– BY SAI SAILAJA SESHADRI –
I was scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook, when I came across an article about a principal at a college in India. The article on Huffington Post (Girls who dress like men start thinking like them…), talks about Swati Deshpande, principal of the Government Polytechnic College in Mumbai, who believes that the way women dress affects their reproductive health as well their as desire to have children.
‘As someone who has PCOS, I’m shocked by the sheer stupidity of this statement’
While this is absurd in all sorts of ways, saying that dressing in a masculine way makes a woman less likely to want kids, the part that irked me most was where she was quoted saying that women are more likely to develop Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) if they didn’t dress in a feminine manner. As someone who has PCOS, I’m shocked by the sheer stupidity of this statement. At the same time, it also makes me sad to realise how little people know about the reproductive disorder. So, as someone who is as girly as one can get, but still has PCOS, let’s talk about it a little bit.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a hormonal disorder found in women which is caused by small cysts formed on the ovaries. It isn’t something that can be cured, but it can be treated. In the United States, there are almost 200,000 cases of PCOS each year; it’s an issue that is very common, but definitely not talked about enough. While it’s still a mystery what exactly causes PCOS, one belief is that it’s a genetic disorder; a mother with PCOS is more likely to pass it on to her daughters.
‘PCOS is the leading cause of infertility’
While some people can have PCOS without realising it at all, often times, there are many symptoms. Contrary to the name of the disorder as well as the belief, not every woman with PCOS has cystic ovaries. However, some of the most-common side effects are high levels of testosterone, hirsutism (excessive body hair), increased acne, weight gain, irregular menstrual cycles, higher risk of heart disease and diabetes (the latter being a result of insulin resistance that is caused by PCOS), and last but not least, the main issue, infertility.
PCOS is the leading cause of infertility. Women with PCOS are unlikely to ovulate properly each month, unless they are put on a treatment. Often times, they are put on birth control pills in order to regulate menstrual cycles (and this is one of the main reasons why birth control is such an important necessity, but that’s a whole other story).
‘It’s important women learn about PCOS, get tested for it, and if necessary, get treatment’
There are a lot of things about PCOS that remain unknown, even to doctors, but it can be dangerous if not treated properly. It’s important that women learn about PCOS, that they get tested for it, and if necessary, get treatment. Not only does it affect pregnancy, but it can also lead to bigger things, such as an early death caused by high cholesterol or heart disease.
It’s time that we start talking about PCOS and raise awareness on top of it. More so, it’s time that we stop making ignorant comments about what causes PCOS, and instead start talking about how we can help women who have been diagnosed with it.
About the author
Online platform Women’s Republic was founded by Sai Sailaja Seshadri (1997). Sai lives in the USA. She is passionate about women’s rights and decided to start Women’s Republic after realizing that a bigger and more inclusive platform for women is necessary in the society we live in. You can find her on Instagram via @saisalu97. Make sure to follow Women’s Republic via Twitter or Instagram.
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