Doctors Clarify That Pregnancy Is Not A Remedy For PCOS Or Hormonal Disorders

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Gynecologists and experts in public health are vehemently warning against the misconception that pregnancy can serve as a cure for menstrual pain, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), and other female hormonal disorders.

This guidance comes in response to a recent post on social media encouraging women to consider pregnancy as a remedy for specific conditions.

The dialogue originated on X, formerly known as Twitter, when Dr. Babatunde Adewumi, a public health specialist with the username @enodamade, took to the platform to debunk the baseless belief that pregnancy could alleviate certain women’s health issues.

This tweet sparked numerous responses from women sharing their encounters with “doctors” advising them to seek pregnancy as a solution for menstrual pain, PCOS, and Hyperprolactinemia.

According to information from a healthcare website, Cleveland Clinic, Hyperprolactinemia occurs due to elevated levels of prolactin in the bloodstream. Prolactin is a hormone responsible for milk production, lactation, and the development of breast tissue. Women with this condition may experience milky nipple discharge and irregular menstrual cycles.

As outlined by the World Health Organization, PCOS is characterized by a hormonal imbalance leading to excess production of male sex hormones by the ovaries.

This hormonal disruption can result in irregular periods, weight gain, facial hair growth, and the development of ovarian cysts. PCOS is reported to affect approximately 8-13 percent of women in their reproductive years and is a primary cause of infertility.

Responding to the initial tweet, a user identified as Folaaa, who tweets under the handle @dhunseen_, shared that she had been advised that pregnancy and childbirth could reduce menstrual discomfort.

She tweeted, “Are you for real??? cause I heard, pregnancy/childbirth helps with painful periods …likeee with time, the pain will reduce.

“But, I’ve heard from people even Doctors that period pain reduces with time after childbirth. That’s why I’m trying to confirm from him cause I’ve been backing on that hope that the pain will be minimal once I start giving birth.” (sic)

The doctor then replied, “It’s not a cure o my sister. Some people experience it and some even start or get worse after giving birth. Get pregnant when you are ready to, not because you want it to cure menstrual pain because you might be disappointed after going through the trouble of pregnancy.” (sic

Melody Njimanze (@njimanzemelody) shared a story about a conversation she had with a married man, who revealed that his wife was constantly unwell unless she was expecting a child, implying that her health issues were somehow linked to her not being pregnant.

Njimanze shared, “I remember advising a member to stop having more children because they were struggling financially. He told me his wife falls ill when she isn’t pregnant, so they keep having children. I was shocked, and he refused to see a doctor about it.”

Furthermore, a reply from Dr Ibraheem Iyanda, read, “A patient once said a doctor asked her to get pregnant because she had Hyperprolactinemia. I just smiled!”

Gloria Chukwu (@jessyGloria10) shared her personal story in response to the tweet, revealing that at the age of 22, she was advised to get pregnant due to her Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) diagnosis, implying that pregnancy was seen as a potential solution to her condition.

“When I was 22, I was asked to get pregnant because of PCOS,” she wrote.

Another tweep, Mirah, stated, “A doctor once told me this some years back. I was so pained en.” (sic)

Another user with the name, IHaveADream, expressed their angst against the constant advice to get pregnant given to women who had fibroid.

“Doctors to Fibroid patients!!!!, “get pregnant within 18 months post surgery”. As if responsible men are easy to find. Nonsense!!!!!” the tweet read.

According to Wakadaily, medical experts have dismissed the notion that pregnancy can cure certain health conditions, instead recommending that women with hormonal issues consult a gynecologist. Professor Aniekan Abasiattai, an expert in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Uyo, described the advice to conceive as a treatment for ailments as “bizarre and incorrect”.

“For a woman to be told to conceive in order to effectively treat an ailment is bizarre and not based on available accurate information, and both ancient and current best practices,” he insisted

Professor Aniekan Abasiattai emphasized that hormonal imbalances can be medically treated, encouraging women to consult a gynecologist for proper evaluation.

He lamented the prevalence of misinformation and myths about women’s health, stressing the need for increased awareness and education.

Meanwhile, Dr. Adewumi clarified that while pregnancy may temporarily affect hormone levels, it does not address the underlying causes of conditions like hyperprolactinemia and PCOS.

He attributed the misconception to a misunderstanding of how these conditions interact with hormonal fluctuations, highlighting the importance of accurate knowledge and regular screening.

“Cultural beliefs and misinformation, often spread through personal advice rather than scientific evidence, contribute to the perpetuation of these myths. Some doctors may inadvertently contribute to this misunderstanding when explaining how these conditions affect fertility.

“Hyperprolactinemia, characterised by elevated levels of prolactin, can be caused by various factors including pituitary tumours or thyroid issues and requires specific medical treatment. PCOS, a hormonal disorder, requires long-term management strategies involving lifestyle changes, medication, and sometimes surgery.”

Also, he elaborated that women with hyperprolactinemia or PCOS should seek proper medical evaluation and treatment from healthcare professionals.

“Treatment options for Hyperprolactinemia may include medications such as dopamine agonists, or in some cases, surgery. PCOS management often involves lifestyle modifications, weight management, hormonal treatments, and medications like metformin. Regular monitoring and a tailored treatment plan are essential for managing these conditions effectively,” the doctor noted.

Adewumi emphasized the importance of accurate information, noting that the spread of incorrect information about these conditions can have serious implications for maternal health and safety.

The doctor stated that misinformation over hormonal imbalances may lead to an increase in unplanned pregnancies.

“Women may delay seeking appropriate medical care, leading to worsening symptoms and complications. This misinformation can result in unnecessary pregnancies, increasing the risk of maternal and child health issues, particularly in settings with limited resources.

The advocate for breast and cervical cancer screening urged for accurate health information to be disseminated through trustworthy sources, in order to counteract the spread of misconceptions and misinformation.

“Moreover, it places an unnecessary financial and emotional burden on families,” the public health expert mentioned.

He highlighted, “Healthcare providers should engage in community outreach to educate women about these conditions and their proper treatments. Collaboration with media outlets to disseminate accurate information and debunk myths is essential.

“Social media can be a powerful tool in this regard, leveraging platforms to share scientifically backed information. Finally, incorporating accurate health education into school curricula can also help build a foundation of knowledge that prevents the spread of such myths.”

 

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