• PCOS Vitality (c)

There has been much debate on the word “healthy” since the publication of Cosmopolitan’s February 2021 issue which featured the tag “This is healthy!” and an accompanying article. The article begins by explaining how healthy can be a loaded word, comparing it to that of a fingerprint.

This really got me thinking about what it is to be healthy, what it means for me.. Well, for me, it means managing symptoms in relation to PCOS and preventing long term comorbidities associated with PCOS & Obesity. PCOS is a common disorder, affecting approximately 1 in 5 women, but you ask anyone of them what it is to be healthy and you could easily hear thousands of different definitions.

Health is a subjective concept. It is what it means to you. Health sits on a continuum, constantly changing as we develop across the lifespan. Health goes beyond an absence of illness, we acknowledge now the importance of psychological wellbeing. Health really cannot be reduced to one denominator which it often is & unfortunately for many people that common denominator is weight.

Outcries of “glorifying obesity” emerged subsequent to this publication. Is it possible that people can be healthy and have obesity? It depends I suppose which lens you are looking through. Perhaps the bigger question here is not what it is but who decides what healthy is? Is the word loaded with power?

Let’s use myself as an example. I consider myself to be healthy but I have PCOS and Obesity. I do not have any other conditions. My Doctor on the other hand would think I was unhealthy. My parents? they would perhaps consider me unhealthy too because of my weight. Then there is society, how would I be judged? Most likely as the women in the article were judged. Even then society is divided, so too is the medical community.

What does this tell us? That health is socially constructed & complex and there are issues of power within health that are reflected in the language we use about our bodies. Some of these women are taking back that power. They may be finding it empowering to do so and this in turn, for them, gives them health. We really must stop conflating weight with health.

After all, there is a wide range of factors at many levels influencing and determining people’s health including wide inequalities and social & environmental factors. Should we try instead to understand what it means to that person, the individual, to be healthy? Ultimately you decide about your health but it doesn’t stop others having opinions on it.

© PCOS Vitality 2021

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  • PCOS Vitality (c)

Pseudoscience is rampant in social media including negative comments about the contraceptive pill & metformin being used to help people with their PCOS symptoms. It is increasingly concerning that this creates a culture of “pill-shaming”.

PCOS affects individuals differently. There is no cure for PCOS so the best outlook is good symptom management. These symptoms will vary across the lifespan as will treatment needs. There is a need to accept that the complexity of PCOS in a diverse population will mean there may never be one global solution for all. So, it is important not to be judged for treatment choices.

Each woman & person with PCOS is at a different stage in their PCOS journey, continually learning and evolving. So, whether someone needs anti-depressants, metformin, orlistat, contraceptive pills or any other medication they shouldn’t be judged. There is no shame in using what works for you. In fact, there are benefits and risks to all medications so it is unfair to suggest that people shouldn’t try them for themselves. With relation to some conditions associated with PCOS, such as Type 2 Diabetes, there may not be a choice. Or, for example, if someone has Endometrial Hyperplasia in PCOS you may have to take OCPs/Mirena to keep the womb lining thin. Indeed, some people find that the pill can help balance hormones while reducing hair and acne. No-one should be made feel guilt for having to use these options at all.

Bear in mind, social media accounts may be offering services or selling something marketed for women and people with PCOS. Sometimes being on medication is vital, so never discontinue any medication suddenly before speaking to your healthcare provider. Ask yourself whose best interests the social media marketers have at heart? Be informed through reliable sources and always always consult your Doctor on your goals whether it involves a pill or otherwise.

© PCOS Vitality 2021

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  • PCOS Vitality (c)

Regaine is the trade name for a cutaneous scalp foam that contains the active ingredient Minoxidil (50mg/g). Minoxidil is a medicine that is thought to work by aiding the blood flow to hair follicles on your scalp. The product packaging states that it is for women aged 18-65 with a family history of hair loss who have general thinning of hair at the top of the scalp (vertex) to use once a day. It does advise that if you have more loss than this it may not work. It is not suitable for all – so check the package details carefully & check with your GP before commencing use. There are many warnings about the use of this product so if you want to try it please follow all the guidelines and leaflet instructions that accompany the foam.

One of our Cysters kindly trialled this product. Here are her thoughts on it...

The product is very easy to use but once you apply it your hair looks wet and sticky. So I applied it at night, then let it dry before going to bed. The product looks just like a regular can of hair mousse that you squeeze a small amount into your hand and apply directly to the scalp. You wash your hands before and after application. Only ever apply it to your scalp – no other areas of the body. Your hair must be dry when applying the foam mousse and you mustn’t apply too much as this can cause side effects. The volume of half a capful is plenty. Part your hair so that you can easily apply the foam to the scalp (not your hair). You use your fingertips then to spread the foam over the area of hair loss until it disappears. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Allow the foam to dry completely especially if applied before going to bed. Only apply once a day.

Overall, I found I had to use it for a while before I noticed any visible results but it definitely worked for me. The only downside is the cost. It is a little bit expensive at nearly £35 a pop, but I do think it is worth it.

One can applied according to the instructions should last approximately 2 months. The leaflet that accompanies the product also states that it has not been trialled for longer than 24 weeks which is a bit disappointing as I'm not sure then if I can continue using it beyond that safely.

If you are interested in finding out more details you can visit their website here;

and watch a video about it here;

© PCOS Vitality 2021

DISCLAIMER: This blog is a product review. Not medical advice. Always consult your doctor.

Warning Regaine is a medicine and the packaging says some people should NOT use it so you must read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and seek advice from a doctor or pharmacist before use as it can cause serious side effects. It must not be used by MEN and you must be careful not to use too much. Please see packaging for full details & precautions. This does not replace medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you are experiencing hair loss to have it investigated.

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