Saturday, October 9, 2010

Book Review - What Nurses Know: PCOS, by Karen Roush, RN, MSN, FNP

When I started researching PCOS, this was one of the first books I came across, and honestly, I can't recommend it enough - esp. for those who have been newly diagnosed. 

Ms. Roush writes with empathetic and optimistic voice, covering PCOS diagnosis, diet and lifestyle changes, fertility and mental counseling.  Her writing on the emotional impact of PCOS is a major highlight of the book, and a feature somewhat overlooked by other published medical authorities.  Sure, others may mention something about depression being a "symptom" of the syndrome, etc. etc., but Ms. Roush actually dives into the waves of negative thoughts and fears that so often plague the minds of those living with PCOS.  At times, I actually found myself reading the exact words I had used only and day or two before, to describe my own emotions and worries to my husband...those hurtful, paining thoughts that made me feel so lost and alone, and here they were, printed in a book, apparently shared by so many women going through the same disorder.  It was a relief in an odd sort of way, just to know that even in my abnormal state, I am apparently fairly normal...

Another important, and wonderful component to Ms. Roush's book, is her insistence on the PCOS patient taking charge of her health and diagnosis.  She gives excellent advise, not only why you should take charge of your medical treatment, but also HOW to do it.
Anyone who has gone through the medical rigmarole of doctors who don't know anything about the disorder, giving you random prescriptions, or sending you to specialist upon specialist, and then telling you that you are fine, when you know something is actually wrong, will understand just how important this advise is.  If you don't take charge of your diagnosis and treatment, and direct your doctors like and orchestra, chances are good, you are not going to get the help you need.  Very few doctors actually understand and specialize in PCOS, and even those that do, can get caught up in their own specialized part of the body, ignoring the other issues going on in your body, and treating you for individual symptoms that do nothing to help the underlying issues. 

The bad: For those focused on more non-Western medical treatments or other alternative medical practices, Ms. Roush can be a little unfairly biased towards Western medicine.  Though she certainly discusses some of the options, and attempts to give the reader some "facts" on these alternative treatments, I do think her bias towards what she considers tried and tested medical methods, shines through.  Personally, I believe both traditional western medicine, and alternative medicine have their place in treating hormonal disorders, and I think Ms. Roush would generally agree with that statement, but I do think I'm a bit more biased towards giving both an equal opportunity to help me through this than she might be. 

Overall, a great, easy and insightful read.  Highly recommend!

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