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Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition that affects 1 out of 10 women worldwide, and 1 out of 5 women in India. The research around it is fairly limited and conversations, almost non-existent. Given India’s perspective on sexual health, it does not come as a surprise that not many people are fully educated about the details of PCOS. So, Vitamin Stree provides a lowdown in this episode of Scratching The Surface.

PCOS is caused when the female body produces excess levels of the male hormone, androgen. Symptoms can vary from acne, facial hair growth and hair loss to difficulty in losing weight, menstrual irregularities, ovarian cysts and in serious cases- the inability to conceive.

What triggers the condition is not fully understood, but studies suggest that both genetics and lifestyle are often major contributors.

While the physical effects are commonly known, what people fail to acknowledge is the toll it takes on one’s mental health. PCOS makes you vulnerable to depression, anxiety and eating disorders. Living with PCOS and these symptoms, in a society filled with conditioned perceptions of how a woman should look, can take a serious toll on mental health.

PCOS may not be completely curable, but its effects can be mitigated through proper treatment, and systematic care. If you’ve noticed any of these symptoms, it’s best you go see a gynaecologist, listen to their advice, and most importantly, follow it regularly. Healthy eating and regular exercise have been shown to help, while stress-relieving activities like exercise, meditation and yoga help combat the mental effects of PCOS.

Also read: 7 Toxic Practices Around Reproductive Health And How We Can Stop Them

There may not be many open conversations around PCOS and its impact on physical, and mental health, but there’s a vocal online community standing in solidarity with other women diagnosed with the syndrome.  So, if you have, or think you may have PCOS, remember that you’re not alone.

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