PCOS: The Hidden Epidemic, by Samuel S. Thatcher

PCOS: The Hidden Epidemic

by Samuel S. Thatcher

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Format: Hardcover, 496pp. 
ISBN: 0944934250
Publisher: Perspectives Press, Incorporated 
Pub. Date: September 2000

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Editorial Reviews - The author

Sam Thatcher MD PhD , August 7, 2000 Comprehensive resource on all aspects of PCOS The reason for this book is simple. It was needed. Despite thousands of research articles on virtually every aspect of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), there was virtually nothing written that an individual with PCOS could use as a reference source. Recently I read on one of the PCOS bulletin boards, "I am having trouble locating any books about PCOS." The reply from a wise veteran read "they're aren't any. Besides, the information is changing so quickly that it would be out of date as soon as it was published." I was encouraged the time that there still was not a book on the subject, but had to agree partially with the respondent. Things have changed quickly, are changing dramatically, for those with PCOS. In no small part due to the Internet, PCOS is being more frequently and correctly diagnosed. Still, when the diagnosis has been made, individuals want to know more. "How did I get it? How can it interfere with my fertility? Can it be treated? What are the implications for my future health, the health of my parents, of my children?" So many questions, good questions, and while we don't have all the answers, there is a framework for understanding now available. This book was in development for over two years and contains information current in the summer of year 2000. When this book was in its earliest stages of development, one of the major publishing houses was contacted. I was told that PCOS was a special niche and it is unclear whether there would be a market for such a book. "If PCOS is so important why hasn't a book already been published." PCOS is thought to affect 6-10% of all women -- that's no small number. As I considered this comment, I thought how ignorant, but also how like the dismissive attitude has been about the disorder itself. The most common symptoms associated with PCOS are irregular periods or ovulation failure, problem skin, and obesity. Not everyone has all symptoms, that's why it is called a syndrome. Many with PCOS have been passed through several to many physicians' offices without recognition of a unifying diagnosis. It is not nearly so important that the label of PCOS is applied, but the association of the signs, symptoms, and medical risks is made. The diagnosis of PCOS carries with not only an understanding, but also an obligation for present and future health risk management. Chapters are devoted to the basic biology of PCOS, its origin in genetics, laboratory testing and treatment strategies. The book also addresses issues such as body image, coping, and selecting health care providers. Numerous additional resources, referral physicians, reading material, and on-line resources are included. I hope that this first publishing house was also wrong about the suggestion that books of this genre, that is medical self-help, must be written on an eight-grade level of understanding. It must be that the average book buyer is not as smart as my patients seem to be. There is always a danger in over estimating a level of understanding, but I believe a more serious mistake is to under estimate it. The text of the book is necessarily easy bedside reading. It is an in depth study that presents all the facets of what I believe to be our present understanding of PCOS. It is for the consumer wants to understand and become an active participant in their health care. While this book is not meant to be a scientific treatise on the subject, it is hoped that the information contained would be also be a topical review for health care professionals. It should serve the new need of fusion publishing, bridging the gap between watered -down self-help books and medical treatises. Hopefully, it is a reference resource, a storehouse, and ideally, a compass that can help guide the way through the issues that are PCOS.

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Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a complex hormonal disturbance affecting the entire body with numerous implications for a woman's long-term health and quality of life. PCOS is the most common hormonal disturbance of pre-menopausal women and is a leading cause of infertility, but infertility is not the only problem PCOS creates. Common symptoms unrelated to fertility include obesity, abnormal hair growth, skin problems, and abnormal menstrual periods. Additionally, we now know that PCOS has far longer-term health consequences. Women with PCOS have at least 7 times the risk of heart attack and heart disease than other women, are at risk for hypertension, and by the age of 40, 40% of PCOS patients develop Type 2 diabetes.

Because often individual symptoms of the syndrome have been presented one at a time to a variety of professionals (gynecologists, dermatologists, internists, hair removal specialists) PCOS has been in the closet for far too long, underestimated both in prevalence and importance. The disease is beginning to receive the attention it deserves through interest and research. Even popular women's magazines including, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Redbook, and Ladies Home Journal have published articles on PCOS. There are hundreds of visitors each day to sites on the internet dedicated to PCOS. Yet there has been no comprehensive source of information available to PCOS sufferers... until now. Dr. Thatcher's book is an exciting first in this field!

About The Author

Samuel S. Thatcher, M.D., Ph.D. began his career in reproductive science in 1973 when studying the detrimental effects of aging on reproduction. This culminated in a Ph.D. in human anatomy/reproductive biology at West Virginia University, where he simultaneously received his M.D. A year of post doctoral research was spent between Edinburgh and Johns Hopkins Universities. On completion of his residency training in obstetrics and gynecology at Yale/New Haven Hospital, he returned to Edinburgh University as Lecturer in Reproductive Medicine and Medical Director of the IVF program of Edinburgh University and the Royal Infirmary. He completed a fellowship in reproductive endocrinology and served on the faculty in the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology at Yale before returning to East Tennessee. His research interests continue in reproductive aging, ovarian function, assisted reproduction and early human development. He is a member of over 20 national and international societies and has authored numerous medical journal articles. Dr. Thatcher is an active consumer advocate, serving on the Advisory Board of The American Infertility Association as well as on the Advisory Board of INCIID (the International Council on Infertility Information Dissemination) for which he co-moderates the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) forum on INCIID and writes the internet column Thatcher's Thoughts.

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