Monday, January 24, 2011

The Evil Inside Me

I've had a busy busy week both mentally and physically. I finally got my act together and went back to the Dr for my follow up that was I supposed to do a couple of months ago. I could blame things like a busy schedule and the crazy fall my family experienced but really it boils down to the fact that I was avoiding the appointment. I knew I had to have blood work and I knew that the results were going to be the same as before and I knew that the Dr would have a lot to tell me.
Well I was right. The Dr informed me that I have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS. I have Googled and read a lot of information and this clip from WEB MB is a good overview.

What is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (say "pah-lee-SIS-tik OH-vuh-ree SIN-drohm") is a problem in which a woman’s hormones are out of balance. It can cause problems with your periods and make it difficult to get pregnant. PCOS may also cause unwanted changes in the way you look. If it is not treated, over time it can lead to serious health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (or PCOS) is common, affecting as many as 1 out of 15 women. Often the symptoms begin in the teen years. Treatment can help control the symptoms and prevent long-term problems.

What are hormones, and what happens in PCOS?

Hormones are chemical messengers that trigger many different processes, including growth and energy production. Often, the job of one hormone is to signal the release of another hormone.

For reasons that are not well understood, in PCOS the hormones get out of balance. One hormone change triggers another, which changes another. For example:
The sex hormones get out of balance. Normally, the ovaries make a tiny amount of male sex hormones (androgens). In PCOS, they start making slightly more androgens. This may cause you to stop ovulating, get acne, and grow extra facial and body hair.

The body may have a problem using insulin, called insulin resistance. When the body doesn't use insulin well, blood sugar levels go up. Over time, this increases your chance of getting diabetes.
What are the symptoms
Symptoms tend to be mild at first. You may have only a few symptoms or a lot of them. The most common symptoms are:
  • Acne.
  • Weight gain and trouble losing weight.
  • Extra hair on the face and body. Often women get thicker and darker facial hair and more hair on the chest, belly, and back.
  • Thinning hair on the scalp.
  • Irregular periods. Often women with PCOS have fewer than nine periods a year. Some women have no periods. Others have very heavy bleeding.
  • Fertility problems. Many women who have PCOS have trouble getting pregnant (infertility).
  • Depression.
  • Most women with PCOS grow many small cysts on their ovaries. That is why it is called poly cystic ovary syndrome. The cysts are not harmful but lead to hormone imbalance
What causes PCOS?

The symptoms of PCOS are caused by changes in hormone levels. There may be one or more causes for the hormone level changes.

PCOS seems to run in families, so your chance of having it is higher if other women in your family have PCOS, irregular periods, or diabetes. PCOS can be passed down from either your mother's or father's side.

Sounds fun doesn't it. It does make me feel better that the symptoms that I do have, and thankfully I don't have that entire list, aren't just in my head. In additional to the list there are several other issues that can come along with PCOS. From what I'm understanding the biggest issues seem to all be triggered by the insulin resistance. It seems to be the root of all this evil that is going on inside my body.

So now that I know what the issue is I'm attempting to change my ways and not allow it to rule my world. In my typical style I've researched and headed to the book store. I've got my highlighter on standby but so far I've resisted. I've plowed through the book on PCOS and I'm sure I'll be rereading and highlighting the parts I need to remember. I think its a good sign that I'm ready to figure all of this out. I hope that I have some success with the weight loss because long term motivation is hard if there are no results. One of the nice parts of having the Dr involved is that I have an appointment with the nutritionist scheduled and my insurance will cover a few visits. In my research I understand that one of the best things I can do is drastically reduce carbohydrates and always pair complex carbohydrates with a lean protein. This sounds simple enough so I dove straight in. I am trying really hard to give up white sugar, white bread, white rice, potatoes, soda and all processed garbage. So I've had success since Saturday and that did include movie night at the church potluck. Let me tell you I'm pretty proud of myself for resisting the huge tub of red licorice and gummy bears and the rest of the sweets at the end of the buffet line. I've been reading a lot about the Eat Clean Diet with Tosca Reno. The principles are in line with the insulin resistant diet and then have a lot of extra. I can't go from eating a variety of garbage to eating totally Clean but it does give me some nice guidelines and goals. 3 liters of water a day is going to take some time before it doesn't feel like I'm trying to drown myself. I did have a latte this afternoon but other than that I haven't had any processed sugar in 3 days. That alone is pretty huge in my world.

Here is the part where all of you come in to the picture. I need all of you to help force me to stay accountable. I need you to be my willpower when I run low. I need you to ask me to go for a walk or if I've been on a walk. I promise not to be grumpy but even if I am don't give up. Don't take my list of excuses but instead remind me that I need to get healthy.

I'm not brave enough to post my before picture with the after to go with it but maybe in a month or two I'll be feeling brave. I have a pretty bad full body shot from the lake this summer. Let's just say that swim suits are not flattering and how someone captured me on film in one I'll never know. EEWWW is all I have to say.

I'll say thank you in advance for all the support and encouragement. Your friendship means the world to me!









  1. I'm all over it!!!! If it EVER stops raining you WILL come here and we can go walk on the trail...a lot!!! I'm proud of you for figuring it all out and taking charge!! Maybe you can teach me a thing or two : ) If you need to vent, cry, laugh anything call me up!!!

  2. I have a cousin who has the same thing and they struggled to have a baby. I know it can't be easy to have PCOS. I'll be supporting you!

  3. You go girl! I'm here too - let me know if you ever need a workout buddy, I'm happy buzz up to Spokane one night a week. As a side note - my dad has had real success controlling his insulin with at program from Dr. Eades. Here's the link to his website. I follow his blog and find it very interesting.
    Good luck on this journey my friend! I know you'll have success! And I'm here if you need anything.

  4. You, my friend, are one of the most exuberant, take charge girls I know! I have no doubt you will accomplish any goal you set your mind to and even though our paths don't seem to cross but every few months, you are never far from my thoughts and I support you!!

  5. I follow Eat's so great. You will feel so good. I'm glad you got a diagnosis.

  6. Ahh, the trusty highlighter...I was so glad when Christine told me the doc had answers for you. Change is hard, but you're a stubborn girl - you can definitely do it! It's a shame you're not here on the "compound," Bean's ridiculously (annoyingly? jk ( ; ) good about getting people out on walks.


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