“Bottom line is, even if you see them coming, you're not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does.
So, what are we, helpless? Puppets? Nah. The big moments are gonna come, you can't help that. It's what you do afterwards that counts. That's
when you find out who you are." - Joss Whedon

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

PCOS - A Patient's Guide (A Book Review by Sherilan )

Walter Futterweit, M.D., author of the book "A Patient's Guide to PCOS: Understanding and Reversing Polycystic Ovary Syndrome", has extensive experience helping OB/GYN patients with PCOS.  
My "take home" points that I got from the book were about diet, exercise and weight all with an underlying issue regarding insulin. PCOS patients are insulin resistant.  Insulin is produced by the body to deal with glucose in the blood.  Insulin resistant individuals produce more insulin than usual. Increased insulin levels affect hormone levels such as producing more testosterone that may cause increased facial/body hair, increased hair loss, and infertility among other things.  It is NOT diabetes but PCOS patients have an increased risk of developing diabetes.
Increased blood-glucose levels lead to increased insulin levels. To control insulin levels and keep them from being too high, diet is crucial. Glucose is sugar from carbohydrates.  Blood-glucose levels increase most rapidly when someone has eaten sugary foods or refined grain products such as white flour or white rice.  Thus a PCOS needs to remove these items from their diet.  Dr. Futterweit suggests few carbohydrates in the diet, all of which should come from whole grains which turn to glucose much slower in the digestive system.  A focus is placed on low-fat protein and vegetables.  Smaller and more frequent meals are also encouraged.  Carbohydrate snacks are discouraged, but if you eat carbohydrates make them whole grain and always include protein with your snack or meal.  The protein further helps blood-glucose levels from increasing too quickly.  Examples; eat an apple with peanut butter, eat whole grain crackers with tuna fish.  Fruit is full of sugar and should be eaten sparingly for a PCOS patient.  The book includes menu ideas for meals as well as snacks which are very helpful.
When insulin levels are high, such as in a PCOS, patient a period of time after having eaten a high carb snack, then blood-glucose levels are low after having been high and the individual then craves more carbs.  Protein rich snacks with whole grains are the best option to prevent this cycle.  This cycle creates increased average weights in PCOS individuals and Dr. Futterweit explains that to get hormone levels at more normal levels the individual should get the extra weight off.  Exercise daily is strongly pushed.  Exercise helps with healthy hormone levels and in getting the weight off which also helps with healthy hormone levels.  Eating healthy and decreased portions are also encouraged for decreasing weight.
Dr. Futterweit encourages Metformin strongly (over 1000 mg per day) to help with insulin levels. If this cocktail of diet, decreased weight, exercise and metformin still leaves you without a baby, Clomid can possibly help.  If Clomid hasn't worked for you in the past the combination may be what you need.
This helpful book also has sections on hair loss, facial hair and other troublesome symptoms of the PCOS patient and how to deal with them.  It also covers diagnosis.
This is a great read full of valuable information for the PCOS patient.  Other's have said it's the best PCOS book out there about infertility.  I would agree. I strongly recommend it!! A little over a year after embracing the concepts within this book we welcomed a beautiful baby girl into our family!  Good luck! 
Sherilan Shurtleff