Ever since I can remember I’ve had blood sugar issues, namely hypoglycemia, when I was overdue for a meal, even by a little bit.  My Dad has the same problem and my mother adopted the phrase, “feed ’em or fight ’em” when dealing with the two of us.  It’s like all of a sudden our evil twins would possess us and turn us into belligerent psychos.  Despite the fact that it was a regular occurrence, we never recognized the signs, and after we had eaten, there were apologies to give for our insane behavior.  It’s like having a multiple personality at times.

The foods I was drawn to when I was in this state were very carby and very refined.  In fact, as a child/teen, I routinely chose meals that were mostly starch with very little protein.  I ate frozen waffles with fake maple syrup most mornings, that or canned biscuits with white gravy.  When I was around 17, I became a vegetarian, but what it really should have been called was a Carbotarian.  French fries and pasta were on the menu every day and in large quantities.  This was the first time I started putting on weight, although I would have still been considered a healthy weight.  When I started college, I became very preoccupied with losing the extra weight, but I got fairly obsessive about it and got WAY too thin, probably about 95 lbs (not shocking for 5 ft, 0 inches, but still noticeably skinny, especially for me).  I got a lot of attention and praise from my family and friends for losing my “baby fat” and blossoming into a young woman (with no boobs or butt).  I lost the weight by eating lots of fat free, but high glycemic carbohydrates.  For the next 10 years, I yo-yo’ed in my weight, always trying to stay slim, and usually doing a pretty good job of it, but usually only by calorie restriction and eating “diet” foods.

When I was in 7th grade, already far into puberty, I contracted the chicken pox and got very ill.  I missed a full 6 weeks of school and lost every bit of extra fat that was on my body.  My breast buds went away and my puberty was halted for about a year while I was able to gain back my weight.  I did not get my period until the following year, long after most of my friends had gotten theirs.  It never became regular, but I was still having one every 6 weeks to 2 months.  That is until the unhealthy vegetarian eating started and I started gaining weight.  I noticed that I was getting my period less often, but I was not about to mention it to my Mom because I knew she would have made me see a doctor about it.  It was after I lost too much weight in college that my period stopped pretty much all together.  Despite not having a cycle, when I was 20, I went to the health center at college and got on birth control pills.  I failed to mention that anything was wrong with my cycle because I was worried that they would not give the BCPs to me and would want to do testing.  I continued on the pills until about 6 months before I got married at around 25 years old.  I was having migraines and intermittent depression and I just felt like it was the pills.  I stopped taking them and the symptoms went away.  I grew concerned when my period did not come back, even after most of a year.  I was concerned about my future fertility by that point and so I went to a Reproductive Endocrinologist to get checked out.  She had a hard time diagnosing me because I fit some of the criteria for both Hypothalamic Amenorrhea (what anorexics and athletes get when they do not get their period anymore) and PCOS.  I had a high LH: FSH ratio, multiple cysts on my ovaries, and acne, but I also had a very thin lining despite not having menstruated for many months and low estrogen.  I did have a light withdraw bleed with Provera, so she decided on PCOS as the diagnosis.  I think very little was known back then about PCOS, and especially Thin PCOS.  As the years have passed, there in no question in my mind that I have PCOS.

In conclusion, I began with blood sugar issues and then had one assault after another on my HPO axis – starvation from illness, eating a diet comprised almost completely of carbohydrates, disordered/restrictive eating, and years of birth control pills.  I also have Celiac Disease, which supposedly has some correlations to PCOS.  It’s no wonder that I am having a hard time getting my cycles back despite working very hard for it.  It’s a complicated medical picture for conventional and holistic practitioners alike.   It definitely confounds me.

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