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Tuesday, 12 February 2008

My Silent Battle - Silent No More


I'm going to go out on a limb here and talk about something that's slightly more personal than I'm usually willing to write about in my blog. Mainly, for the reason that it's something important that I think people (particularly women) ought to be aware of, and be spoken of more often. 10% of women suffer from a syndrome which I have suffered through my whole life many of which have absolutely no idea that they have it. I had no idea until maybe about 4 or 5 years ago. No, actually, my Doctor first mentioned the idea in 2000 when I was preparing to go on a mission, but we didn't discuss it seriously at that time. The Syndrome I'm speaking of is called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (or Stein-Levinthal Syndrome) It has a number of symptoms, most of which I have, and they are - none of them very pleasant. The most difficult one of all is that it contributes to weight gain. When I was a little girl, I started gradually to gain more weight than most other neighbourhood kids. We all pretty much had the same diet, but I seemed to put on more weight than my friends. (Granted my parents submitted me to THE most unhealthy white death diet on the planet being British and all, but that wasn't really that much different than everybody else) This made it extremely difficult for me to lose weight, and anytime I made any sort of headway, I was quick to gain it back. PCOS is a metabolic disorder which begins in the hypothalamus decreasing insulin production, and increasing a variety of androgens causing rather unpleasant effects including numerous cysts on the ovaries, painful and irregular menses, high blood pressure, migraines, hair in all the wrong places, and thinning hair on the head, and most unfortunate of all - it can cause infertility. All of these symptoms can be treated, and also reversed with proper diet and exercise. Unfortunately though, it takes flipping FOREVER to see real results in weight loss with just diet and exercise, but I am proof that it can happen. Granted, it has taken me a year and a half to lose 70 lbs, but it certainly has been worth it. So, long story short, this is a most unpleasant disorder, and there are more out there like me that have no idea that they have it. They're probably just going through their lives thinking they're a bit bizarre because they grow a little hair in the wrong places and have a totally abnormal cycle and have just always been fat. Most people don't even discover it until they try to have children. Some studies have shown that PCOS patients who's Doctors treat them with Metformin which is an anti-diabetic drug balancing out the sugars in the body have seen positive effects including help in losing weight, decrease in unwanted hair, and most definitely - fertility resulting in pregnancy. So, I went to see my Doctor about this today, and she's an amazing Doctor really, I'm really lucky to have her, she really knows her stuff. I asked her about Metformin therapy, and she was not all for it at all. She's always the type to go the natural route and not too quick to take the quick fix. She refuses to put PCOS patients on Metformin unless they are trying to conceive. She really firmly believes in the GI Diet and exercise to naturally produce the same effects. So, disappointed a little, I've decided to plug on, and keep doing what I'm doing even though it has taken forever to see the effects of it. I really do feel a lot better than I ever have though if I'm really honest with myself. So, there is my effort to spread awareness about a silent epidemic that is affecting many women out there who have no idea they even have a problem. For more information about PCOS, see these links...

2 comments:

Jeffrey Dach MD said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Amanda said...

Fellow PCOS victim here, fun isn't it! It was nice to chat with you today at the primary activity. You look great by the way and I am so happy for you!