Pretty Common Ovary Situation
I’m not exactly sure who decided to make acronyms out of the many medical terms that are used today. Perhaps because I’m in the medical field I take a lot of the acronyms such as “PCOS” for granted (because I know what they mean). However, for people who are not familiar with medical jargon, the thought of pronouncing a name like this, never mind understanding what the heck it means, has got to be daunting. Think about it. My guess is that most women want their family, friends and for that matter, the public, to know what PCOS is, but how can we expect the average person would know how to pronounce it, never mind know what it is – “Pee Cos”?, “Pick Cos”? Sheesh!
Even when PCOS isn’t abbreviated, “Polycystic Ovary Syndrome” sounds almost like the title of a scary science fiction movie. To make things even more complicated, PCOS has other names such as; Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Hyperandrogenism, and Androgen Excess Syndrome. Phew! When you break down the words that make up the name PCOS, it all makes more sense. “Poly” means “many”, “Cystic” refers to “cysts” and “Syndrome” refers to a set of symptoms.
The collection of symptoms that make up PCOS may include one or more of the following:
- Irregular periods that come every few months or not at all
- Extra hair on the face or on other parts of the body, called “hirsutism” (her-suit-is-em)
- Weight gain and/or trouble losing weight
- Patches of dark skin on the back of the neck and sometimes other areas, called acanthosis nigricans (a-can-tho-sis ni-gri-cans)
I honestly think that if PCOS stood for “Pretty Common Ovary Situation” it might receive more attention. After all, PCOS is a lot more common than most people might think. Many teen girls and women have it. In fact, almost 1 out of 10 women have PCOS.
If you want your loved ones and others to understand what PCOS is, my advice is to begin by saying that it is a “common female problem that is caused when hormones are not in balance”, then if they want to know more, you can share information from our website.
It’s important to know that any of the symptoms I mentioned can be signs of other medical conditions too. If you are concerned that you might have PCOS, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with your health care provider.