Looking for the Silver Lining: Maternal PCOS & Autism Risk
I am sure some of you saw the results of this study into Maternal PCOS and risk of Autism. Well if you haven’t, for the first time, researchers have identified a link between a mom with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and increased risk of having a child with autism. I have been noticing the reaction of women to this new research throughout the day and I saw a variety of reactions – some women were commenting and blaming themselves for a child born with autism, some people pathetically used it to give a voice to the vaccine/autism debate, some women with autism and aspergers were saying ‘what’s wrong with being like us’, some women with PCOS who have had children were sharing their pregnancy outcomes in terms of whether they had children with or without autism.
My first reaction was that I wanted to give every woman with PCOS a hug today. My heart sank for women with PCOS, imagine feeling like now you have one more issue to deal with, one more burden among a sea of health symptoms related to your health condition. Looking for the positive I began to think we have to find the silver lining in this piece of “bad news” and it’s this: FINALLY people everywhere are taking notice of a chronic, lifelong disorder that has not been given the attention it deserves and has no cure.
I work in healthcare and every single time I bring up Polycystic Ovary Syndrome I am in awe – almost no one has heard of it – maybe now they will. [pullquote align=”right” textalign=”right” width=”30%”]almost no one has heard of it – maybe now they will[/pullquote] It’s the number one cause of infertility and people haven’t heard of it. It’s the number one endocrine disorder among women of reproductive age and people haven’t heard of it. It causes diabetes in 50% of the women who suffer and yet we haven’t heard of it.
Clearly awareness campaigns are a must even among the medical community. When I was at a PCOS Challenge Symposium in September I overheard two women discussing PCOS and one said when she sees a new doctor and she tells him/her that she has PCOS it’s like “they’re hearing about it for the first time”.[pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]“There isn’t a women’s health group that is more medically underserved than the PCOS Community.”[/pullquote] And this syndrome has so much confusion going on in the medical community – there are several different diagnostic criteria to choose from depending upon which side of the debate you sit on. It’s so bad that one doctor/researcher at the same symposium said when they (doctors/researchers) discuss how to diagnose this syndrome – “it’s the person with the loudest voice” who usually wins the debate and gets his way! Every doctor on the panel mentioned in one way or another that the current state of affairs in the medical community for PCOS is pathetic, pitiful, heartbreaking.
I follow a LOT of women’s health topics and I can safely say there isn’t a women’s health group that is more medically underserved than this community of patients. The women who suffer from PCOS deserve MORE – better diagnosis, better care, more treatment options instead of just bandaid solutions and more awareness. It’s time to DEMAND more.
So let’s keep a positive outlook – the time for PCOS patients to get heard is now. It is my sincere hope that this brings to light a health issue that affects up to 10% of women.
Turn some bad news to good: Make PCOS go viral. #bettercare4PCOS
For more information on PCOS:
For more information on the Study: