I want to punch my ovaries in the face
I want to punch my ovaries in the face.
You see I have Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). And ugly name for a bitch of a condition.
Up to 1 in 5 women has PCOS but around 70% are undiagnosed. PCOS is the most common hormonal disorder affecting women and is a leading cause of infertility.
Here’s the SOS on PCOS.
PCOS is associated with problems such as irregular periods, excessive hair growth, acne, obesity, reduced fertility and an increased risk of diabetes.
If you have painful periods, a spare tyre around your middle, grow hairs on your chin like a billy goat and get bacne (back acne) – chances are you can blame PCOS.
PCOS brings the ugly.
Management of PCOS can include weight reduction or the use of medications.
Phew! Easy right?
No. Here’s the god damned kicker. You need to lose weight but most women with PCOS have insulin resistance and insulin resistance makes it incredibly hard to lose weight.
I saw my endocrinologist earlier this year as I was frustrated at how slowly I was losing weight considering I’ve been careful with my diet and exercising like a maniac at the gym (you’ve seen my social media posts).
He told me women with PCOS and insulin resistance find it three times harder than normal women to lose weight. So you need to do three times the exercise and limiting of calories to get the same result as the woman sitting next to you at work. How much does that suck?
Then he showed me some studies which blew my mind.
He said it shows people with insulin resistance have a chemical imbalance in their brain so they are always hungry.
He then said to me: “See you’re not a psycho, it is literally all in your head.”
It was such a relief for me to hear this. I cried. For years I just thought my hunger was down to a lack of willpower.
My GP, and friend, Dr Ginni Mansberg is one of the most compassionate chicks I know. She says she hears this a lot from PCOS sufferers.
“So many women say to themselves ‘You’re just a sloth and a pig and you don’t exercise enough’ but what they don’t realise is hormones are so powerfully entwined with weight that’s what may be holding them back,” she says.
Ginni wrote a book How To Handle Your Hormones that is fabulously helpful. My fiancé (because he is the most caring understanding man on the planet) even read it so he could understand my PCOS.
Ginni says one of the biggest complaints about PCOS is weight gain – especially around the mid section.
“Women who are disproportionally overweight for what they are eating and exercising is a red flag to me,” she says.
It’s important to see your doctor and get the blood tests and ultrasounds to diagnose PCOS.
“When it comes to hormonal weight gain, there are three legs to the stool. Medication, diet and exercise. If one factor is missing the stool will still fall over,” she says.
The main medication is Metformin but a number of other medications may help so she suggests speaking with your doctor to find out which one is right for you.
So I jumped on the medication. I don’t feel like it’s doing anything except occasionally giving me the squirts. But I just have to believe it’s helping.
“As for diet, it’s best to follow a low GI diet that includes good protein. Eat five small meals a day. And never miss breakfast,” she says.
I’m trying to go low GI but I fall off the wagon a lot. I’m human. But I’m trying. I’m also trying the 5:2 Diet. There’s a lot of science about how fasting helps insulin resistance. I’ll freakin trying anything.
The final component is excerise. Unfortunately simply walking won’t cut it when it comes to using exercise to control PCOS.
“You need to do aerobic exercise to get up a sweat, add resistance training and the vital key is working your core [stomach muscles]. If you have a strong core you’ll burn twice as many calories in your running and get more out of your resistance work. You do extra core exercises by sucking your stomach in and lifting your pelvic floor at every traffic light in the car on the way to work.”
So ladies, suck your stomach in, do your kegels. And remember you need to sweat like a pig to look like a fox.
I filmed a PCOS segment with Dr Ginni for healthyMEtv last year and you can watch it here.
I have been trying to do all of this for nearly a year and, as you know, the weight is slowly coming off. But it’s frustrating and I get angry often. I am due back at the endocrinologist at the end of the month so hopefully my blood tests will show an improvement. I’ll give you an update.
I wish women would talk about PCOS more openly. Sometimes you just need to vent.
Feel free to share your PCOS complaints here.
Soul Cysters unite!