Navigation Links
Doctors miss major cause of infertility and obesity
Date:2/2/2010

CHICAGO -- Gail Donnelly's classmates nicknamed her "Knobby" because she was so skinny all her bones seemed to poke out from under her skin. But when Donnelly turned 27, that once knobby frame disappeared under mysteriously ballooning weight. Her diet hadn't changed, she was still walking several miles a day, but she gained 50 pounds in just six months.

Her doctor thought the cause was ovarian cysts. It took ten years and two surgeries before a new doctor accurately diagnosed her with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). It's a serious metabolic disorder and one of the major causes of hormonally related infertility, yet the disorder remains largely undiagnosed and unknown. About 5 million women in the U.S. are affected by it.

"Women are told they are too fat and aren't taken seriously for a long time," said Andrea Dunaif, M.D., the Charles F. Kettering Professor of Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. "They go to an average of four doctors before they are diagnosed. They have been to physicians who say 'there is nothing wrong with you, don't worry'."

Before she received the news about PCOS, Donnelly, an ordinarily happy person, had sunk into a deep depression and her boyfriend accused her of letting herself go.

Dunaif, a national expert, knows otherwise. The complex genetic disease has long-term health risks throughout a woman's lifespan, including obesity and double the rate of metabolic syndrome, a constellation of risk factors for diabetes and heart disease.

Not only women are affected. Dunaif recently published a paper showing that brothers and fathers of women with PCOS also have a greater prevalence of obesity and metabolic syndrome. "It's essential that women and men are diagnosed and treated for this," Dunaif said.

She recently was awarded a $5 million, two-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue her ongoing research into the syndrome's genetic causes.

Symptoms of PCOS in women often show up in adolescence and may include irregular periods and excess hair on the face, chest or back all caused by high levels of male hormones.

Dunaif blames the syndrome's low profile on its name. "It has the word ovary in the name and that has led people to think it's just 'female' troubles and nothing important," she said.

PCOS gets its name from the small ovarian cysts found in the first women studied, though not all women who suffer from PCOS have these cysts. Dunaif would like to rename the syndrome "Syndrome XX" to bring it into the spotlight.

After Dunaif began treating Donnelly with medication for insulin resistance which had caused her rapid weight gain -- Donnelly's excess pounds dropped off and she was able to become pregnant. "If I had known about this sooner, my life would have been entirely different," Donnelly said.

She couldn't take the medication when she was pregnant or nursing, however, so her weight soared 80 pounds with each pregnancy. At one point, she weighed 280 pounds. Of her struggle with PCOS, she said, "It's like having a battle with my body at all times."

Now a 40 year-old mother of three from the Chicago suburbs, Donnelly worries about her children inheriting the disease. She realizes many of her relatives -- who developed diabetes as adults -- likely had PCOS.


'/>"/>

Contact: Marla Paul
marla-paul@northwestern.edu
312-503-8928
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Diabetes patients rank health concerns differently than their doctors, U-M survey shows
2. Doctors Tell Lawmakers to Find a New GAMC Fix
3. Biomarker could help doctors tailor treatment for rheumatoid arthritis
4. Doctors: Memorable or Forgettable? 4 Steps to a High Visibility Practice
5. Tired Doctors Need More Rest According to New York Medical Malpractice Attorney, David Perecman
6. Transplant tourism poses ethical dilemma for US doctors
7. Doctors develop life-saving, low-cost ventilators for emergency, rural and military use
8. Greenfaith Ministry Calls on Churches & Doctors, to Address all Cannabis Issues and Regulation
9. Scientology Volunteer Ministers and Haitian-American Doctors and EMTs Heading to Disaster Zone
10. Dr. Constantine Frantzides Named One of Americas Top Doctors
11. New Cancer Information Available on MyBiopsy.org from the Doctors Who Diagnose Cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/26/2016)... Lake Orion, Clarkston, Michigan (PRWEB) , ... June ... ... direction with respect to fertility once they have been diagnosed with endometriosis. These ... tolerable intercourse but they also require a comprehensive approach that can help for ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... FL (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton Memorial ... Plant City Observer , brings up a new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: the ... closing for fumigation is not a common occurrence, but a necessary one in the event ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... As a lifelong Southern Californian, Dr. Omkar Marathe ... from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He trained in Internal Medicine ... his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program where he had the ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Montreal, Canada (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... the pursuit of success. In terms of the latter, setting the bar too high ... low, risk more than just slow progress toward their goal. , Research from ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... June 19, 2016 is World Sickle Cell Observance Day. In ... benefits of holistic treatments, Serenity Recovery Center of Marne, Michigan, has issued ... Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a disorder of the red blood cells, which can ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; ... for its Elecsys BRAHMS PCT (procalcitonin) assay as a ... septic shock. With this clearance, Roche is the first ... integrated solution for sepsis risk assessment and management. ... infection and PCT levels in blood can aid clinicians ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Capricor Therapeutics, Inc. ... company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization ... in its ongoing randomized HOPE-Duchenne clinical trial (Halt ... its 24-patient target. Capricor expects the trial to ... 2016, and to report top line data from ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- Bracket , a leading clinical trial technology and ... platform, Bracket eCOA (SM) 6.0, at the 52 nd ... 2016 in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania.  A demonstration ... of its kind to fully integrate with RTSM, will be ... is a flexible platform for electronic clinical outcomes assessments that ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: