Treat women unable to conceive with caution - Medical doctor advises public
Society has been advised to be cautious about how they treat people, especially women with fertility problems.
A medical doctor at the LEKMA Hospital, Dr Samuel Gyedu Owusu, who gave the advise explained that because of the stigma attached to infertility and the way people with such problems were treated some of them entered a state of depression which eventually compelled them to take their lives.
“The way we talk about these issues in a painful way is very hurtful.
People have taken their lives because of the depression they are going through and the societal stigma attached to infertility.
Infertility is not a curse.
“Let’s try to support and understand them.
If it’s monetary resources that we can offer for them to go through treatment, let’s do that.
If it’s words of encouragement, let’s do that.
It can happen to you, it can happen to your friend and it can happen to your daughter,” he said.
Dr Owusu was speaking at a seminar organised in Accra last Wednesday by Xoese Ghana, a non-for-profit organisation focused on the welfare of women and children to create awareness about Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).
What is PCOS
PCOS is a set of symptoms related to an imbalance of hormones that can affect women and girls of reproductive age.
Among all the conditions that could lead to infertility, the most common one that is undiagnosed, underrecognised and understudied is PCOS.
Signs and symptoms of the condition include menstrual irregularities; hirsutism which is coarse and dark hair growing on body areas where men typically grow hair such as the face, abdomen, chest and back; acne; male pattern of hair loss and oily skin.
For a woman to be diagnosed as a person with PCOS, at least two of the three diagnostic criteria, namely, hyperandrogenism, menstrual irregularities and polycystic ovaries on ultrasonography would have to be present.
On the problem with PCOS and infertility, Dr Owusu said it could be tackled when detected early explaining that, after two years of initiation of menstrual cycle when girls start to exhibit signs of the condition, their parents should let them contact a specialist to examine them to see if there was a problem.
Speaking on the role of health professionals and fertility facilities in tackling PCOS, the Medical Director of the Tema Women’s Hospital and Fertility Center who is also an Obstetrician Gynaecologist, Dr Yaa Owusu-Baah, mentioned the future complications of the PCOS to include hypertension, stroke, diabetes, anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer and pregnancy complications such as miscarriage and preterm labour.
She said even though the cause of the condition was largely unknown, there were other factors such as genetic that if it runs in ones family and environmental causes such as obesity, lack of exercise and lifestyle could predispose people to the condition.
Dr Owusu-Baah said most Ghanaians had limited knowledge of the causes of infertility, resulting in stigmatisation, adding that most people did not know that infertility had some unexplained or natural causes for which reason they tended to attribute it to spirits, abortions or both.
On why the seminar was organised, the Director of Xoese Ghana, Emelia Naa Ayeley Aryee, said even though PCOS had been declared as the leading cause of infertility in women, she realised upon interaction with a number of people that little was known about it.
There was, therefore, the need to equip people with knowledge and information about the condition and ways to end the programme.