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Advice for Girlfriend with Possible PCOS


#1

I'm looking for some help for my girlfriend's (serious relationship) hormonal problems, I know KSman is knowledgeable on these matters. I love her very much, and I would like her hormones to be operating optimally. I would appreciate some advice from any possible experts on this board or another board that could help.

My girlfriend is 21 years old. She is overweight, probably about 5'3"-5'6" and 190-200 lbs. She has had facial acne for a few years now, and has recently been getting black hairs on her chin, with darker hairs also becoming visible on her upper lip and side burns. Her periods have been irregular for the last year, and she hasn't been on birth control pills for at least a year. She has a few long black hairs growing around her nipples and chest, and has hair growing under her belly button. The backs of her legs/butt have noticable darker hairs growing. I've noticed recently that the hair at the sides of her hairline on her forehead is looking a little thinner, much like how mine does (MPB).

All of this has me concerned, and I haven't brought up that I've noticed this things and suspected she has high androgens because I don't want to make her feel bad. She has been experiencing pains her sides that I have wanted her to get checked out for a while, so she went to the obgyn doctor last week.

The doctor commented on the dark hairs on her chin and abdomen during the initial examination, and brought up the possibility of her ovaries producing too much androgen. The doctor did an ultrasound of her ovaries and uterus and found no abnormal shape, position, or cysts present on the ovaries.

However, PCOS can still be present with normal looking ovaries. She wasn't officially diagnosed with PCOS, and probably doesn't even know what it is. The doctor also said that the lining of her uterus was a little on the thicker side. I was not present at the appointment, but my girlfriend told me this. The doctor prescribed her birth control pills (lo loestrin I think) for this.

She is naturally a bigger framed girl, probably would be healthy and curvy at 130-145 pounds. She has naturally very feminine hips, they are one of my favorite features about her. However, recently she seems to be losing some of her feminine shape, and I know these hormonal problems are to blame.

I love my girlfriend very much, and I do not want her to have these problems. She is very self conscious about this, and its hard to talk about these things with her without her feeling embarrassed and sometimes crying. I know weight loss is helpful for women with PCOS, and she has lost 7 pounds in the last 2 weeks from eating better. I am looking for any advice for how to deal with PCOS, and maybe some advice for me on how to talk to her about these ideas.

Thank you


#2

Have her get a full hormone panel for women. It should test for androgens as well as other vital sex hormones.


#3

[quote]Slasher917 wrote:
Have her get a full hormone panel for women. It should test for androgens as well as other vital sex hormones. [/quote]

Can this be done while she is taking birth control?

Its difficult to try to micromanage someone else’s health, I don’t know if I will be able to get her to have this done without making her feel incredibly self conscious. I guess she’s not the type like most on this board that want to take their health into their own hands and try to get to the source of problems. I wish I could inspire her to do this.

Any ideas on how to suggest that she gets blood work done?


#4

DISCLAIMER:

I have no real life experience with any of this. All just based on the reading I have done on hormones over the years.

Is she experiencing things that she talks to you about? If so you can try suggesting to her that it could be a hormonal issue, and that you frequent these boards and that she could check her hormones (not specifically androgens). And then at that point you can try to handle getting the specific blood-work for her. Again I understand she may feel uncomfortable about the androgen thing, but you also don’t have to bring that up. Try explaining to her that just an imbalance in hormones in general can cause issues and that it’s not that uncommon and easily curable.

Edit: Birth control effects hormones. You may want to try doing this while off it to be safe.


#5

I came out of hiding just to give my two cents, sorry if its LONG. Unfortunately, PCOS and all the various issues that can accompany it, are issues I’m too familiar with.

Condensed story is, grew up an athlete, played soccer from age of 5 til high school competitively; and played other sports too, club volleyball & tennis. I was an active kid. But I was always muscular fat, thick, curvy (large chest, booty etc.) not flubberly fat, only fat around the abdomen (no one understood how that could have been with the level of training I was doing). It all began around puberty, so I always had irregular periods. I trained like any competitive athlete; but back then, it was a lot of cardio and diet wise a lot of refined carbs. This lead to a lot of over-training & distorted eating i.e. near starvation because of the mantra train more, eat less (doesn’t work for people who have hormone problems). A lot of yo-yoing, going to experts (traditional nutritionist) that didn’t know anything about PCOS (it wasn’t even in the realm of thought), so no diagnosis all throughout high school.

Fast forward, started really lifting in college, but was still not honed in on diet, at least, the right diet (nutrition) for my unique issues. I started a traditional bodybuilding training and dieting (clean eating). I saw some results, I started this around the same time, I began here on T-Nation. But with that came a lot of supplementation that I should have probably been more knowledgeable about before beginning (i.e. fat burners, pre-workouts etc.)

Anyways, I transitioned from Clean Eating to Anabolic Diet, Velocity for its intended purpose and then to Keto-clean. All worked in their own way, but I always hit a wall. I realized that I got the best results when I watched (refined) carbs (near ketosis or in ketosis) but if truthful, still not eating enough but training a lot. About 4 years ago I was at my worst, stressful job situation & family financial issues, back injury (pinched nerve) from a job related injury, I hit the wall hard. I started seeing really bad symptoms besides the irregular periods: fatigue, losing/thinning hair along hairline,scalp psoriasis, uncontrollable weight gain (highest weight), male-pattern hair growth (chin etc.)

The last two years, I cut everything out, all supplementation. My adrenals were probably also shot from all the caffeine from abusing pre-workouts & fat burners. I went strict Paleo, mostly because I believe the body knows how to heal itself and when you have hormonal problems not eating food products laden with chemicals and hormones helps with not stressing the already stressed out system. In my opinion, its the best possible way to eat for my issues and respectively PCOS. I started seeing a Dr. who understood PCOS, she finally diagnosed me. I found out I was hypothyroid and insulin resistant. She put me on Cytomel & Metformin. Within that year, my hormones were restored and all my symptoms subsided or are gone, periods are back or finally regular without progesterone and I lost 40lbs (which was a huge accomplishment, because just looking at a refined carb made me gain 5lbs overnight), still maintained muscle and built on strength (I’ll never have a problem with that) through the whole process. Currently, I am a 80/20 Paleo (so still no refined carbs, actually I have a wheat allergy and lactose intolerant, but I’ll have a dirty carb up when I get too low), also eat the right amount of calories for my body & activity. I do a body part split 3-4x a week HEAVY lifts routine, either 1 HIIT or 1 LONG CARDIO a week (cardio very sparingly, this has to do with not stressing the system). In the last two months, I lost another 20lbs and expect to be at “ideal” by mid May early June 2015 that is if my body doesn’t plateau (but that’s a normal part of fat loss). I just reintroduced supplementation about 2 months ago (beef base protein powder and pre-workout sparingly). I expect to be off everything and not have any issues with PCOS ever.

I hope this helps. Its been a long journey, and I’m hoping by sharing this. Your girlfriend will not have to suffer as long as I did. I chronicled everything from the last two years on my blog: http://fitrosed.blogspot.com/


#6

Thank you Sportyrose


#7

Thyroid is often a component. I will not refresh my knowledge to post on this.

You can start with:
https://www.google.com/search?q=pcos+thyroid&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8