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How To Live With PCOS and Thrive In The Workplace

Considering that so many women are affected by PCOS, finding ways to deal with it in both a personal and professional capacity is vital. Focusing on your health becomes a priority and sometimes your career is put on the back burner, however at PCOS At Work, I’m determined to coach individuals on how to bring their focus back into work. Knowing how to deal with your condition while still flourishing in the workplace is something every woman with PCOS deserves.

What is PCOS?

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects how a woman’s ovaries work. It affects many women. So many women in fact that you may have it or know of someone who has it. Yes, it can be scary to read up on it, but it’s important to understand what it is and how it affects you.
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The NHS (The UK’s National Health Services) describes it as having three main features:

  • Irregular periods – which means your ovaries don’t regularly release eggs (ovulation)
  • Excess androgen – which means there are high levels of “male hormones” in your body, which may cause physical signs such as excess facial or body hair, amongst other symptoms.
  • Polycystic ovaries – your ovaries become enlarged and contain many fluid-filled sacs (follicles) which surround the eggs (it’s important to note that, despite, the name, if you have PCOS you don’t actually have cysts)
The NHS states if you have at least two of the above features you may have PCOS.
It is important to see a doctor to confirm if you have PCOS.

What are the symptoms and complications of PCOS?

The most common symptoms of PCOS are:

The most common symptoms of PCOS are:
Irregular period or no period
Hair issues (Losing hair or male pattern baldness)
Weight issues (difficulty losing weight and gaining weight too easily)
Acne and skin issues
Mental health issues (Depression, Anxiety etc.)
Infertility issues (difficulty falling pregnant)
Sleep issues
Hair issues (Hirsutism or excessive hair on the face, chest, back or buttocks)
Note: Not everyone who suffers from PCOS have all of the symptoms. They may only have one symptom or other symptoms and complications.

Sometimes we read something on the internet, and we are a 100% sure we have it. It happens to everyone. We self-diagnose and we start worrying and worrying.

As tempting as it is to rely on the internet, it’s better to speak to a doctor, a trained health care professional, that can investigate and confirm if you have PCOS. I strongly recommend that you see a doctor if you are worried that you have PCOS.

What is an Industrial Psychologist?

I am an Industrial Psychologist. An Industrial Psychologist, or a work psychologist, applies the principles of psychology to work issues. It is a scientific discipline that focusses on increasing the productivity and mental well-being of employees, teams and/or organisations. An Industrial Psychologist can work with an individual, a team or a company on work-related issues.

Industrial Psychologists do not conduct therapy sessions or diagnose psychopathology (disorders). Our esteemed colleagues, clinical and counselling psychologists, focus on that. If you need to see one, I can help you to get in touch with a clinical or counselling psychologist to assist you.

I adhere to the rules and regulations of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) – My HPCSA number is: PS0126063

My qualifications as an Industrial Psychologist are:
  • Master’s degree in Industrial Psychology – Cum Laude (NWU)
  • Honours degree in Industrial Psychology – Cum Laude (UNISA)
  • Honours degree in General Psychology (RAU)

How do they fit together?
How can Industrial Psychology help someone with PCOS?

For many of us, work is where we spend most of our time every day. We bring who we are; our bodies, our minds, and our “selves” to a job. Even if we feel our job is boring or unfulfilling, we cannot switch off our bodies at work. For example, your heart doesn’t stop beating just because you are doing a job. We with PCOS, however, often want our endocrine or hormone systems to switch off or at least pause until we have done our jobs.

Although the physical symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) are often well known, little attention has been given on how PCOS affects woman mentally or psychologically. Many women with PCOS have depression or anxiety or feel dissatisfied with their bodies and their quality of life. Even less mental health resources and services are available to women with PCOS in the workplace.

This is where my services try to help. Whilst considering the mental health impact of PCOS on a person’s work-life, I want to help you:

  • Manage your PCOS at your job or in your career
  • Empower yourself and your career
  • Become more productive
  • Succeed at your career
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