S A writes:
After some very terrifying abdominal pain when I was 15 (5’5″ and weighing about 150lbs), I went to the doctor. Both my pediatrician and an adolescent endocrinologist told me I had PCOS, explained that it was the reason I was “so overweight,” and lied to me and pressured me to start taking birth control. When I finally agreed to take it, they were thrilled and made it sound as if I was going to lose weight when I took the pill.
Over the next eight years, I gained about 40lbs. Whenever I’d see my new primary care doctor, she would warn me about my weight, and how I probably was pre-diabetic. Once, she ordered a bunch of blood tests for me without telling me that I needed to fast; I got an almost EXCITED phone call a week later saying I was definitely pre-diabetic. After she explained I needed to eat better and exercise more, and that I would need to start a new medication to treat it, I told her that I hadn’t been fasting when the blood was taken. Sure enough, when we redid the test, I was fine.
In the meantime, every time I asked about my birth control having an effect on my weight, I got the same answer: it doesn’t do anything to your weight. In the meantime, I was reminded constantly to eat right and exercise, even though I made an effort to avoid eating junk food, I walked 3 miles to and from work every day, and my bloodwork always came back showing I was spectacularly healthy. But every single appointment I had, I’d get lectured on how I was obese and I needed to take care of myself.
I tried to start running (thinking that it would make these doctors shut up), and I started having excruciating calf pain. After ruling out “running improperly,” we discovered I had an unusual orthopedic condition that would require surgery. To reduce the risk of blood clots from surgery, I stopped taking the pill. Two weeks later, I had my annual physical; I had lost 15lbs and had dropped from “obese” BMI to “overweight.” My doctor congratulated me on successful weight loss, but when I told her, “Actually, I lost all this weight in two weeks because I went off the pill,” she replied, “Oh, yeah, that’ll do it.” OH REALLY.
After being shamed for years by doctors who kept insisting that I was unhealthy, and who kept denying that the medication I was on had caused weight gain, I have since avoided going to see doctors unless I have to.