A Message from Our Founder
"Nag, nag, nag." A reader recently wrote to let me know she felt that my weekly "PCOS Tips" were all about nagging...me "telling people what to do". I had to stop and think about that. Is advice about embracing a lifestyle that addresses PCOS something that people don't want to hear? If so, what do people want to hear about? (If you have any suggestions, please send an email to email@example.com).
I'm not sure I agree with this reader, since 55% of the mail I receive is from people asking for advice on PCOS management (and another 35% are from people asking for doctor referrals). However, I decided to focus my comments this season on something a bit brighter, and distinctly lacking "advice."
Research on PCOS has been prolific over the past 5 years. We have been heard! Our collective efforts to cast light on this condition (not to mention the fact that it affects 5-10% of the female population) have resulted in new funding from both government and private sources. And even in this pharmaceutical-driven world of research, there are still studies being done on diet, exercise, and other non-medication-based treatment paths. I count these as several strides in the right direction.
That being said, it's not enough. The gospel of PCOS Awareness must continue to be shared, to drive attention to the fact that it is still being grossly under-diagnosed, as well as inappropriately treated in many, many cases. I still receive stories from many of you that highlight the "PCOS myths" that don't seem to be going away. I still hear of doctors advising patients "You can't possibly have PCOS because you have children", "You have PCOS therefore you can't ever have any children," "You can't have PCOS because you are not overweight," "It's no big deal – just take these birth control pills and come back and see me when you want to get pregnant," or most inappropriately "You have already had children, so there's no reason to treat PCOS."
It is vitally important for the front-line medical community (ob/gyns, internists and family practitioners) to understand that the reproductive aspects of PCOS are only a symptom of the deeper hormonal issues. Those underlying issues MUST be given attention, not just to treat reproductive issues, but to treat the many other problems that can arise if unaddressed (such as diabetes and heart disease). Not only that, when given attention, those underlying issues can be corrected in the majority of cases to achieve an excellent level of health. Treating symptoms only is not the answer. Treating the root cause is what is needed.
PCOSA is working to educate clinical physicians, especially to correct the "PCOS myths" that have no business persisting in the medical community. Please do your part. Let us know when you hear a "PCOS Myth" and help us to expand our educational efforts. We want to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.