Given that polycystic ovary syndrome is still shrouded in much uncertainty, it's a real shame that PCOS: A Woman's Guide to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is not a better book.
Coauthor Colette Harris, a British health magazine writer, was moved to write this book after her own successful battle with PCOS, a genetic hormonal imbalance that produces small ovarian cysts, acne, excess body hair, weight gain, mood swings, and infertility and raises the risk for miscarriage, diabetes, and heart disease. Her briefly told story is inspiring--how one woman surprised her doctor by managing this incurable disease using a combination of a vegan diet, herbs and nutritional supplements, filtered water, and exercise.
Unfortunately, even with the tales of other women dealing with PCOS woven throughout, Harris's insider perspective is not enough to carry the book. For women confused about their seemingly unrelated symptoms, PCOS may provide some comfort in relaying that their collection of symptoms not only has a name but a supportive patient community. Even so, apart from the theoretical discussions of what causes PCOS--the medical community is still debating this issue since not every woman with polycystic ovaries exhibits symptoms or even the same collection of symptoms--there's little here that couldn't be gleaned from dozens of other better-written wellness books. Indeed, most of Harris's recommendations for managing PCOS are so general--eat a healthy diet, manage your weight, try homeopathy, exercise, reduce stress--they could be (and in many cases are) the foundation for any number of wellness programs. Plus, authors Harris and gynecologist-nutritionist Adam Carey are given to straying so far off topic in some sections--note the discussion of why conventional farming practices deplete foods of nutrients--one wonders how (and when) they'll find their way back. In the end, this book just feels like a magazine article that's been stretched far beyond its scope to meet a publisher's page quota. --Norine Dworkin [via]