Published on October 17th, 20120
Obesity causes serious disorders, and goes beyond weight issues alone. Here’s how you can get out of the fat trap.
by Dr Jayashree Todkar
In the previous part, I mentioned my patient Priyanka Gupta (name changed), a 28-year-old suffering from severe emotional and physical troubles due to her obese condition, which had further wrecked havoc with her menstrual cycle and caused acute hirsuitness. She hadn’t had a regular period in a decade, and she had had to wax her facial hair every alternate day. Besides, she had to keep her face covered once she stepped out of her house.
I recommended that she undergo bariatric surgery to correct her condition. She decided to do it after a couple of visits, and she recuperated from the operation for two days. After this, she got back to her routine. But about two months after the surgery, she called me excitedly and said, “Dr Todkar, today for the first time in 10 years, I got my period without taking any medicines!” Elated that her body was indeed coming back to normal, she went on to say that her facial hair growth had also reduced, and that she needed to wax just once a week. She is doing very well now; her earlier problems have all but disappeared.
A surprising disease
Several people who come to me for treatment are surprised to discover that they have diabetes, or pre-diabetic symptoms. Also, apart from the embarrassment of having excess weight, young obese people, especially, struggle with sexual disorders – there is little to no desire for sex, their sexual performance is low, and on the other end of the scale, there may be infertility, a few cancers, the development of opposite-sex characteristics, and so on. The disease can cause severe inferiority complexes, cause trouble in personal relationships, and it is a major cause of depression among the youth.
While men’s testosterone levels may dip, women may struggle to conceive naturally, and even an IVF-assisted pregnancy may not carry for the full term. Several pregnant obese women develop gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and other factors that lead to miscarriages.
– Accept that obesity is a disease, and should be treated like one. Being in denial will only delay the treatment process.
– Understand that the disorders you are suffering from – PCOS, PCOD, respiratory problems, diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea – may not be isolated incidents, but may be linked to obesity.
– Consult a good surgeon to explore options to improve metabolism, and this includes bariatric surgery. Do this before you make exercise and diet plans. Some obese people’s metabolism is better than others, so they lose weight in the gym while others don’t. Once your metabolism is corrected, all exercise and diet efforts will yield better results.
– Discipline and diet are key to good recovery and maintaining good health after treatment. Once your health begins to improve, other things fall into place one by one – your looks will improve, your self-confidence will rise, you will want to rebuild your social life, and your performance in all spheres will improve.
– Above all, don’t lose hope. Seek a scientific solution to the problem, and don’t feel victimised by your condition. There are fantastic solutions available to treat obesity, you just have to seek help before it is too late.
Dr Jayashree Todkar is visiting bariatric and laparoscopic surgeon, and Director of Obesity and Diabetes Care Center, Dr L H Hiranandani Hospital, Powai. She holds the distinction of being the first female bariatric surgeon in India.