‘PCOS should be a valid reason for leave or WFH’
With one in five women diagnosed with PCOS, doctors say there is a need to educate them on the syndrome. Many women do not seek medical help because they find it uncomfortable to discuss it.
Women see their close ones going through PCOS, but don’t speak at their workplaces.
Neeraja Padmakumar, a genome analyst and mother, informed The Observer: “Even though women constantly face problems over menstruation, the only issue that affects them is PCOS. Although I have not gone through it, I have observed my own friends going through this painful phase. Solutions could be multiple, but it requires more voices to reach places.”
Swaksha Krishnakumar, a writer, shared: “When I was 12 years old and began having irregular periods, little did I know what PCOS was. As I grew up, the problem occurred in the form of getting periods once in two months, and that is when I discovered myself gaining weight, experiencing constant hair fall, and acne. It was only after an ultrasound that I found out that I had PCOS. Although factors like lifestyle, diet and stress impact a woman’s body, it is all about how you manage and take care of yourself.”
Kritika Salian, a 3D designer, said: “I was diagnosed with PCOS at an early stage. We found out that there was a small cyst in the ovaries. I started to develop facial hair, which was a downside for me. I was put on medication for six months. I also had blood tests and sonography to check the overall progress. It is high time that menstrual pain was considered a valid reason for women to be on leave.”
Simran Sharma, a trainee journalist, said: “When I first visited a doctor during my first year of college, she detected that I had PCOS. Even if PCOS can increase your weight, or cause acne all over your face, the aspect that is ignored is mental health. Physical health would be important, but mood swings would lead a woman’s mood to drop…. Yes, I am not emotionally stable, I have cramps, I feel pain. It is necessary that companies cut some slack, not in the form of leave, but (allow) work from home. It may stay with me for my entire life, but I maintain a particular lifestyle and diet that allow me to remain stable.”
Apeksha Priya, a journalist, said: “The perception that people have is that if a girl is thin or fat, she has PCOS, which is not true.”
Dr Radha Rao, a consultant obstetrician and gynecologist, explained: “Often, women go through hormonal issues or obesity, which causes a full-blown syndrome. Although PCOS can be controlled, it depends on the stages of life. Treatments could be different, but still there is no conclusive evidence over PCOS yet.”
Dr M.K. Girija, professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, shared: “The Covid scenario brought about a situation where women with PCOS faced the worst. A healthy lifestyle can be the key to improving the issue, but if you want people to stay aware of PCOS, it must start early.”
While doctors are still finding the cause for PCOS, some have said that genetics and environment cause it. All that they require is two things — support and awareness.