A question came up on a forum today about PCOS and whether sufferers are a genetic “throw back” for want of a better term to earlier times of famine and higher birth rates. I had heard this theory before, or something very much like it, when I went to the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Association of Australia (POSAA) conference a few years back, when Dr Warren Kidson, a leading endocrinologist and researcher into PCOS and insulin resistance in Australia, was talking about a similar concept.
I Googled Dr Kidson to see if I could find any relevant articles to share with the ladies, and I found a few interesting pieces.
The first was this transcript from the George Negus Tonight programme on the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – our public media network in Australia for those who are overseas). It’s a fascinating interview with a couple of PCOS sufferers (and brave ladies too) that is well worth reading. The quote that really popped out at me was from Dr Kidson
For years, when a woman would come to us and say that she dieted and exercised and couldn’t lose weight, we used to think that she was cheating – she was a liar, she didn’t diet, she didn’t exercise. But we’ve now come to realise that we were wrong – that these people try very, very hard, and despite diet and exercise, they just cannot lose weight.
I remember bursting into tears at the POSAA conference when Dr Kidson said pretty much the same thing, though I remember him using the words “Ladies, you are not disgusting pigs.” which really hit home with me.
Dr Kidson’s quote above shows the attitude of many doctors still out there, all around the world. While many are starting to change their attitude, there are still a lot of them that still hold the attitude that women who cannot lose weight with a healthy lifestyle are cheating or liars. I’m very thankful that Dr Kidson is working very hard to change this attitude.
I’ve mentioned before that for many years (20 in fact) I was not diagnosed with PCOS, just told that I was too fat and to come back when I’d lost weight and wanted to have babies. In that time I was in absolute agony, dealing with a whole host of other symptoms (none of which were pleasant), violently struggling with poor nutrition due to constantly starving myself and battling crippling depression which has now been linked to PCOS.
The other link that I stumbled across was this one from the POSAA website, titled “What Every Woman and her Doctor Should Know About PCOS“. It links to a PDF file of a paper in common language that Dr Kidson and Dr James Mackenzie Talbot wrote a few years back for women to take to their doctors. Copies were handed out at the POSAA conference, as the good doctors hadn’t yet been able to have the medical paper version published in the Australian Medical journal yet.
I photocopied it and took it to my doc, who is a lovely lady and she promised to read it. When I returned on my next visit, she mentioned that she had read it, and that “Perhaps we need to try a different tactic.” I think this might have been one of the catalysts to a turning point in how she treats PCOS.
About six months later I went in to see her and she greeted me with “Hey! Your doctor fellows have had their paper published!” I was so glad to hear that it had gone out in medical journals for other doctors to read, in the hope that they might change their attitude in treating women with PCOS.
If you have PCOS, or you suspect that you might, please download the PDF, print it out and take it to your doctor. It is useful for non-Aussies too. Highlight the bits that you match up with symptom wise. If your doctor will not listen to your suspicions on your health, find another doctor.
After all, you, or the medical insurance you pay for, is paying for them.