Is it possible that your weight gain is caused by a hormonal imbalance? If you’re one of those people who think that you have tried everything to lose weight; and failed miserably for no apparent reason, you’re not alone. Millions of people are overweight in today’s society, and most don’t want to be that way. It seems as if everyone is always trying to lose weight. But could a hormonal imbalance really be the reason behind it? It very well could be! Hormonal imbalances are very common, and often misdiagnosed completely. One of the most common hormonal imbalances woman suffer from is PCOS, or Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. PCOS actually affects up to three in every ten woman; are you one of them?
A woman who has a hormonal imbalance may have a wide array of symptoms she is trying to treat. She may have a scalp condition such as dandruff, oil skin and acne, missed menstrual cycles, problems with fertility, and yes, weight gain! However, the same woman who has these symptoms may be seeing several doctors. She may see a gynecologist for her fertility and menstrual issues, a dermatologist for the acne and scalp condition, and a primary care doctor for any medications due to being overweight.
The problem is, most doctors do not connect the dots and see that this woman is completely out of wack, hormonally speaking of course. As a matter of fact, she is often looked at by her primary care physician as overweight and lazy, blaming her weight gain on her own lack of motivation.
How do I know? Because I was her! At sixteen years old, I was a hundred and twenty pounds, I was a size five in jeans and I could predict the very time of day I would get my menstrual cycle each month. Somewhere around seventeen, I started to gain weight rapidly. I ballooned up to one hundred and sixty pounds. I thought it was just because I “got comfortable” with my boyfriends who I was dating for about a year, and perhaps just started eating more and being less active. My menstrual cycles came about once every three months, my face was oily and I started to have a new pimple pop up when I would be due for my cycle, but never have a cycle itself.
I went to my primary doctor over and over again. I had complications from the rapid weight gain. Not only were stretch marks an issue, but my ankle would swell so bad from the fast weight gain that I couldn’t walk for days at a time. So, I saw a podiatrist, who told me fault out I just needed to lose weight and the problem would subside. I went to the gynecologist for the irregularity but all they wanted to do was put me on the birth control pill, which I was dead set against from a previous bad experience. One doctor even told me that I shouldn’t be in his office complaining that I don’t have a regular cycle if I’m not willing to accept his treatment plans (the pill) and I can thank myself for my irregularities!
Mind you, I am only a seventeen year old girl! What happened to my slim body? Finally, after switching gynecologist, I had a Doctor who referred me to a endocrinologist. From there they found out I had tiny cysts on my ovaries called Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS. Okay, great doctor, what does that mean? Well, her answer was cold and shocking. It meant that I don’t ovulate, so I am infertile and the only treatment she knows of is the pill, which of course would only make my cycle normal, but would not necessarily cure the infertility. At seventeen, being told you may not EVER be able to have children is scary. After all, I played with baby dolls until the age of twelve, I always had plans for children in my life!
Fast forward to a few years later, I found an article in a fitness magazine titled Are Your Hormones Making You Fat? Guess what the article was about? PCOS! But this article explained things a whole lot better, introduces many other medical treatments and alternative treatments as well. From there on out I have been studying about PCOS, and have not been treated by the doctor at all for it! I use healthy eating and supplements to keep it’s symptoms minimized.
By the way, the symptoms for PCOS include a huge laundry list of things. however, there are many woman that I see in passing that I can just tell have a hormonal imbalance. Not because they are over weight necessarily, but you just notice the little things. A woman who suffers from a hormonal imbalance can have facial hair. Mine are seldom, but I do pluck them as soon as they pop up! Some woman actually have male pattern baldness, a symptom I am praising God I have not dealt with! Here is a quick list of symptoms. If you have any combination of even just a few of these, I strongly recommend asking your gynecologist or primary doctor to look into checking your hormonal levels. A word of advise, look up as much information on PCOS as you can, before getting to your doctor. Most doctors don’t really understand much about PCOS, which is also why it often goes undiagnosed in so many women. Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion if you really feel this is something you may have.
List of possible symptoms:
Irregular periods or absent periods
Painful or heavy or light periods
Hair on face, stomach, thighs, arms, breasts, or other abnormal places
Difficulty losing weight
Thinning hair or male pattern baldness
High blood pressure
High cholesterol levels
Decreased sex drive
Small or uneven breast size
Here is a link to another article written on AC which also provides more first hand experience about the condition of PCOS, I highly recommend reading it. It is titled Living with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) How Living with PCOS Changes a Woman’s Life.