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Why are doctors keeping PCOS patients in the dark?

Most women with PCOS are offered two choices by their doctor: lose weight or take birth control drugs. But for Drew Baird, also known as social media sensation The PCOS Mentor, medical professionals are kicking the can down the road and need to put the health of their patients front and centre by educating them on the lifestyle changes that can alleviate many of the most severe symptoms
Drew Baird
Drew Baird

Drew Baird is the PCOS Mentor, an online social media influencer and expert in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), offering lifestyle interventions and dietary advice to improve symptoms of the condition. He is a qualified personal trainer and founder of Health and Balance Vitamins. Follow him on Instagram. Visit handbvitamins.co.uk.

Take back control of your PCOS!

Unfiltered sat down with Drew Baird, AKA The PCOS Mentor, to discover how a self-confessed gym bro become of social media’s most trusted and respected experts on Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, and what he rates as the best supplements for PCOS sufferers.

This transcript has been taken from our video interview with The PCOS Mentor. It has been edited for clarity and brevity. You can watch the full video interview here.

Are you cross or frustrated with the lack of time, care and help medical professionals give to women dealing with health issues such as PCOS or the menopause?

Yes, but I think the same is true for men’s health. I was speaking to a guy at the gym yesterday who has genetically low testosterone. He went to his doctor who gave the advice of go look online for things to naturally increase your testosterone. So he got completely palmed off.

Women with PCOS are still pretty much told to lose weight or go on birth control. But we know that birth control isn’t a fix. We’re not still in 1954.

Change has got to be systematic. I think there are some wonderful doctors out there. I don’t think the medical industry itself is bad or there to hurt you.

I always think to myself would I rather have the medical industry as it is, with all its faults, or no medical industry at all?

I’d rather have what we have now because the quality of our lives has definitely improved. But is it perfect? Definitely not. Go to the doctor and there’s always 50 people in the waiting room.

Doctors are there to diagnose, prescribe and get you out the door. That’s wonderful if you have something wrong with you where a simple medication can fix it.

But when you have a hormonal condition where birth control can help mask the symptoms, but it’s not actually a treatment, what does it actually do for you? It doesn’t do anything.

What would you like to see more doctors do with treating women with PCOS?

Doctors obviously aren’t trained extensively in natural solutions, such as what you eat, how much exercise you do, your sleep quality, regulating and improving your stress levels, things like that.

Doctors have been trained on medications and many are actually very dismissive of natural options to improve your health, which doesn’t help it at all.

It’s a systematic issue. I believe it’s definitely getting better. I look at PCOS and, of course, there could be more, but there’s a lot of research going on all aspects of PCOS. Not necessarily on treatment options, but more on what’s causing it, which can lead to treatment options.

How close are we to finding a genuine cure for PCOS?

I don’t think there is a cure coming anytime soon for PCOS. Look at how much we know about PCOS at the moment. In terms of the pathophysiology, and it’s still very little.

I don’t want to be a conspiracy theorist here, but you got to understand the role of Big Pharma and how many people make a living selling medications. So I just don’t think there is a desire to find a cure. I think there is a desire to find more drugs to help manage PCOS on an on-going basis. But in terms of where’s the cure? Where’s the magic pill? I don’t think it’s coming anytime soon. I just don’t think there’s the desire from the people in charge to find it. 

How concerned are you by the medical profession focusing on drugs over lifestyle changes to treat women with PCOS?

You have to understand the life of someone with PCOS. You go get diagnosed with PCOS. The doctor will say go on birth control. Come back when you want to have a child. So, and I know this from family members who have PCOS, they’ll be on birth control from 18 to 30. Then, when they want to have a kid, they’ve been on birth control for the last 13 or 14 years, so their brain and ovaries aren’t great at communicating. So your your menstrual cycle doesn’t come back.

So then doctor prescribes ovulation boosters to help you for pregnant. You get pregnant.= and have a baby. Then what happens? You’re told to go back on birth control until you want to have another child. You are literally medicated for your entire life.

I know women with PCOS who have been on birth control for decades. They have check-ups with their doctor every six months. That’s it.

There’s not even any help around the lifestyle changes they could make, no mention of exercise.
And I’m gonna harp on about exercise and sleep and all of these things that we know can improve your hormonal health and help manage your PCOS.

That’s the thing with PCOS. It’s a condition you’re born with that you can’t at the moment. But can you get on top of it? So you can live with the symptoms? 100%? And can you do that alone? And I can’t speak for every case, but with wonderful nutrition, exercise, stress management and an overall healthy lifestyle you can better balance your hormones, no question.

Listen to our full audio-only podcast interview with The PCOS Mentor Drew Baird on Spotify

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