;Tons of doctors, medical students and women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) wrote in after I advised Frigid Frustrated Fool — a woman suffering from weight gain, hair growth on her face and chest and an irrational fear of pregnancy — to hit the gym, see an electrologist and get over herself already. While I'm not retracting the advice I gave FFF — shouldn't we all hit the gym, rid our bodies of unwanted hair and get over ourselves already? — I recognize that my advice was sadly incomplete.;
;Despite being relatively common, it seems that PCOS goes untreated or misdiagnosed in many women because few people are familiar with it, including most doctors. (So can we ease up on the advice columnists with no medical training, hairy ladies?) I had planned to make amends by writing up PCOS this week, but I think the next letter says it better than I could…;
;;I read FFF's letter with interest, not because of her emotional issues, but because the weight gain and unusual hair growth rang a bell. It sounds to me like FFF may be suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome, which I also suffered from for years. PCOS is characterized by weight gain, hirsutism, amenorrhea, acne, ovarian cysts and other less-visible symptoms. FFF needs to find a reproductive endocrinologist and get herself checked out because, untreated, PCOS can cause heart disease, infertility and possibly type 2 diabetes.;
; Additionally, if she has PCOS, when she tries to take care of her weight and body hair, she won't make much progress without also getting treatment. Elevated insulin and out-of-whack hormone levels are part of the syndrome and, without treatment (glucophages and birth-control pills, typically), women with PCOS can exercise until they pass out, get electrolysis or waxing, diet and diet and diet, but the weight won't drop off and the hair will grow back because they haven't dealt with the root of the problem.;
; It is estimated that 10 percent of women suffer from PCOS, and many go undiagnosed and untreated. Whether it is because they don't seek treatment (maybe they're ashamed to talk to their doctors) or because the medical profession as a whole is not educated about PCOS, I don't know. But I hope that FFF will get herself checked out and that any other women out there with these symptoms will too. Because, trust me, getting the symptoms of PCOS under control will make a huge difference in the quality of their lives. It certainly did for me: I lost 60 pounds, got rid of my unfortunate facial hair and feel (and look) great!;
;Concerned Former Fatty
;;Thanks for sharing, CFF. I forwarded your letter and others to FFF, who has made an appointment to see a doctor. More info about PCOS can be found at www.pcosupport.org.;
;;I am an overweight gay boy from Rhode Island. At the ripe old age of 22, I'm still a virgin. And shit, it's not that I haven't tried to find a man, it's just that because I don't fit the perfect picture of male-homosexual beauty (I weigh about 250 pounds), no one takes the time to get to know the smart, funny, sophisticated guy that I am. Now, I know that some guys like fat, hairy guys — the problem is that they tend to be old, fat and hairy. Unfortunately for me (and for them), I'm not turned on by any of those qualities. Any advice on how to find a nice boy next door (my age!!!) who can maybe give me an awesome first time despite my man boobs and hairy ass — in other words, someone who can see the beauty inside?
;;Bear Cub Seeks Anything But
;;Some young, skinny, smooth boy-next-door types dig hairy butts and man boobs, but those boys are scarce and in demand. So if you're absolutely determined to hold out for one, BCSAB, you may be a virgin for a good, long time. However, I'll tolerate no bitching from you while you wait for that a man-boob-lovin' Abercrombie & Fitch boy to come along. If you're not willing to get to know the smart, funny, sophisticated guys trapped inside older, fatter, hairier bodies, BCSAB, then you can't complain about all the younger, smoother, skinnier boys who won't do the same for you.
;;ITMFA NEWS: Last week, as promised, the first ITMFA checks went out: $4,000 to the ACLU, $2,000 to Bob Casey (the Dem running against Rick "Fecal Matter" Santorum in Pennsylvania) and $2,000 to Ned Lamont (the real Dem challenging faux-Dem Joe "There Is No Morality Without Religion" Lieberman in Connecticut). But since George W. Bush continues to do stupid/illegal/immoral crap, orders for "impeach the motherfucker already" buttons and lapel pins keep pouring in at www.ITMFA.com. And since more orders means more money, I'm looking around for some other worthy recipients.;
;;Readers have suggested these worthy organizations: NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood, VoteToImpeach.org and Union of Concerned Scientists. And since both Casey and Lamont are East Coast candidates, other readers felt it might be nice to show some love to West Coast candidates like Jon Tester, a Dem running for the U.S. Senate in Montana, or Darcy Burner, a Dem running for the U.S. House in Washington State. I've got a few thousand dollars worth of ITMFA cash burning a hole in my checking account, folks — where would you like me to send the firstname.lastname@example.org