Book Review: A Patient’s Guide to PCOS

The nice thing about this little health issue is that it’s got me immersed in reading again–and I’m reading surprisingly fast considering these are rather dry medical/health books. A couple weeks ago, I finished reading the first in a series of books about Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) in hopes of better understanding how my body works and what I need to do to make it work more effectively and efficiently.

The first book I read was A Patient’s Guide to PCOS: Understanding and Reversing Polycystic Ovary Syndrome by Walter Futterweit, M.D. with George Ryan.

Quite honestly, I picked it because it seemed comprehensive and I liked the dude’s name. Who said you can’t judge a book by it’s cover?

This seemed like a good one-stop shop and overview of PCOS. Chapters address:

  • what it is
  • health impact of PCOS
  • PCOS’s relation to insulin resistance
  • how to get a diagnosis (This includes information about a number of tests that are often ordered to determine whether a woman has PCOS. It also includes health issues that appear to be similar to PCOS, which will help readers who have received a PCOS diagnosis but suspect something else is going on.)
  • diet and exercise
  • the impact of PCOS on skin and hair (some women start balding or have thinning hair, others have increased facial hair and acne)
  • the emotional impact of PCOS
  • getting and staying pregnant (women with PCOS have difficulty in getting pregnant and those who do get pregnant have higher than average likelihood of miscarrying)

The book has mostly easy to understand medical information with case studies interspersed. Additionally, there are numerous online resources, such as support groups like The Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Association.

A Patient’s Guide to PCOS also had a suggested diet and meal plan for PCOS sufferers struggling to lose weight. This is the diet I’ve loosely followed over the past week. Futterweit describes WHY women with PCOS should avoid certain foods, essentially recommending that women with PCOS follow a diet with a low glycemic index, due to how insulin resistance impacts weight loss.

No lie: it’s an easy to prepare/plan for diet, but it is NOT easy to stick to. Futterweit recommends an 1100 calorie a day diet. I’m struggling with 1200-1300. Here is my first post about my new diet and here is information on what exactly I’m doing.

I do want to learn more about the diet aspect of PCOS, which is why I’m going to read two more books that address this more specifically. They are:

  • Syndrome X: The Complete Nutritional Plan to Prevent and Reverse Insulin Resistance
  • The New Glucose Revolution Guide to Living Well with PCOS

Overall, Futterweit writes a decent book which is a good first step for those trying to figure out what in the world is happening to their body.

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