Posted by: Angie | 2009-02-25

weight blamed on PCOS

I am a 30 year old female, and I am desperately frustrated with my weight! At 1.7m tall, I was a fit, athletic teenager but as I had never had a period, I was referred to a gynaecologist. In 1993(age 15), I was diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovarian Disease, and the pill was subsequently prescribed by my gynaecologist.
In June 1997 (4 years later) my average mass was still 53kg.
Then 4 months later, by October 1997, my weight suddenly climbed to 84kg! My eating habits had not changed, and I was exercising madly in an attempt to control my weight. My gynaecologist ran numerous blood tests  fasting insulin, glucose, thyroid, pituitary, adrenal, and cholesterol and all the tests returned normal. There was no explanation for my sudden weight gain other than a “ side effect”  of PCOD. I would have to live with it! Only with a strict LOW CARB diet and 1.5 hours of cardio/strength training/pilates exercise a day did I manage to reduce my weight to 74kg by the age of 22.
When I was 23, I stopped the pill in an attempt to fall pregnant. Within 12 months of not taking the pill my weight climbed to 88kg. When I could not fall pregnant at 25 I decided to go for a second opinion. The new Gynae did a pelvic exam, and on the scan showed approximately 800 pea-sized cysts on each ovary. (Which had incredibly grown in 24 months? That’ s an average of 33 follicles per ovary a month! That’ s 66 potential babies a month!!! In an average woman its only 12 each month alternately) He also ran another batch of tests which also returned normal except for slightly elevated DHEA-S levels, and the diagnosis was PCOD. Again I was to take the pill and the weight was simply a side effect and nothing could be done. The following year my DHEA-S levels had risen further along with my weight (at this point I lost count), and I was again instructed to stay on the pill.
By every annual exam I had gained about another 3kg, despite all the exercise and diet.
Surprisingly, in April 2008, my annual scan showed absolutely NO cysts, yet at the age of 30, I am still struggling to maintain a weight of 78kg and cannot stop taking the pill (in order to fall pregnant) as all the cysts will return and inevitably compound the problem.
I am finding it very difficult to live with the concept that I may never have children, and the fact that I will just have to live with being obese. I still do about 6 hours of strength training and aerobic exercise a week, but I am losing the will to continue.
The only thing that helped me lose weight was my prescription anti-depressants (which conversely are the reason they help with female depression!)
I am also worried about other health risks associated with PCOD.
I would really appreciate any help/advice in this regard.

Please Help.

Kind Regards.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Angie
I am so sorry to hear about this dreadful struggle you have had with PCOS and that no matter how hard you diet and exercise you don't lose weight and now may not fall pregnant because of the threat of ovarian cysts when you stop taking the pill. If you weigh 78 kg at the moment and are 1.7 m tall, then your BMI = about 27 which is not too overweight. With all the investigations and treatments you have had to undergo, has anyone ever referred you to a dietitian? If not, please do consult a clinical dietitian to assist you with a low-GI diet (visit the Association for Dietetics in SA Website at: and click on "Find a Dietitian" to find a dietitian in your area). The dietitian will take your PCOS, medications and other conditions such as overweight and raised blood lipid levels, into account when working out a diet for you, which will be based on low-fat foods with a low glycaemic index (GI). Click on 'Diet' and 'Weight loss' and 'The Glycaemic Index' and read the articles on the GI. Also click on ‘Food as Medicine' on the Diet Site and then on ‘Type 2 diabetes’. As regards potential help with falling pregnant, I would recommend that you try to obtain assistance from a Fertility Clinic in your nearest large city.
Holding thumbs that you do fall pregnant (let me know if you do)
Best regards

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: D | 2009-02-27

Hi Angie

I have a similar problem, but my periods started at 10years of age and well only the PCOS started showing its symptoms in my early 20s, I am now 33years. What I have noticed the main difference is the amount of cysts on your ovaries, the are quite excessive. When I found out about my PCOS, (can' t take the pill for medical reasons), I had to go on a diet, I consulted a dietician and well SUGAR is my enemy as wll as sweetners and she put me on a Low GI eating plan as well, which helped, I lost about 10 kilos in 4 months, and I fell pregnant, and my cysts visibly decreased! Well since giving birth the PCOS is back with a vengence, and I am back on the diet, still early days but wont give up! Maybe as soon as you start losing and notice the decline of cysts on your ovaries, you should start planning for the pregnancy asap.
I am not being much help but I would suggest a Dietician, they can even prescribe medication to speed up the process in conjunction with your diet. Having that helping hand and extra support fighting the same enemy makes things so much easier!

Good Luck and dont lose faith please!

Reply to D
Posted by: OBSERVER | 2009-02-25

Well by the looks of it you sound like Dietdoc, So why dont you figure something out yourself?


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