Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The case for PCOS

I've suspected I've had PCOS (polycystic ovary or polycystic ovarian syndrome) for a while now. I didn't really think about it before my IVF cycle and pregnancy, because I was busy dealing with other health problems. But after I delivered and I had a major hormonal reset and noticed so many GOOD changes while my hormones shifted, I began to think "Hey... maybe there was something wrong before." This is what WebMD says about PCOS symptoms:

"Often, hormone changes that lead to PCOS start in the early teens, after the first menstrual period."
Well, looking back, that's when things started for me.

Early Symptoms
• Few or no menstrual periods, but some women with PCOS have regular periods but are not ovulating. I don't know if I would have had regular periods- I did up until I was 15, when I went on the pill, and I've been on it ever since, except when I was pregnant. I also don't know if I ovulate, because I've always been on the pill, which prevents ovulation.
• Heavy bleeding. Check.
• Hair loss from the scalp AND hair growth in other places (face, chest, back, stomach, thumbs, or toes). Check.
• Acne and oily skin, caused by high androgen levels. Well, I don't know what it's being caused by, but I have it.
• Depression or mood swings. Hormonal changes are a known cause of emotional symptoms. Check.

Gradual Symptoms
• Weight gain or upper body obesity (more around the abdomen than the hips). This is linked to high androgen levels. Check. My belly is like, the one place I really put on weight, and it's the one place the weight doesn't come off.
• Male-pattern baldness or thinning hair. My hair is thinning.
• Repeat miscarriages and infertility. I never got a chance to test this, since my tubes are completely blocked and twisted so I can't attempt to conceive naturally.
• Symptoms of too much insulin (hyperinsulinemia) and insulin resistance, which can include upper body weight gain. Check. I can't metabolize carbs to save my life.
• Pain in the lower abdomen and pelvis (chronic pelvic pain). CHECK. But I've always had endometriosis, too, which causes chronic pelvic pain as well, so I wouldn't have noticed anything "out of the ordinary".

They say it takes 3 months for your hormones to regulate back to normal after you have a baby. Well, I just hit 3 months postpartum on May 12. My hair started falling out again about 2 weeks before that, and I know it's not my thyroid causing it because I had a full workup a month ago and it's still managed on the same dose of medication. For the last 3 weeks, I haven't lost any weight. I was losing anywhere between a half a pound to one pound a day before, and all of a sudden my weight loss has hit a dead end, even though I go to the gym 4+ times per week, for an hour or more each time, and only eat about 60% of my recommended daily intake of calories. That doesn't add up.

I hate this. I'm working my ass off, and yeah, I'm getting some muscle tone, but the fat on top of it really isn't going anywhere. And it could all be because of a hormonal imbalance that I can't really do anything about. It's SO frustrating. This is why I always ended up giving up on my weight loss efforts in the past, because I would work my ass off for nothing. I think the only reason I lost any weight recently was because my hormones were still adjusting from the pregnancy, but now they've gone back to their normal, complacent selves and I'm left to deal with the consequences. I mean, c'mon, I could never lose weight in my life, and as soon as I got pregnant and my hormones started changing, I LOST 6 pounds, when all of my pregnant friends were gaining weight. It took me 20 weeks (half my pregnancy) of eating mostly potatoes and cheese for every meal (that's what I craved) to even gain those 6 pounds back, and I only gained a total of 19 pounds (including those 6) during my whole pregnancy. And if you think about it, almost 7 pounds of that was baby, and then probably another 5 pounds or so of extra fluids. I seriously HATE being a woman and having to deal with hormones. I have an appointment with my OB/GYN on May 28th for blood work and stuff to investigate this PCOS crap. If she sees that I may have it, she may try me on metformin, which was developed for people with Type 2 diabetes, but in patients with PCOS, helps the body to respond better to insulin. It decreases the absorption of dietary carbohydrates through the intestines, reduces the production of glucose by the liver, and increases the sensitivity of muscle cells to insulin, which delivers glucose to your cells to be used as fuel. I don't think that's happening in my body. Instead, it turns into belly fat. Grrrr.

Anyway... here's today's workout (I told you I was going to the gym 6 days this week):

Bike 5 min @ 80-85 rpm, level 2 resistance, 1.75 mi; 9 min @ 90-100 rpm, level 1-2, 1 min sprint @ 120 rpm, 3.75 mi
Leg press 1x15 @ 80 lbs, 2x20 @ 40
Glutes 1x15 @ 60, 2x20 @ 30 (per side)
Bike 5 min @ 90 rpm, 2 mi
Hip abduction 1x15 @ 100, 2x20 @ 50
Hip adduction 1x15 @ 100, 2x20 @ 50
Calf extension 1x15 @ 80, 2x20 @ 40
Back extension 2x15 @ 80, 2x20 @ 40
Ab curl 1x15 @ 70, 2x20 @ 40
Obliques 1x15 @ 70, 2x20 @ 40 (per side)
Leg extension 1x15 @ 50, 2x20 @ 20
Leg curl 1x15 @ 50, 2x20 @ 20

Although I can still feel my triceps from yesterday, I'll be in the gym tomorrow doing upper body. Feel the burn.

1 comment:

  1. I feel you here. I have two girls but was diagonsed with pcos sometime in 2005. My boyfriend and I have been trying to get pregnant so I create a blog as well.

    Here is my blog, nice stuff here thanks for sharing.