Sunday, October 30, 2005

PCOS and Weight Loss/Gain

Recently had a comment from amka, who has a very interesting blog! She asked if PCOS was affecting my weight loss.

Absolutely. Not only is it the cause for my weight gain, it definitely poses a challenge where weight loss is concerned. The main sticking point, if you will, is that traditional dieting with PCOS does not work, at least for me. I should preface this by saying that I am NOT a Doctor, Nutritionist, or anything in the medical field. I can really only speak from my own personal experience and that is what this blog is really about.

For years I wondered why I could ONLY lose weight if I went on a low-carb diet. Now I know... I have insulin restistence - counting calories alone will not do it for me. Believe, I starved myself on the "Points" system for months with NO result whatsoever. I started on a Low Carb diet and the weight just melted off, it was almost like magic.

Staying away from sugar for so long now let's me see how terrible it makes me feel when I do have it. I feel like I have ingested some form of poison if I eat very much. I feel sluggish and sick. No wonder I spent so long being uncomfortable and miserable. Still... don't think I don't crave sugar... I do... but I find other types of substitutes or I indulge just a little not enough to make me sick.

I recently read an article online that I found extremely interesting. It would almost appear that the medical community is beginning to catch up on this serious health problem we call PCOS. I won't get into the fact that the name itself is WRONG (why are we labeling a disease by one of its' symptoms? "Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome").

Rather than focusing on relieving specific symptoms, the newer treatments aim at what may be the root cause of PCOS, ie insulin resistance. Many of these new therapies are designed to lower insulin levels and, thus, reduce production of testosterone.

Investigational Therapies
New evidence suggests that using medications which lower insulin levels in the blood may be effective in restoring menstruation and reducing some of the health risks associated with PCOS. Lowering insulin levels also helps to reduce the production of testosterone, thus diminishing many of the symptoms associated with excess testosterone: hair growth on body, alopecia (hair loss), acne, obesity and cardiovascular risk."

(taken from link above)

Up until quite recently most doctors treated PCOS based on whether or not the patient wanted to get pregnant. It's mainly seen as an infertility problem. Which is an absolute tragedy given that PCOS regardless of fertility or desire to achieve pregnancy, puts patients at SERIOUS risk for endometrial cancer, uterine cancer, fibroid tumors, endometriosis, type II Diabetes, and most importantly Cardiovascular disease... not to mention that chronic insulin spikes cause serious damage to other organs.

Gee, I wonder if there might be a connection to heart disease being the number 1 killer of women and PCOS? Am I the ONLY one seeing a possible connection here?

The article above points out that there are now studies going on to evaluate the use of insulin controlling medications and their effects on patients with PCOS.

Metformin (Glucophage) to regulate blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity
Many of the women I have read about on different PCOS message boards are on this medication already. Many had to fight their doctors or change doctors just to get a prescription for it.

I have not gone that far yet. I'm a firm believer that I can control this with diet (low carb, no sugar), exercise, and vitamins. Although, I am on Lexapro for Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depression - which is another offshoot problem of PCOS.

I recently read some very interesting information on vinegar and its' effect on blood sugar. I'll post about that tomorrow!

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