Are you wondering what the teal ribbons are for? Well, September is PCOS Awareness month. What is PCOS? PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and it effects somewhere between 1 in 10 and 1 in 20 women, according to the office on women’s health at the US department of Health and Human services. PCOS is pretty common, and it’s often a cause of infertility. Also, it can cause painful cysts to form on the ovaries, weight gain, pelvic pain, depression, anxiety and acne. It can also cause infrequent periods.
Women who have PCOS can suffer from infertility because of several reasons. Firstly, these women can make cysts in the ovaries instead of ovulating properly. So, if there is no egg released, then, of course, it’s impossible to get pregnant. PCOS can also mean there is unpredictable ovulation. Timing intercourse, so that there is sperm in the fallopian tubes ready and waiting for the egg, is important when trying to get pregnant. If one can’t predict when ovulation is going to happen, then it’s very difficult to time intercourse properly, so that there is sperm already present and ready to fertilize the egg. Ovulation can be incredibly unpredictable; several months can pass between ovulations, if there are any at all. And menstrual periods can be very few, as few as one or two a year, or less, depending upon the woman. Severity of symptoms will vary by case, but unpredictably long cycles are very common for women with PCOS.
Those cysts that can occur not only mean a lack of ovulation, but they can feel very heavy and painful in the abdomen. They also have the potential to burst, and it can be not only severely painful, but also life threatening. This can happen even from moderate activity, such as moderate exercise. Existing cysts can create androgens in the body, which will work to create unwanted symptoms, such as extra mustache-like facial hair growth and unusual weight gain. Extra androgens can also make future ovulation more difficult, creating a terrible cycle of pain and dysfunction. So, while PCOS is definitely a concern for women trying to conceive, the management of PCOS is important throughout a woman's reproductive lifetime.