Archive for PCOS
Sam Meredith, 22 years old
“It was Elaine who suggested that I be tested for PCOS after I was attending her for a few months with weight problems. I was finally diagnosed when I was 19 years of age.
I had been having irregular periods for a number of years and, when I did get periods, they tended to be extremely painful.
The acne and the problem of not being able to lose weight, even though I was trying, left me feeling very down and depressed all the time. Even though I had all of these symptoms, I never really thought that it could all be connected so if I had not been attending Elaine then I would never have been diagnosed.
When I was deciding what I was going to do to lose the weight a few friends had suggested things like Weight Watchers and Unislim, but I know that if I had tried one of those I would not stick to it. I think the idea of a one-on-one appointment, where everything is suited just to your needs is a much better way to go and I knew that was the only way I was going to lose any weight.
I started going to see Elaine in 2006. At the beginning I went every two to three weeks. I still go to see her now every five to six weeks as it is the only way I feel I will keep the weight down and she always has great advice and ideas to help you out if you do happen to hit a patch where the weight loss levels off.
Elaine loves what she does, she puts so much effort into her work and she knows how to get you motivated and keep you on track. If you go to visit her and you’ve lost weight she gives you such a boost that that it makes you want to just keep going, and when you may have had a bad week or so Elaine would always have something new to try or some other great words of wisdom to put you back on track so it never seems boring like a lot of diets around do.
To date I have lost just over four and a half stone under Elaine’s guidance. I have so much more confidence now, whereas I had none before I lost the weight. I have so much more energy, and generally just feel a lot better about myself. My skin has cleared up big time and my periods are now regular so they’re not as painful which is a huge help!
I try to walk whenever I get a chance and to keep up the healthy eating as much as I can. I had planned on joining a gym but I think that is quite hard to maintain, whereas the walking can be done whenever and wherever you like.
“Thanks to Elaine, I was fi nally diagnosed with PCOS and her treatment plan brought about more regular periods, clearer skin, a weight loss of four and a half stone and more confidence - I couldn’t ask for more!”
I am now going on to study to be a dietitian myself as Elaine’s insight and encouragement has been a huge inspiration to me. My life has improved dramatically as a result of consulting with Elaine and that has led me to develop a real interest into the link between diet and health.”
What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a health problem that can affect a woman’s menstrual cycle, ability to have children, hormones, heart, blood vessels, and even her appearance (with weight gain and acne being among the symptoms). About one in ten women of childbearing age has PCOS, and it is the most common cause of female infertility.
What causes PCOS?
It is not known why some women develop PCOS but it is believed that genes could play a part. Researchers also think that insulin could be linked to PCOS. Insulin is a hormone that controls the change of sugar, starches and other food into energy for the body to use or store. For many women with PCOS, their bodies have problems using insulin so that too much insulin is present in the body. Excess insulin appears to increase production of androgen – levels of androgen that are higher than normal can lead to acne, excessive hair growth, weight gain and problems with ovulation.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms are many and varied – some women may have irregular menstrual cycles or may have difficulty getting pregnant, while others may also struggle to lose excess weight, have unwanted facial and body hair, thinning hair, ovarian cysts, adult acne, depression, pelvic pain and serious medical conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure), Type II diabetes and heart disease, if left untreated. It is important to consult with your GP if you have any of these symptoms.
What is the treatment for PCOS?
Because there is no ‘cure’ for PCOS, it needs to be managed to prevent associated problems. For women who are not trying to get pregnant, a doctor may prescribe birth control pills with an anti-androgen to help reduce symptoms. The drug Metformin, usually used to treat type II diabetes, has also been found to help with PCOS symptoms and to stimulate ovulation so your doctor may prescribe this. You could also explore the possibility of using alternative, natural remedies to alleviate certain symptoms.
How does Elaine Treat Symptoms of PCOS?
Since PCOS is a hormonal issue, it causes many women to experience problems with losing weight. The increase in hormones can cause a woman to gain excess weight or simply struggle to maintain her weight when dieting and exercising. “Keeping a healthy weight by eating healthy foods is another way to help manage PCOS,” says Elaine. “I treat many women with PCOS who are overweight. I study their food diaries and highlight their weak areas. I then devise a diet plan which guides them towards a healthier, lower GI diet, one that is focused on fewer processed foods and foods with added sugars. The plan relies heavily on wholegrain options, fruits, vegetables and lean meats to help lower blood sugar levels, improve the body’s use of insulin and normalise hormone levels in the body. The results are usually extremely positive, as is Sam’s case on page 1. I have discovered that even a 10 per cent loss in body weight can have a huge effect – with many women finding that their cycle becomes more regular and symptoms are reduced. So I can tell my clients that there is good news – with proper treatment and lifestyle changes, it is possible for women with PCOS to lead an active, normal life.”