Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Do you have the right diagnosis?

Five years ago, while living in Monroe, LA, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. At that point we had two children. We hadn't had any problems getting pregnant the first time, but we did the second time around. In fact, I took Clomid for six months after trying unsuccessfully for almost a year. We moved shortly after I was diagnosed and the doctors that I used after that ignored the diagnosis since we were no longer trying to get pregnant.

Infertility is not the only symptom; it's a syndrome. If you are not familiar with PCOS, keep in mind I'm not just talking about cyst on your ovaries. This is a metabolic disorder that effects ovulation. Other features include excessive facial hair, obesity, acne, high blood pressure, impaired liver function, sleep apnea, thinning of scalp hair, and excessive amounts of androgenic (masculinizing) hormones. The symptoms and severity of this syndrome vary a great deal from woman to woman.

Most physicians treat the symptoms that their female patients complain about without looking deeper into what is causing the problems. Like I said, I was put on Clomid. Many women are put on birth control pills. Neither of these options will treat the real issue. Hopefully you and your doctor will able to piece together what's really going on, so that you can to receive the appropriate treatment.

That brings me to an important feature of this syndrome; most women find that they are insulin resistance. My blood sugar is within normal limits, I am not and hope to never become a diabetic, but when I was treated with the diabetic medication called Glucophage, I began to lose weight and my menstrual cycle returned. Of course that didn't last for long since I couldn't find a doctor that would agree to prescribe me a medication that isn't approved for the treatment of PCOS. Trust me I've found one now and feel confident that I can lose weight and get off of blood pressure medication through diet, exercise, and taking the right medication.

I have a friend out there that has had the same struggle except that she had thyroid problems. My point is this: if you feel like you aren't receiving the treatment you need, keep looking. There is someone out there that will listen.


Tanya said...

I have been hypothyroid for over 13 years. It has taught me a lot about advocating for myself with doctors. Most of the time I can walk into a new doctor and explain my health goals and if they aren't on board, then I take my business elsewhere. It's incredibly frustrating when you feel like they are not listening to you. Unfortunately, this is very common with women. Many times things are written off as unrelated or non-issues.

jayedee said...'ve been thru the wringer, haven't you? i had no idea!
way to be an advocate for yourself!

Mark said...

I agree. Keep on looking. I'm in line for tests at UAB in their movement disorder clinic after the new year. In the 'burg they have like 4 neuro meds they try on everything...I'm ready for experimental. The klonopin makes me not worry about the disorder as much..but it remains and if I cAn help others and possibly myself with tests let's go for it!

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” mahatma gandhi