Don't know if you guys have ever covered this or not, but my derm said that if no treatment is effective (or even not effective long term) it is possible (in females) that they have polycystic ovaries. Apparently, the ovaries secrete an excess of male hormone, which in turn results in acne. I don't know how common this condition is, but you can have an ultrasound to find out if you have it or not. Another factor is that if you do have it you may have trouble conceiving.
I had a blood test for polycystic ovarian syndrom but it came back negative. I still feel this could be my problem because my mum had it... I'd like an ultrasound but they said a blood test was effective enough. One thing I was told was that if you eat too much refined sugar then it causes your body to make too much insulin which puts pressure on the ovaries and can lead to Polycystic Ovaries.
I have facial hair, thinning hair, body hair and acne. I went to my gyno and he says that I am producing cysts but he did no blood work nor did he do an ultrasound so I am seeing a speicalist. I also had blood and pain midcyclye and according to the gyno I was releasing a cyst. My father is a doctor and says that if I am producing cysts, then I am poly cystic. I am confused if I have poly cystic or not cause usually with the disorder you do not menstrate or you have irregular periods. I just bled and had pain midcycle but have every other symptom of this thing. But true, if you got a hormonal imbalance no medicine for acne will do the trick cause the culprit is the hormones. The other stuff will be like a bandaid. Thats what I think. Plus the facial hair and balding scalp hair is not fun with whatever I got. Acne got bad regardless what I used when all these symptoms came up.
You've got the clinical term of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Otherwise known as Syndrome X, Syndrome O, Stein Leventhal Syndrome and Insulin Resistance.
I do not have classic symptoms. My ONLY problems were extra male hormone which caused me to have some problems maintaining hair growth, yet mild hirsutism, acne practically everywhere, and really PAINFUL menstrual cycles (always been regular).
What helped me was a variety of things that have helped otehr PCOS gals, but the most effective treatment for me turend out to be Spiro (mainly for the body hair) and the most effective treatment for my MENSTRUAL PAINS and ACNE was a form of Low Carbohydrate Dieting. Yup, DIET made the BIGGEST impact in my life by not just helping to get me 99% clear but it also ELIMINATED my menstrual cramps!
I was dx almost 2 1/2 years ago, but since I dont' fit the classic symptomes, I'm also UNDERWIEGHT, I usually just say that I am Insulin Restant. Since Insulin Restance is the precursor to this disorder as well as Diabetes, High Cholesterol, Obestity, etc. I feel more of us might actually benefit from balancing our insulin levels (even if it doesn't clear you).
I have consistently asked my doctors if this could be the case with me and they brush me off. I have been to more than one doctor to. I don't have insurance now so I don't push it as much as when all the tests would be taken...
I get my painful period every 3-6 months. It is so painful I take darvasets and vicodin for the pain. Which only helps somewhat. I get these stabbing pains, like bursts while on my period. It is so heavy and can last anywhere from one day to 2 weeks. I started to get acne when I started taking depo provera and I was on my period for 6 months no joke! I said enough of that! and went on Ortho tri cyclen. I think the birth control pills further messed me up so I have since stopped completley. I have had hormone and thyroid tests which said I was in the normal range. The doctor did say I could get a testosterone test but that it would be so much more expensive. I have had a ultra sound. Nothing. My doctor said I do not fit the bill of poly cystic becuase I am not overweight and quite slender. blah blah blah. I wish I could afford a endochrinologist but I have no insurance. I am finally going to try to fix my body by changing my blasted diet. All I eat now is candy, coffee and fast food. Cake soda. etc. literally.
I am seeing a specialist tommorrow and I hope he can help me. My acne has gotten out of control and the facial hair is not fun either. I am tired all the time as well and afriad that I am insulin resistant. In a way I hope the doctor tells me I have poly cystic then they can finally treat all this wierd stuff that is going on with me. I was wondering if this could be a sign of insulin resistance, see my skin was looking really good with 10% glycolic and 10% bpo. Then all of a sudden my face could NOT tolerate the products. I mean burning, blistering, and skin not healing. See I was using the stuff 6 months them BAM could not tolerate the glycolic acid. This was really wierd. I tried using any form of AHA with very LOW dpercentage, still burning. I mean things that I used in the past. Now I got a combo that is not irritating my skin but my skin is the worse it has been. Hair is clogging the sinks now and I am getting hairy boobs now. THIS IS DEPRESSING. I wish I could go back to using my tried and true products that were working but can't.
You too had painful periods? I had such painful ones that I could not leave the house. So when I was told that Poly Cystic Syndrome usually makes you have no periods I was confused with all of the wierd stuff that was going on. I also had such heavy ones they made me dizzy. I have been on yasmin for a month and I hope it helps with this. Does Spironolactone help with acne? Can you use it with BC? Plus how long does it take to have the Spironolactone to take into effect with acne. I am waiting for the three month mark for the yasmin to see improvemnt in my skin. SO far I see no improvement.
I went to this great site that I eat hay had posted in one of the threads, I'll come back and tellyou wehre it is posted...
but I have decided that I am Insulin Resistant. I have all the symptoms, my periods being one of them. It can even help to cuase the Poly cystic, if i got that right. It is an excellent site and going to try this diet thing. Besides it will be good for my overall health if anything...
Yup, the majority of women that take Spironolactone take it with a BC, because it COULD throw off your cycles. Of course, when you have a BC-Spiro combo it's just like you are taking Diane-35 (only not cyproterone acetate as the anti-androgen).
Sadly enough plenty of women are being underdiagnosed with this syndrome. It took several doctors and 3 endocrinologist before I got dx! While a form of low carbing has done wonders, No, I do not have Diabetes I or II. My doctor dx me as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) or Insulin Resistant, even though I don't carry the "traditional" symptoms (irregular periods, no periods, cystic ovaries, overweight, high cholesterol, high blood pressure). I was taking the Avandia, tried Metaformin but it made me sick, specifically for the balancing of my hormones. In other words, yeah I was taking it ONLY for the acne and my mild hirsutism and it also helped with my menstural cramps (something BC never did). Those were pretty much my only symptoms.
The thing is that Insulin Resistance is something that we all go through during Puberty and then it usually goes away. Unfortunately for some of us, it can occur while in the womb or all the way into adulthood. As a result other hormonal problems occur, such as PCOS, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (sometimes misdiagnosed as PCOS, look up NCCAH), etc.
I'm not really sure if ALL hormonal disorders are related to Insulin Resistance, but the various defects that have acne as a symptom, keep going back to the same gene (cyp450). It's job is to make the enzymes neccessary in controlling our hormones, detoxification, etc. Infact, some of the treatments below, depending on your hormonal disorder, are a result of our body's being deficient in a certain enzyme.
I had to go to an endocrinologist to get the dx. There's various herbs and vitamins, and other supplements that can do the same job as the medications or diet would do. They all are going to either:
-balance your insulin levels which will balance your androgen levels OR
-they will balance your cortisol levels which will balance your androgen levels OR
-they will reduce your androgen levels, OR
-they are going to inhibit the effects of androgen in your system (sebaceous glands) OR
-they are going to prevent the conversion of testosterone into DHT (super androgen)
The list goes on depending on the disorder, but did anyone notice the key here is ANDROGEN? Thankfully there's several ways you can go about dealing with this hormone. While, I do not claim that diet will help EVERYONE, what I do know is that it has helped me and others that had tried a great deal of things, natural supplements, medications and I believe that we are really lucky as a result. We might be able to stop something worse from happening (fingers crossed).
Now, from various reputable sources, doctors, and testimonies, I've found that the most popular PRESCRIPTIONS among women (usually for PCOS or NCCAH/LOCCAH) are:
Birth Control (regular bc - contains estrogen to balances hormones, inhibits/lowers testosterone)
Yasmin BC - (see above & has a progestin [synthetic progesterone known as Drospirenone]
Diane BC - (see above & has Cyproterone to block effects of androgen)
Provera - (a progestin, synthetic progesterone)
Prometruim - (oral NATURAL progesterone in peanut oil)
Spironolactone (diuertic for high blood pressure, DHT conversion inhibitor, inhibits the effects of testosterone, anti-androgen) - Aldactone
Flutamide (antiandrogen) - Eulexin
Finestaride (anti-androgen more popular among men)
Prednisone (anti-inflammatory, corticosteriod that improves cortisol balance)
Dexamethasone (anti-inflammatory, corticosteriod that improves cortisol balance)
Metaformin (balances insulin levels)
Avandia (decreases insulin resistance)
The most popular "NATURAL" treatments among women are:
NAC (n-acetyl-cysteine) - it's like another B5 cure, only...dare I say better..let's just say healthier
D-Chiro Inositol (formed from Lecithin, or inositol)
NPC (natural progesterone cream)
Vitex (chaste berry herb, NPC is made from this)
Saw Palmetto (DHT inhibitor)
ALA (alpha lipoic acid) / Chromium GTF - use the potent form (50% stronger) R-ALA
In case I failed to say this, but you DO NOT have to have ALL of the "symptoms" of PCOS (Syndrome X, Syndrome O, & SteinLevnthal Syndrome) to be dx as such. That's why it's called a syndrome, because there are NO set symptoms. You can be thin and have regular periods, and no cysts, like myself and a few others, and still be pcos. The confusing part is whether PCOS is a symptom of Insulin Resistance or if Insulin Resistance is a symptom of PCOS ;-) 2years ago I got my dx and just by searching on the internet I came across a group of women that are amazing with the research they find to help each other out. Infact, some of the above "cures" were tested wonderfully among these very women.
Through some hormonal testing of her own (Body Balance - home tests), one woman found out that she had high copper levels. Then she found out that natural progesterone cream would help balance this and so when she took it, her acne went away and her menstrual cycle regulated. She was PCOS this whole time, but her doctors didn't pay enough attention to her (gave her accutane, but it didn't work 100%). I'm not sure what else she uses, but she doesn't avoid food as strictly as I do becaue the NPC has balanced her hormones wonderfully.
So if you have idiot doctors then print some of this information out and give it to them. Go surfing on the internet and look up PCOS, Insulin Resistance, NCCAH, Cushings, Addisons, etc. Be curteous, but it's in your best interest to know more about yourself and certain hormonal disorders than he does in order to make sure you are dx properly.
Take care =)
P.S. Yes, MEN can be PCOS also ;-) Or if it makes you feel better, you can consider yourselves Insulin Resistant, since you aren't likely to certain supposed symptoms. Personally, I think the term PCOS is just used for those people that the doctors can't find another disorder for. Infact, unless I'm really close with them, most people just think I'm sorta Insulin Resistant as the reason I avoid certain foods. So anyway, because men are just as capable of being Insulin Resitant as women, they can and HAVE used MOST of the above treatments to balance/lower their testosterone levels, among other health problems.
[This message has been edited by SweetJade1 (edited 09-15-2003).]
Here's my story:
I think i have pocs but all the docs i go to claim my hirsuitsim and acne are due to heredity- I'm of middle eastern decent...even though none of my family has dealt with the hair issues as i have -specifically the women- i keep being told that it's just a consequence of my ethnicity...the doc's brush me off..even my last doc, who is a woman and also of mid. eastern decent, just claimed it was part of my "heritage".///yeah right. .my periods are normal, however, and as far as insulin is concerned, i really don't know how it reacts with my system...i'm not overweight but, like most women i know, am on a constant diet...i've tried limiting my carbs but it's hard...so i'm wondering if any women out there diagnosed with pocs on this board are also of mediteranian/middle eastern decent and how they got their docs to listen...
Wicketglen, like you, my doc discounted PCOS because I'm slender. However, I went to an endo, had blood work done and an ultrasound that confirmed that my ovaries are polycystic and my free testosterone is high. My endo explained that PCOS is a term used for a wide variety of symptoms and it's likely that in later years there will be a Type 1 and Type 2 form (like diabetes) and that one of these forms will be the thin PCOS sufferers and the other, the more common, overweight sufferers. My endo claims that she deals with a substantial number of patients who are thin and main problem appears to be acne. Your period problems definitely do seem to point to an underlying hormonal problem. I suggest you hunt for a different doctor, because I know I didn't trust my first one's conclusion that PCOS was not my problem and I'm really glad I found my endo!
colleen, I cannot rave about spironolactone enough!! My acne became hideous over summer (in Oz, so around December-January). I was 19 years old so had considered the bulk of my acne troubles to be over...but wham! Thank god I got on the spiro!! It really has been remarkable. I went from having acne more severe than any I've ever seen, to having practically NO active pimples! And the effects were almost immediate! Within a month I'd noticed significant improvement...and it's continued to improve since.
And it's fine to be on birth control at the same time. I actually popped my first Dianne pill this morning...so hopefully all goes well there!
Girlie19, I definitely think stress might impact hirsutism and acne. I know that my PCOS symptoms appeared under a period of high stress - almost like this was its trigger.
gogogrrl, perhaps both you and your doc are right? PCOS is a hereditary disease (autosomal dominant)...so IT could be caused by hereditary. As far as I know, middle eastern/mediteranian girls are more sensitive to testosterone...so smaller levels will cause acne and hair growth in them. I guess this just means that it's more important that your hormone levels are controlled. I wish you luck in convincing a doc.
i noticed that you were talking abt hirsutism. my cuz was talking to me abt this before cause she had high progesterone levels which caused her to form excessive hair all over. She took pills to get the progesterone levels down but is there anything u can do for the excess hair? pills i mean, are theere any pills you can take for the excess hair. she told me that her doctor said that she will take care of the "hair problem" after her acne problem lol. poor girl! so many problems, im the same though its annoying!