Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Pregnancy can’t cure PCOS, hormonal disorders, doctors clarify

- Advertisement -spot_imgspot_img
- Advertisement -spot_imgspot_img

Janet Ogundepo

Gynaecologists and public health experts have strongly cautioned against believing the misconception that pregnancy can cure menstrual pain, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and other female hormonal disorders.

They said this call following a recent social media post centred which encouraged women to get pregnant to cure certain illnesses.

The conversation, which started on X, formerly Twitter, began when a public health expert Dr Babatunde Adewumi, with the handle, @enodamade, tweeted to dispel the unfounded belief that pregnancy could cure certain ailments in women.

The tweet prompted many women to share their experiences of being advised by “doctors” to get pregnant as a cure for menstrual pain, PCOS and Hyperprolactinemia.

According to a health blog, Cleveland Clinic, the health condition, Hyperprolactinemia, is caused by a higher-than-normal level of prolactin in one’s blood.

Prolactin is a hormone responsible for milk production, lactation and breast tissue development.

Women with this condition have milky nipple discharge and menstrual irregularities.

According to the World Health Organisation, PCOS is a hormonal imbalance in which the ovaries produce an abnormal amount of male sex hormones, leading to irregular periods, weight gain, facial hair and ovarian cysts.

The WHO states that PCOS affects about 8-13 per cent of women in their reproductive age and is the leading cause of infertility.

In one of the replies to the tweet, a user, Folaaa who tweeted @dhunseen_ stated that she had been told that pregnancy and childbirth would reduce menstrual pain.

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 responded, “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)

Another user, Melody Njimanze (@njimanzemelody), recounted a conversation with a married man who claimed his wife was perpetually sick unless she was 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.”

Also, 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!”

Several ladies who also responded to the tweet expressed their personal experiences about the issue.

One of them, Gloria Chukwu, who tweets @jessyGloria10, stated that she was asked to get pregnant when she was 22 years old because she had PCOS.

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

Another tweep, Mirah, said, “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.

However, the experts, who spoke to PUNCH Healthwise, debunked the claims that pregnancy can cure certain medical conditions and advised women with hormonal issues to see a gynaecologist.

On his part, a professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Aniekan Abasiattai, said women being told to conceive to treat an ailment was 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.

The don noted that hormonal imbalances could be treated medically and urged women with such conditions to visit a gynaecologist for a proper check.

Aniekan decried the spread of unfounded health beliefs and myths and called for more awareness and public health education.

Also, Adewumi asserted that although pregnancy can temporarily alter hormone levels, it does not cure the underlying causes of hyperprolactinemia and PCOS.

The breast and cervical screening advocate asserted that the belief that pregnancy can cure these conditions stems from a misunderstanding of how they interact with hormonal changes.

“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.”

He further explained 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 stressed 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 physician added that misinformation about hormonal imbalances could 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.

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

To combat the spread of misinformation, the breast and cervical cancer screening advocate called for public health education through reliable channels.

He added, “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.”

 

 

 

Copyright PUNCH

All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.

Contact: [email protected]

 

 

- Advertisement -spot_imgspot_img
Latest news
- Advertisement -spot_img
Related news
- Advertisement -spot_img

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

%d bloggers like this: