Wednesday, January 01, 2014

How myths harm patients with polycystic ovarian disease

Most patients with PCOD have irregular cycles because they do not ovulate. It’s very easy for them to induce a period by taking progesterone hormone cyclically. However, many women are scared to take this, because have been told by lots of well meaning friends that these hormones can be harmful for them. They have been told that once they take these hormones , they will have to continue taking them hormones for the rest of their life , in order to get regular cycles. Sadly, these women just end up misleading their friends, and even though their intentions maybe good, they end up causing a lot of harm.

The tragedy is that patients don't bother to do their homework to find out what the facts are , by using online reliable sources of information ( and most doctors don’t have the time to sit and educate their patients about how to manage their PCOD). Because they don't have a solid background of knowledge, they get swayed very easily by what their misinformed friends tell them. They get confused by the horror stories they read on bulletin boards; or by what their friends tell them.

Because they do not know the facts, they cannot protect themselves from the misinterpretations of their friends, because they do not know enough to be able to understand the context. While it is true that knowledge is power, bad information can be equally harmful .

When counseling these women, I have to go back to basics, and explain to them why women who ovulate normally get regular periods. The ovaries of women who ovulate normally produce both estrogen and progesterone in a cyclical fashion . The progesterone is produced only when ovulation occurs. This means that the ovaries of women with PCOD do not produce the progesterone they are meant to, because they do not ovulate. By treating them with progesterone, the doctor is simply replacing the natural hormone the ovary would normally have produced . Not only does cyclical regular progesterone treatment mimic nature , it regularizes the period as well .

Unfortunately , when patients don’t bother to arm themselves with information therapy , they get swayed easily by the incorrect advise their friends offer them and end up harming themselves because the excessive estrogen which their ovaries produce can have aide effects. The tragedy is that sometimes this wrong information is provided not just by their well-meaning friends , but even by doctors, who don't know any better , because they are not updated; as well as by alternative medicine practitioners .

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