There have been a lot blog posts and discussion surrounding mental health issues lately which is great, it's a wonderful thing that mental health issues are beginning to become a topic that people feel they are able to speak more openly about and not feel ashamed to do so. In light of this, I began to consider another illness that society almost scoots over and doesn't seem to have much recognition of at all, and that is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS. This is something that can have a considerable effect on women, and like most disorders can be a very uneasy matter of conversation.
Personally, I do not believe PCOS to be taken very seriously as a disorder and I feel this to be because, like mental health issues, often the symptoms go rather unnoticed and therefore people don't believe there is anything wrong with you. However, for some women (not all women) PCOS can affect them drastically, be that physically, mentally and emotionally; it can make life really difficult to live as a woman.
Apparently 1 in 10 women worldwide are dealing with PCOS, making this a rather common disorder. Which is surprising, considering this many women suffer with PCOS, you'd have thought it would be more frequently spoken of. For those of you who do not know, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a condition that causes to women develop very tiny cysts on their ovaries, sounds a bit strange right? Well unfortunately these cysts create a number of complications for the women that possess them. They cause an imbalance in female hormones meaning that women with PCOS tend to suffer with serious weight gain, excess hair all over their body and face, adult acne, severe hair loss, and infertility. Basically, it is not a very fun disorder to have, especially in this day and age where women are bombarded with images that define femininity as a slim, hairless, acne free body. Oh and the icing on the cake is... Women with PCOS are more likely to develop diabetes and endometrial cancer, oh and then the cherry on top of the icing is...There is no cure what's so ever.
I cannot speak for most women who suffer with PCOS as they may not have to deal with any of these symptoms as that is possible, for instance not all women will possess cysts on their ovaries (I do not). Fortunately, although having been diagnosed, I only suffer from having not so great skin, which does affect my state of mind quite regularly. So, I cannot even being to imagine what some women feel like when dealing with the difficulties of this.
Sadly, like a number of conditions, the thing that people tend to forget is that because a disorder isn't a matter of life or death it doesn't mean it isn't serious. PCOS is a silent disorder because it affects women mentally not just physically. All the symptoms that I have previously mentioned are enough to damage a woman's mind set completely, women don't want to have to deal with excess hair on their face that is considered manly, or acne for the rest of their life when that was supposed to have stopped in their teens. Moreover, the prospect of maybe not being having to have children is a very hard thought to bare. All of PCOS' symptoms can genuinely cause severely low self-esteem and in return depression, therefore making PCOS a relevant topic for discussion.
PCOS like any other mental illness or any illness for that matter, that doesn't show physical symptoms should not be brushed under the carpet. I just wanted to take the time to express that disorders like PCOS need to be spoken of more often and women should feel like they can openly discuss them if they're affecting their lives and mental state of mind. This is a real disorder. But, remember you are not alone and if you are a sufferer of PCOS you don't have to feel defined by its hardships.