According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), infertility in women was ranked as the 5th highest and most serious global disability.
The Infertility Awareness Association of South Africa (IFAASA) confirmed that as many as one in six couples are impacted by infertility.
Infertility occurs in men and women and may be due to several factors such as occupational and environmental risks, age, smoking and alcohol use.
Another common risk factor for infertility in women is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, or PCOS, is a hormonal disorder that involves reproductive, cosmetic and metabolic problems, with 8–13% of women suffering from this condition.
Read: What is PCOS, and do I have it?
Despite the increasing numbers of people impacted by infertility, it is still not openly discussed and carries an unfortunate stigma.
Breaking the silence around common women's health issues - specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist, Dr Lusanda Shimange-Matsose, shared these six symptoms commonly associated with PCOS that women should be aware of:
1. If you are under 35 and have been having regular unprotected intercourse for 6 - 12 months without falling pregnant
2. Experiencing painful periods
3. Having irregular or prolonged menstrual cycles
4. Elevated levels of the male hormone androgen which results in excess body hair
6. Have put on excess weight
Also read: Ever wondered if your period is 'normal' or why your cycle changed after having a baby?
The symptoms associated with PCOS
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome can cause much distress, and the disorder affects women in so many different ways.
However, it is best not to assume that you have PCOS until a gynaecologist has diagnosed you.
"It is about time we start talking about this, so more women are aware that this is a disease that is prevalent and present," says Dr Shimange-Matsose, adding that there are many other illnesses that are part and parcel of the condition.
"The most important thing for me when it comes to PCOS is making women aware of the long-term effects of this condition because if you do not get a handle on it, not only are you going to battle with infertility - you are going to develop diabetes, cardiac problems linked to hypertension and high cholesterol, as well as sleeping problems".
Regular check ups with your gynaecologist should become the norm, Dr Shimange-Matsose advises.
Submtted to Parent24 by 3Sixty Biomedicine.
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