I've been thinking about my appointment towards the end of the month and I'm beginning to have some reservations. I hope this will finally be the one that I can count on to treat the symptoms and not the appearance. So many times in the past I've had doctors who just shrug me off as being overweight and only offer the advice “if you lose weight, you'll have normal periods.” While that my be in part true, there are much more sinister symptoms at work.
I have to know “why.” I will not simply just accept this from a doctor who supposedly specializes in PCOs. I honestly, wholeheartedly believe there is something much more to the puzzle that is my body than a simple “lose weight, feel great,” explanation.
I know there is. There has to be. I spent several months busting my ass on a low calorie/low fat diet only to lose four pounds (in the past, not recently- lol). I've done the whole weight watchers bit. I've even considered surgery (despite my MS). I know there is a missing link in the puzzle. Why?
Because the only time I've had a period in the last four or so years is when I've been on steroids. I'm not sure if it's the solumedrol (IV) or the prednisone that is responsible, but something is. Each time I've been on steroids I have one cycle and then as soon as I'm off them, I don't have anymore. There has to be something there. Some sort of explanation hidden in the recesses of my adrenal or pituitary glands. Something isn't working right and the steroids only help to kick it into gear.
There has to be another connection. Has there been a study done on the number of women who have MS that also have PCOs? Three quarters of the 400,000 people who have MS are women. According to womenshealth.gov, “between 1 in 10 and 1 in 20 women of childbearing age has PCOS. As many as 5 million women in the United States may be affected.” Of the women who have MS there has to be women out there that also have PCOs.
Studies have shown that some women who have PCOs are deficient in a hormone called estrogen. This same hormone has been shown to, if given at a steady flow (especially to pregnant MSers) actually help women with MS (some researchers state that the best treatment for women with MS is pregnancy). There's also the connection between women with PCOs taking corticosteroids in order to lower their androgen (male hormone) levels. This is the hormone, when at a higher level in women, results in a lack of menstruation, weight gain, acne and hirsutism (excessive facial hair).
So would an effective treatment be something like, estrogen and prednisone, as well as my rebif? If it doesn't work, what does it hurt? If it does work, maybe some doctor out there will get a research paper on PCOs and MS published. Who knows? The bottom line is that all I want, right now, is a doctor who will actually listen to me. I don't make excuses for my weight, I know it has a lot to do with poor diet and lack of exercise but I also know there are other factors at play. Will this new doctor finally be the one to listen? Will she order the proper tests? Will she do an MRI of my adrenal and pituitary gland? I'm not sure, but I'll keep hoping.