gov. That may not seem like a lot, but here’s another statistic for you: anywhere from 8% to 20% of women all over the world have PCOS, according to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Sadly, these numbers are not correct because so many women suffer from the disorder and don’t even know it. It’s likely they don’t know it because of things like lack of access to health care or an incorrect diagnosis. You can read about my personal struggle with PCOS here.
2.) What is PCOS? Well, in short it’s a hormonal disorder — but there’s a lot more to it than that. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a hormonal imbalance in women of child bearing age, which can range from early teenage years to mid-40’s. With PCOS, a woman’s estrogen and progesterone levels are imbalanced. This can lead to the growth of cysts inside the ovaries, as well as irregular periods, irregular hair growth, weight gain, cardiac trouble and many other health issues. PCOS affects each woman differently, which makes it difficult to diagnosis. Sadly it is often misdiagnosed as a thyroid issue.
3.) What causes PCOS? Unfortunately there is no direct cause currently associated with PCOS. According to Healthline.com, doctors believe a hormonal imbalance and genetics are the primary cause, though it has yet to be pinpointed. It is also believed that overproduction of the androgen hormone (a male sex hormone) could be a cause, though the cause for the overproduction is still unknown as well. There is still a lot of research to be done when it comes to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, which is why it is so great that Sasha Pieterse, 21, has opened up about her struggle. Hopefully this brings more awareness to the disorder.
4.) Symptoms for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome vary from woman to woman. Symptoms can begin as early as a woman’s first period, and include but are not limited to: irregular periods, weight gain, ovarian cysts, infertility, and irregular hair growth. Due to weight gain, symptoms for PCOS can become even more severe. Other health issues can occur due to PCOS, such as sleep apnea, diabetes and endometrial cancer, just to name a few.
5.) PCOS can cause infertility. As previously mentioned, infertility is one of many symptoms of PCOS. A woman with PCOS may struggle with conceiving due to lack of egg release. Some women may not release any eggs at all, while other women may only release eggs occasionally, making it very difficult to pregnant. Women with PCOS who are trying to conceive may need to work directly with their ob-gyn for proper treatment to improve their chances of getting pregnant.
Tell us, HollywoodLifers — Were YOU familiar with PCOS before now? Comment below, let us know.