There is a book that we carry here at Green Mountain called “Screaming to be Heard: Hormonal Connections Women Suspect, and Doctors Still Ignore” by Elizabeth Vliet, MD. The title pretty much says it all, and it’s for those women that have repeatedly heard “it’s all in your head” from their doctors.
One of those syndromes that are often not recognized is called “polycystic ovarian syndrome” with a couple of aka’s – PCOS, metabolic syndrome or Syndrome X, which is the name for the collection of symptoms that is caused by insulin resistance.
While I know personally the desire to have your doctor listen and help you, I’ve also come the realization that the help that they can provide can be limited, especially with lifestyle related issues. Let me explain.
Since a car accident a number of years ago, I’ve suffered with soft tissue pain and a bulging spinal disc that has hindered my ability to maintain the level of exercise I need to manage my diabetes and general health. I finally got a referral to a “back specialist” who had me bend over and touch my toes – which I could easily do, but as I did it I told him that he wouldn’t be around at midnight when I would be writhing on the floor in pain (classic bulging disc behavior, the pain comes much after the action). He told me that at “my age” (I was 36 at the time) I had to expect some “aches and pains.”
So I had to figure this thing out on my own, especially after I realized that this fellow couldn’t offer me any kind of solution that was acceptable to me anyway! I’ve limped along (pun intended) for several years now, having to “baby” my back, and never being able to get to the fitness level that I wanted. Part of “babying” was to go to the chiropractor whenever I had some aches and pains, and to cut back on any movement. As I’ve learned to listen more to my body, I realized that moving – even if there was some soreness – was more helpful to me than a chiropractic adjustment or therapeutic massage.
In the same way, when I got PCOS diagnosis – after 25 years of problems – I kept wanting someone to listen and help…then I figured out that the best help would come from me. I found that small changes make a big difference in my quality of life – and there are studies that say I’m right.
From Green Mountain’s PCOS information page,
“According to many studies, women with polycystic ovarian syndrome can improve their insulin resistance just with moderate activity. Even if you exercise and don’t lose weight, you are still reaping very important health benefits. Exercise has been shown to improve use of insulin and can support dietary interventions to promote weight loss; it is important that the exercise program chosen is enjoyable.”