When I was 19-years-old I began experiencing
irregular periods, and then this former skinny girl started putting on a tremendous amount of weight (30-lbs in 5 months).
The dietician and gynecologist at my college clinic told me it was my diet (although I could only afford beans and spaghetti)
and stress. I changed my diet by started adding fruits, vegetables, and a little bit of calcium. I lost 3 or 4 pounds, but
my periods remained irregular. I often went 6 months without one. Between November 1996 and November 1997, I didn't have any.
When I was 22, I got a real job with real insurance and saw a "real" gynecologist (a supposed infertility specialist).
She ran lots of blood tests on me and performed two endometrial biopsies on me from 1994-1997. All the tests came back normal,
so she didn't have a "medical" basis for my irregular periods and infertility. Each time I left her office, she would tell
that I wasn't ovulating because I was overweight. She didn't even ask me about my primarily low-fat, lean meat, and dairy-free
diet. To her, I wasn't getting my period or able to conceive because I was fat. "There's nothing I can do for you except tell
you to join Weight Watchers," She said finally.
After three years of having my soul shattered by my gyn, I left her
and saw a midwife/nurse practioner. The midwife saw no correlation between my weight and my irregular periods (my internist
didn't either). The midwife thought it was stress, and instructed me to keep a Basal Body Temperture chart to see if I was
ovulating (an option never brought up by my old gyn). She also suggested two herbal rememdies, Motherwort to regulate menstrual
cycles and False Unicorn Root which acts as fertility drug. Three months of charting revealed that I was having anovulatory
periods or ovulating irregularly. The midwife then suggested another gyn.
My new gyn redid the blood tests, tested
to see if my tubes were blocked (using a test informally known as HSG-- a test in which a dye is shot into the uterus and
an x-ray charts if the dye goes through the fallopian tubes), and performed an ultrasound. He also thought to test my husband
as well (who knew infertility wasn't all the woman's fault?!). Everything was normal except that the ultrasound had picked
up tiny little cysts on my ovaries. This is called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Some of the primary symptoms may include
excessive hair on the abdomen, chin, upper lip or cheeks, obesity, irregular periods, anovulatory periods and infertility.
Other symptoms may also include insulin resistance, acne, and heavy periods.
I exhibited all of these symptoms, but
my old gyn never took me seriously when I pointed them out. When my new gyn, Dr. M, diagnosed me I became a new person. I
was relieved and renewed.
To combat the PCOS, he prescribed a fertility drug called Clomid--not the drug taken by
the mother of the septuplets in Iowa. Clomid forces ovulation, allowing an egg to be released for fertilization. Sometimes
Clomid is taken with other drugs.
I have developed this website to get the word out to the chubby folks who do not
receive thorough care because they are overweight. Imagine if I hadn't the confidence to question my original gyn or seek
a new one? I also wanted to inform people about Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, which wasn't mentioned in many of the women's health
books I read over the years. Did you know that 6%-10% of premenopausal women suffer from PCOS? Most women with PCOS develop
symptoms in their teens (between 15-19 years old). Have the courage to question your doctors, and never take "just lose weight"
as treatement advice.
Please use these links to learn more and find support. You may also e-mail me with your stories
or leave private messages in my guestbook if you want to talk; suggest coping advice; or to suggest other links. KNOWLEDGE
IS POWER. You are the master of your fate, the captain of your soul. I really look forward to hearing from you. For those
who have already written, thank you for your support.