PCOS and unexplained weight gain

I said I was going to do one more blot about allergies, and I will.  But we have had a guest in our home, and I thought her story might be useful to some who are visiting the BTD site because of their weight.

I’m going to be careful not to identify our guest – I’ll just call her Gina.  We have known her family since she was a little girl.  About the time she went into high school she suddenly gained a lot of weight.  Her family does not follow the BTD, but they do eat a more healthy diet than average Americans.  Her mother cooks every day, and they have lots of fruit and vegetables.  They have desserts, but certainly not every day.  Gina and her mother started an exercise program, and kept it up faithfully, but Gina continued to gain weight.

When she went off to college, she intended to watch what she ate.  But her high school acne lasted into college, and she found herself dealing with bouts of depression.

Recently she developed another, seemingly unrelated, medical problem.  It added to her frustrations, but God was going to use it for her benefit.  Gina went to her family doctor, who could not pinpoint why her periods had stopped.  He referred her to a gynecologist.  When the gynecologist had finished taking her medical history, she said, “Gina, we’re going to do some tests, but I’ll tell you what I think we will find.  I believe you have polycystic ovary syndrome.”

She went on to describe symptoms of PCOS

  • Rapid unexplained weight gain
  • Acne
  • Depression
  • Loss of menstrual periods
  • Blood sugar issues

If ignored PCOS can lead to diabetes and heart problems.

Gina had the other tests done and they confirmed that she has PCOS.  Gina’s blood sugar is in the normal range, but her insulin level is high.  The gynecologist’s first priority is to get that under control.  She put Gina on medication and a strict diet:  high protein, low carb, very low sugar, very little grain, very little fruit, no legumes, no potatoes.

Did you notice that is pretty close to how I need to eat to keep my allergies away?  However Gina is Type A, and I am Type O.

Just a few days after her diagnosis, Gina came to spend several days with me.  She and her mother laughed that visiting me was perfect, because I am used to cooking every meal for different types of diets.  Every day we experimented in the kitchen.  We fixed big, high protein breakfasts.  It was the first time Gina thought of eating fish or chicken salad for breakfast.  At home Gina doesn’t eat a lot of spicy food, so she and I experimented with using herbs to make her limited food list more palatable.

I encouraged her to stay away from red meat because she is Type A, even though her doctor said red meat was ok.  I also encouraged her when she gets back to college to take advantage of the dining hall salad bar.  She can get a variety of meat, fish, and eggs from the other stations and put them on top of a big salad.

Gina has gotten regular medical checkups all her life, but none of the doctors have ever mentioned the possibility of this syndrome.  Her particular gynecologist specializes in PCOS, and she has already warned Gina to be careful when she graduates and moves to another town because even most gynecologists are not proficient in treating it.

Perhaps you know someone who suddenly gained a lot of weight in high school.  Perhaps you have judged her and assumed that she is sneaking high calorie snacks when no one is looking, or perhaps you have thought she just needs to get up and exercise more.  Perhaps what she really needs is to be examined by a doctor who understands this syndrome and to have encouragement to eat right for both her Type and her medical condition.

Comments are closed.