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Weight Loss & Related Medical Conditions in HK

  1. #1
    meinhk is offline Registered User
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    Smile Weight Loss & Related Medical Conditions in HK

    Hi everyone,

    I am new to the forum. I have delicate situation that I'd like to ask for advice about. Please only reply if you have read my post entirely. My question is about getting tests for Polycystic ovary syndrome or any thyroid/adrenal/other disorder or condition which may prevent weight loss. I do actually fit a decent amount of symptoms of a few of the conditions linked with difficulty losing weight, so it is something I am concerned with. I've been wanting get tested for some time, but 1) I have no idea where to get that sort of testing in Hong Kong, and 2) Don't want to spend $200 going to a doctor them to not believe me, tell me to stop eating cake, and set my self-esteem back years in the process. Can anybody give me any advice or recommendations regarding how and where to get tested for these kinds of conditions? Doctors' clinics in HK seem to exist only as sick note factory lines, but do I need to go via them to get referals for this kind of thing? Just to be clear, I have no medical insurance for private healthcare in Hong Kong. These are the questions that I want to know the answers to, but I'll give a little background anyway:

    I am female, in my late 20s, and am overweight with a BMI around 31. I have been overweight since the age of around 5 (before this I was quite skinny), and I have weighed more or less the same my entire adulthood. What really concerns me is that I have an apple body-type (typically - being Asian) and I know that it is much more unhealthy to have the weight around your middle than on your bottom and legs. I have been making an active effort to lose weight since I was about 20. Before that I did not exactly have unhealthy habits though. I was never a slob or physically lazy, I have always walked a lot, I never had a sweet tooth for sweet foods and drinks (thank god!), I've never drank more than a little alcohol socially, and I've never been a smoker.

    I have been trying very hard for the past few years to lose weight, and my latest regime which I started May last year is:

    * Gym 5 times a week for approx 50-60 mins per time.
    * Walk the dog at least 1 hour per day.
    * Calorie counting and consuming 500 calories under my recommended intake. I cook most meals, and when I do eat out I record a conservative/rounded-up number of calories for the food.

    I am simply not losing weight though. It is so frustrating because I try so hard and get no results in return. I know I am young but I feel like time is running out for me, as the older I am, the more of a fight I have against a slowing metabolism. Also my husband and I are planning to start attempting to conceive within the next few years, and being pregnant would really get in the way.


    *** Please only reply if you have something to say about my actual questions. I am not asking for weight loss advice, and I am certainly not asking for any nasty critisism! I can't tell you how scary it is asking for help, because I expect only unhelpful responses and comments in return. I am not a mother, but I thought it better to post this on GeoBaby than GeoExpat because I might (I hope) be likely to receive less useless responses like "stop eating cake at midnight".

  2. #2
    AmyH is offline Registered User
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    As long as you have a hong kong ID you can book an appointment with the family planning clinic. They have womens health screening where they can test for all of the above. For $600 dollars you can do a full work up of tests which includes the thyroid. I am not sure if they do polycystic ovary tests but they can perform ultra sounds so if you have any cysts present they can be detected then. Here is a link:

    http://www.famplan.org.hk/fpahk/en/t...s.asp&nscref=4

    Good luck.

  3. #3
    aussie mum is offline Registered User
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    I have a similar history and could never get to the bottom of my inability to lose weight either. I saw an expensive private doctor here and I was diagnosed with PCOS. I started on an extremely low carb diet as one of the causes of PCOS is insulin resistance. By eating no starchy carbs or sugars AT ALL the weight started to come off finally. The exercise certainly helps too and I exercise 6 days a week now. Good luck with your testing. And if you haven't tried strict low carb yet then I really recommend it if you do have PCOS.

  4. #4
    Gemma is offline Registered User
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    You should see a gynecologist to rule out pcos. As for other metabolic problems which could cause obesity, you should see an endocrinologist. You dont need a referral to see a specialist. Many patients are walk ins. If there is a hormonal cause for your problem, a blood test should give clues. Good luck, I know it's hard!!

  5. #5
    Gemma is offline Registered User
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    Sorry just read that you don't have health insurance. Some of the blood tests like thyroid are fairly routine, but others are more specialized and may set you back a couple of thousand dollars.

    There is a combined obesity clinic at the prince of wales hospital which is run by surgeons, endocrinologists, dieticians and specialized nurses. Their number is 26322956. Do give them a call as you will qualify to be seen I believe. You are doing the right hing to seek help to prevent more problems down the track. Good luck!

  6. #6
    smglobal is offline Registered User
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    I also wanted to add that from my personal experience, hypothyroidism can sometimes be ignored because doctors will look at a blood test and determine that your thyroid levels fall within the 'normal' range. However, as a specialist (who finally corrected diagnosed me) explained, 'normal' is an estimate based on most people. For some people an otherwise 'normal' level is actually low for them. Therefore if the conventional doctors are dismissive by looking at blood tests, and you don't find any other answers, might be worth it to go to a thyroid specialist to rule that out. Good luck!

  7. #7
    Liquorice is offline Registered User
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    I would see an endocrinologist, rather than a gynecologist, to investigate PCOS. When I first had fertility problems a gynae ruled out PCOS because I didn't have ovarian cysts. My sister was diagnosed by an endocrinologist some years later though, so I went to one in HK and I was diagnosed too. He said that ovarian cysts aren't a necessary factor in PCOS (funnily enough). I think PCOS is a very wide and varied condition, and an endocrinologist will test for much more than a gynae will.

  8. #8
    meinhk is offline Registered User
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    Thank you everyone. Your comments have been really helpful. I'm a little surprised, and very relieved to receive such a nice response :) I'm so glad I posted here and not on Geoexpat!

    I will definitely check out the Family Planning clinic. As it happens, I have been to one for a couple of things, but I had no idea they did these other things. Actually I had a pretty bad experience with different staff there, and one time the lovely doctor I saw took a minute out pull a smug/mocking face and call me fat (not that I asked her) and tell me I should probably exercise (not that she asked me if I do). Anyway, if I know I am getting the tests I have been after out of it I will definitely brave it again, though I might try a different location for good measure in case the service is a bit better.

    If PCOS cannot be checked for at the Family Planning clinic I'll check out some endocrinologists.

    So, with a gynecologist (or a endocrinologists for that matter), I can just walk in? Obviously there are many private clinics in Hong Kong that you can walk in (theoretically if they are not busy), but how about public healthcare specialists? I can pay for private, though I don't have the biggest budget and I am also actually curious to know, if only for the future, how specialists like these work within the public healthcare system. Are they located in hospitals or in separate clinics? And you need no referral?

    Aussiemum - I'm sorry to hear you have had similar problems :( Do you still have to avoid carbs totally?

    Thanks again everyone!!
    Last edited by meinhk; 05-25-2012 at 01:23 AM.

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