I have a weak spot for programmes like Channel 4’s “Embarrassing Fat Bodies”. Generally, I view them as relatively good informational programmes. And then I take a reality check.
Quite aside from the fear-mongering about being overweight (which is a rant for a different time), the first episode really concerned me because of the misinformation about Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
PCOS is caused by cysts on the ovaries, which can cause many hormone imbalances, like extra hair, weight changes, very few or very heavy periods and infertility. I know this because my Mum has it.
The show was of course focussing on being “fat”. Being overweight is often a symptom of PCOS, but the show only said that they were “linked” – implying that if you are fat, you will become infertile.
The is completely false.
With PCOS, you are more likely to experience large changes in weight than being fact. You can fluctuate hugely between sizes, which can of course wreak havoc on your body. THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN BECAUSE YOU ARE FAT. “Embarrassing Fat Bodies” imply that it’s the reverse, and made me irate.
My Mum is certainly overweight, but even this isn’t because of the PCOS. In fact, it’s due to the Pill. which has been a life-saver to my Mum (almost literally – she lost so much blood from one period that she fainted mid-exam in school). The Pill regulates the imbalanced hormone levels, which means that you maintain the weight that you are at when you start the Pill.
This doesn’t regulate fertility, so imagine how frustrated I was with the programme when they said that if this woman lost weight, she could have children. Dr. Dawn was selling a lie to this poor woman. Weight in non-PCOS women may change rates of fertility, but in women who have it, weight is a result of (possible) decreased levels of infertility. Many women who are having treatment (i.e. the Pill) for PCOS may never lose weight – I know my Mum finds it very difficult to lose weight, and she wants to lose it so badly. Even IF women with PCOS lose weight, it would have little to no effect on fertility levels.
I should probably point out that I’m a fertility-drug-baby, and my sisters are test-tube-babies. Because of this, I believe that the best advice Dr. Dawn could have given in relation to her fertility is to look at fertility treatment.
The rest of the advice given I cannot possibly comment on, but I have certainly been left disillusioned with the capabilities of these TV doctors.