PCOS: can be treated with your compassion
- JWB Post
- March 4, 2014
There is an illness which not only leads to physical but also emotional sufferings. And the communal approach to the persons suffering from those diseases makes them suffer more. Read the story below and know more about PCOS:
I am well aware of how I am perceived by others: is she a man? A bearded woman? Transgender? These perceptions find their roots both in simple curiosity and ignorance of the sheer diversity of the human race. I cannot stop people from forming convoluted first impressions based on what I look like, but I can stop them from turning that ignorance into misplaced assumptions or even hatred. This is why, having been alerted to the posting of the photo, I replied in the thread, and engaged with the posters discussing my appearance. What I learned from this experience is that building bridges between people isn’t really that hard: an honest conversation, a simple exchange of meaningful words that make up our lives, can change people’s opinions and change the world for the better – one step at a time… I’m not embarrassed or even humiliated by the attention [negative and positive] that this picture is getting because, it’s who I am. Yes, I’m a baptized Sikh woman with facial hair. Yes, I realize that my gender is often confused and I look different than most women. However, baptized Sikhs believe in the sacredness of this body — it is a gift that has been given to us by the Divine Being [which is gender-less, actually] and, must keep it intact as a submission to the divine will … by not focusing on the physical beauty, I have time to cultivate those inner virtues and hopefully, focus my life on creating change and progress for this world in any way I can.
This was the letter of Balpreet Kaur, an aspiring neurosurgeon from Ohio State University. She responded in a wise and praise-worthy way to a man who took image without her consent. The photo went viral in 2012. She did not bend to society’s whims about beauty – and has no regrets about how she looks. We do applaud for her bravery and compassion towards the offenders.
One of the medical reasons why Balpreet Kaur is facing this problem may be PCOS. Dr Rakhi Arya, working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Zanana hospital of Jaipur, helps us understand these ailing conditions.
JWB: What is PCOS (Polycystic ovarian syndrome)?
Dr. Rakhi: It is a problem in which hormonal imbalance occurs. This can lead to problems with the periods and can cause difficulty in achieving pregnancy. It can also cause certain physical changes, – and if left untreated, serious health problems as diabetes and high blood pressure over time. These women grow small cysts in their ovaries which are not harmful but leads to hormonal imbalances.
JWB: What are hormones, and what happens in PCOS?
Dr. Rakhi: Hormones are chemical messengers that trigger many different processes, including growth and energy production. Often, the job of one hormone is to signal the release of another hormone. For reasons that are not well understood, in PCOS the hormones get out of balance. One hormone change triggers the change of another one. For example: The sex hormones get out of balance. Normally, the ovaries make a tiny amount of male sex hormones (androgens). In PCOS, they start making slightly more androgens. This may cause you to stop ovulating, get acne and grow extra facial and body hair. The ovaries have difficulty in producing and releasing eggs and thus resulting in infertility.
JWB: What are the most common signs and symptoms of PCOS?
Dr. Rakhi: Watch for such signs in your body as: 1.Irregular or no menstrual periods. 2.Problems getting pregnant – this could be because there is no ovulation, or it is irregular. 3. Hirsutism – excessive hair growth, usually on the buttocks, back, chest or face. 4.Hair loss (from the head). 5. Acne, oily skin or dandruff. 6. Pelvic pain. 7. Patches of dark skin at the back of the neck, possibly some other areas of the body. This is caused by too much insulin. 8. Anxiety or depression
JWB: Thank you for this simple explanation.
Women with PCOS are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, poor self esteem, disordered eating and psychosexual dysfunction. Everyone may not have such courage like Balpreet Kaur has to face the challenges PCOS may bring, so here are few points which can be helpful:
- Have patience: the disease is just a disease, and you can always win it! Don’t panic and look towards the solutions.
- The family support: the support from the family is needed the most in this case. Don’t fight alone! Let them be the part of your pain & allow them share their lovely concern and care.
- Change the view: until or unless your outlook towards your appearance changes, people will not change their perception. Your inner beauty should be exposed more for the outer world. Believe in it! And admire yourself!
- Aids of a specialist: don’t shy away from asking the expert help and search for counseling.
We believe that awareness is a step towards compassion. Educating community about such ailments will help build the bridge of understanding and support for those suffering. Help Jaipur Women Blog spread a word!
We thank Dr. Rakhi Arya, working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Zanana hospital, Jaipur, – for helping JWB readers understand PCOS and its cause.