#BreakTheSilence | There’s no need for shame: PCOS affects around 8 million women in Southern Africa

(Image: Supplied)
(Image: Supplied)

PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and is often linked to issues around infertility and painful, erratic periods. The frustrating condition can be a barrier to conception and is, frustratingly, not widely spoken about – despite the fact that nearly 8 million Southern African women are affected.

Although women grappling with the effects of PCOS often feel alone, there’s no reason to suffer in silence. These brave women are speaking out on issues around PCOS.

Watch the video below for more information:

Advice from Dr Sindi Van Zyl:

The symptoms often associated with PCOS include: irregular or erratic menstrual cycles, trouble to conceive due to erratic periods and ovulation issues, excessive hair growth (hirsutism) on the face, chest, backs, or buttocks, weight gain (particularly abdominal obesity), along with adult acne and the loss or thinning of hair.

Well known South African physician Dr Sindi Van Zyl says this about PCOS:

"With PCOS, you present with hairiness and acne - adult acne. Some people have erratic periods, but one thing that's common with PCOS sufferers is the fact that the majority of them have abdominal obesity. And then one of the other common things about PCOS is the link to infertility." Dr Van Zyl expands on this link by explaining that while the ovaries of people with PCOS do produce eggs, the eggs don't always release from the follicles of the ovaries to be inseminated by the semen. 

In fact, Dr Van Zyl herself only discovered that she had PCOS while trying to conceive. "Many of us with PCOS only find out that we have it once we start trying for a baby and we can't conceive. And that is how I was diagnosed with PCOS because I was trying for a child and nothing had happened." She stresses that it's important to seek medical advice and see your doctor if you have any symptoms, particularly if you have abdominal obesity, irregular periods, and are struggling to conceive.

This post is sponsored by 3Sixty Biomedicine produced by Brandstudio24 for Health24.
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