Cystic nonchalance

About two years ago I wrote a feature article for a university assignment on PCOS, short for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. I won’t get into detail about what that is, because if you are reading this online post, then a) you most probably have PCOS, in which case I don’t need to explain, and b) you have Google – and I still don’t have to explain.

Anyway, the article that I wrote was inspired by someone who has PCOS. I went on to describe the life of a teenager, struggling with PCOS and how it drastically altered her life. Because this girl was the only one I knew who had this condition, I believed it to be a rare occurrence; about one in a million thing. As I went about my research for the feature, it shocked me to know how many girls and women were diagnosed with PCOS. And these were not obscure testimonies from women and vague statistics over the Internet. These were women I knew, my friends and my colleagues, women I regularly socialised with. I found myself stunned. The teenager was suddenly not unique anymore-and yes I had to change the angle of the article and rewrite most of it-but that was the least of my concerns. What it really meant was that I was (and still am) living in a city where PCOS was common, and totally neglected. After reading and examining newspaper articles, I realised that PCOS awareness was on the rise, and yet somehow not receiving enough attention. Although I have no official statistic to prove this but with all the questions girls and women have asked me, I am sure that scores of women in Dubai continue to be oblivious to polycystic ovaries. And with no stats available on women’s knowledge and opinion, “scores of women” might actually be an understatement.

Then there is the tricky situation. There are women who aren’t ignorant, but somehow sure that they don’t have PCOS because “nothing is wrong.” I would like to correct that notion. Nothing is wrong….yet. You could have no symptoms at all, or you could have symptoms like hair fall which could easily be misdiagnosed as something else. I must say I am a guilty party, but I will also admit that I wasn’t completely shocked to find out. I mean, I live in a country with 50% of women suffering from PCOS. It is, apparently the leading cause of fertility in the region. Which is what shocks me. How is it that a huge number of women have it, and yet many don’t know about it?  I really didn’t care much but now that I know I have it too, I feel the need to do something about it.

I wonder what this says about me. Narcissism, maybe?

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