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Old 11-25-2003, 04:16 PM   #1
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SweetJade1 HB User
TranscendingAbyss, about PCOS

Hey there, I noticed your post on the "Acne IS caused by Diet" thread and I thought I'd see how things are going for you. How long have you had PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)? What have the doctors said were your symptoms outside of acne and cystic ovaries? Hirsuitism, Irregular-no periods, high cholesterol, Insulin Resistance, Wieght Problems, etc?

The reason I ask is because I've come across several resources on the web that might help you. Since I was dx 2 summers ago, I've learned so much from PCOS, Insulin Resistance, and Acne resources, like this board. Infact there should be a few threads on here that discuss the types of tests, medications, and alternative treatments fellow PCOS/IR's can use to improve if not completely CONTROL things. Have you sifted through them yet?

Also, when I was dx, I was on metaformin for 2 months, but it made me sick. So I switched to Avandia and that was great (gained 10 lbs---good thing), but it didn't solve much for me. I ended up adding back in a lower dose of Spironolactone (150mg) and the Combo together was a wee bit more effective than my former BC-Spiro combo that I had been on for 3 years. I really don't have all the symptoms of PCOS, but since it's called a syndrome, I don't have to =) I think that a lot of women and men assume this can't be their problem because they don't have the "symptoms" or are males. ;-)

The funny thing is that PCOS is linked to Insulin Resistance and/or a Lack of Progestrone (tried NPC?). So because of my lack of symptoms, my doctor dx me as one or the other and I basically state that I might be Insulin Resistant because I don't have any of the major symptoms like high cholestorol or even cystic ovaries. Nevertheless, while avandia had helped a teeny bit to improve my menstrual pain (terrible stuff) and my acne some, it still couldn't ELIMINATE my Breakout cycle. I can breakout practically anywhere and do so much more often during the Fall - Spring months (8 - 9 month cycle). Thanks to fellow acne sufferers, I learned a few more things about PCOS & IR and realized that there was still one more solution I hadn't tried. So through doing further reserach I realized what I MAY have been doing wrong and corrected it and things have been great ever since. So it really surprised me when you said the following:

"and AGAIN.. I reitterate... *NOTHING* is going to work for everyone... NOTHING. Every single solitary person in the universe can't take the same asprin and receive the exact same affect. Body chemistry, allergies, diabetes, hypoglycemia, calcium and iron deficiency diseases, just a tiny handful of things that could possibly affect the way your body uses food or be affected by changing your diet in such a tremendous way. If you *must* insist on trying something so drastic as cutting out half of your food groups.. talk to your doctor first. In fact.. any good diet or work out plan will say straight out.. before persuing any diet or excersize change.. TALK to your doctor.

And NO I will not try this diet Sunfell because I KNOW whats wrong with my skin... it's called hormones... which can't be regulated due to a problem with ovarian cysts. WHICH IS GENETIC. No diet is going to change any of it. In fact given my history the worst thing I COULD do for my body is cut out calcium because I don't hold iron very well without several glasses of lowfat milk a day, and frankly my dear I don't wish to become permenantly anemic. So I know straight out that changing my diet is not going to fix my skin... because it doesn't and has never affected my skin... sure if I spend a week eating nothing but mcdonalds and drinking pepsi my skin isn't going to look it's best.. but it's not going to GIVE me acne, because diet not the cause of my skin problems.

As a final disclaimer I'm not saying that this won't work for *someone*... I'm just saying that claiming that one thing will cure *everyone* is absolutely ridiculous, especially when it's something thats so completely and totally unsubstanciated... if food were the cause of everyones acne... everyone in this country would HAVE acne. " [url][/url] (page 9)

That's some powerful words there, but I can understand what it feels like to be frustrated when it seems like people aren't listening to you. That's how it get's sometimes for me and others on here that do believe and KNOW that the RIGHT change in your diet can make all the difference in the world! I care so much about everyone and when I found out the truth and how SIMPLE it can be for certain acne sufferers (maybe more), at it saddened me when rude and ignorant comments were thrown at me (or rather the idea) not because of my feelings, but more so because they might deprive themselves of an answer. Nevertheless, I've got several threads on the connection that diet plays on our hormones and all you have to do is read it. There's studies and breakdowns and others testimonies and input. Yet, if you don't have the time, I do hope you noticed what Sunfells response was to you. He said:

" This diet allows fruit, as much as you want! This diet is not about what atkins diet is about. It doesn't concern itself with carbs and further, this diet can only be done through careful screening. It is a specific, detailed system which carefully eliminates the cause of acne, which is essentially the same for everyone who has it: nutrient deficiency. I suspect and believe that the same thing is responsible for both your PCOS and your acne. Maybe you see an old doctor. I don't know. 10 years ago they thought PCOS was a genetic problem caused by malfunctioning ovaries producing too much hormone. In the last 10 years, we've learned that PCOS is a condition that often involves other parts of the body too. One of the most common and important relationships discovered is the one between PCOS and Insulin Resistance. Insulin resistance appears to be the underlying cause of many, if not most, instances of PCOS. We all know what is behind type 2 diabetes and adult onset insulin resistance: diet. If this weren't the case, metformin would not work so well for PCOS. I WOULDN"T BE SURPRISED IF THE SAME CULPRIT IS BEHIND BOTH OF THESE (the cysts on your ovaries and the acne on your face) but I am not your doctor. " [url][/url] (see page 10)


Last edited by SweetJade1; 11-25-2003 at 04:21 PM.

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Old 11-25-2003, 04:17 PM   #2
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Re: TranscendingAbyss, about PCOS


I'm not a doctor either nor do I plan on being one. I'm a Biology student that plans to go into Nutrition and/or Naturopathic Medicine. Whenever I visited my endocrinologist (took 3 tries before I got a great one), he was always impressed with my knowledge and the questions that I had for him. He told me that it was better for me to chose the salad over the sandwich or the slice of pizza, but I figured that since I was already underwieght, i didn't NEED to. Truthfully, I didn't need to do this, but I HAD to do this, in order to make a DIFFERENCE in not just my skin, but other areas as well. When I came back after only 3 months on my new diet (Low Grain/Gluten Free & eventual avoidance of specific inflammatory foods) he was very surprised. He said that my skin looked really good and he never said that while I was on Avandia for a year prior! =)

I'm no longer on Avandia and I take Spiro very sporadically. I still have mild hirsutism, but the majority of it is now gone. This Diet also broke my Breakout Cycle and ELIMINATED my horrible crying on the floor menstrual pains. It's been 15 months or so since and I'm 99% clear. The first 3 months I was already at 95% and what helped get rid of the other 4% was finding the foods that triggered additional inflammatory responses (the most stubborn cysts) in me. You will be pleased to know that Dairy (organic milk) isnt' one of them...however lately, I've noticed that i'm more sensitive to certain types of dairy products (have seen breakouts yet). I rarely consume much dairy now because I don't eat cereal, or bread products, etc. this may be why. The one thing on these diets is that IF you are Intolerant (mean you can't properly break something down due to lack of an enzyme) to a food item, then when you consume it after having a break form it, you will experience a reactionary breakout. Suxs, but hey it really helps to keep you on target so that you don't cheat. If you plan on cheating, dealing with a few cysts that last 2 weeks will be enough punishment for most people..if not there's always the mark that it left behind to make you think twice... =(

Seriously though, I have NO regrets. I NEVER thought it would make such a HUGE impact, but it did. Since Insulin Resistance is the precursor to Type 2 Diabetes, Type I Diabetes (sometimes), High Cholesterol, High Blood Pressure, Obesity, PCOS, Hirsutism, and the end it made a LOT of sense to do this. If you visit those resources on PCOS you will find women that lost wieght, improved thier skin (less androgens, DHT), decreased their hirsutism (less androgens, DHT) regulated their menstrual cycles, and/ OR CONCIEVED, by choosing a low carbohydrate diet! To know that you can control your hormones, and most importantly your male hormones, particularly DHT, through an Insulin Balancing Diet, instead of medication (if it fails you), Doesn't that sound exciting?

Of course you have your own concerns and you should take those concerns and implement them in any changes you choose to make. Personally, I gave up diary and it didn't make a difference, but I also gave up chocolate and soda (both for 10 years) and they didn't work either. The other trick to this diet is that sometimes you MUST eliminate some of the culprits before you can figure out what other culprits you might have. As a result, I learned that while I can eat chocolate, I can't eat soda (never liked the carbonation), bananas (Loved banana bread), Cherries (my FAvorite), Peanuts and possibly cashews.

Otherwise I eat whatever. I eat quite a bit of carbs actually and I still eat fast foods (fries and salad, chicken wings,etc). While I don't follow the Atkins Diet, in the beggining it is only temporarily on the LOWW carbing (30-40g) and then you raise that level. I eat lots of high glycemic foods daily and I am actually in the normal range for carbohdrate intake (200g). I've cut out more than 50% of my carbohydrate intake by just eliminating most Grains, and I'm still consuming a diet that's 200g - 300g of carbs!!! However, that is considered low carbing when you think of the fact that the average person on the western diet consumes 200g - 800g DAILY! Factor in 3 -4x as many grains as you must eat of fruits and vegetables and throw in the sugar products like cake, candy, soda soda soda, not to mention alchohol and you will see how those numbers can rise. Wow...Isn't that nuts?

Indeed our brains require sugar and we would DIE without GLUCOSE, but we don't THAT much glucose. While you don't have to increase your protein intake, your body does convert everything you eat into Glucose, including protein. In fact I think that because of all the processed food I HAD to drop (wheat is in 90% of prepared foods), I've actually decreased my protein intake a wee bit also. While there are good fats, I'm not pigging out on them. Heck on don't even take supplements. The only supplement that I would be concerned about consuming would be a calcium supplement. If you have problems maintaining iron in your diet then you may want to think about changing your diet even more so, because grains can act as enzyme inhibitors and one of them MAY be the cause of your iron defiency.

Ok, now this part is theory, but there's was no real explanation (I checked against Insulin pathways) as to why my menstrual pain stopped when I canged my diet because I certainly wasnt' consuming anything to increase my good prostaglandins (fish oils EFAs). Yet because I dropped foods that can inhibit enzymes my body needs to run properly, that MAY have been why. Theory being that this allowed my body to convert good prostaglandins from the foods that I am still eating. Something else I noticed was that when I was younger I would eat candy more often during my cycle. Now that I dont get pains, I noticed that If I do eat candy (not chocolate) my abdominal muscles will start to act up and spasm very slightly. So sugar may play a role somehow...maybe it in itself is an enzyme inhibitor (I must check that), but there's Definately a HUGE correlation for me and other women. In fact, I had read that in terms of idopathic cramps a Gluten Free diet solves the problem... so if this is something you experience, you may want to think about changing your diet.

I absolutely feel that you should do what is best for you. Research this and you will see that theres a big connection. You will also see that you don't have to give up every possible food that could cause/aggrevate acne ;-) Aye, sometimes I don't understand why it's either black or white with some people...we really live in quite a nice amount of grey. I eat Rice, Potatos, Corn DAILY. With the exception of the above items, I eat all other fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, seeds, dairy products, poultry, pork, beef, seafood, and certain kinds of "junk" food. I intend to eat all the turkey, ham (not too fond of), potatos, corn, green beans, and pumpkin w/whipped cream (don't eat crust) that I can stand ;-)

Oh but in terms of sweets, as I got older (I'm 23 had acne for 16 years) I craved sweet foods less and less and this diet really helped kick most of what was left. As a result while I can drink 100% fruit juice, I don't because it's too sweet, LOL I drink mainly water, I crave water now....NEVER would have happened before, but even when I don't drink 6-8 glasses a day, my skin looks good. I can breakout on my face, scalp, ears, eyebrows, neck, chest, back, upper arms, and other areas and usually most of those areas are clear...unless I cheat. 1 peanut gives me cysts on my forehead. a Bowl of refined gluten free cereal (corn pops, corn flakes) gives me tiny cysts in and around my earlobes. It takes 3 - 5 days for these breakouts to surfaces, which further suggestions an Intolerant reaction.

On the other hand, when I'm at my absolute best, and of course this requires good and "Healthy "food in the house, my skin is much less oily, my pores are much smaller, and there are no pimples or cysts on my face or body. I'm a working college student and my meals are far from balanced, they weren't before though, and my skin still survived what I throw it (even it is much more behaved diet now). I'm guessing that my last teeny bit is due to either consuming Corn or Rice (90% of my new grain consumption) or because my diet is fully balanced (in terms of vegetables), but I'm hardly suffering. I'm much happier, my energy levels have never suffered, I've finally gained more lean muscle, and I don't stress at all about food. I know what to avoid and I do so, or not (and suffer the consequence), but I KNOW. Therefore I don't and never stressed over it. I've had 22 years of fun with all of the foods that were bad for me and I would have given them up when I was 13 if I knew the truth then. What can I say except that it's just like someone taking a neccessary medicine or that's deathly allergic to something, I just do what I have to do.

Just something to think about. Best of luck

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Old 11-25-2003, 05:07 PM   #3
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Re: TranscendingAbyss, about PCOS

That is a highly informative post, there SweetJade1, thank you Your tone and level of detail are fabulous. I read every word and have taken a lot on board despite the bombardment of information but I think everyone would be really grateful if you could go a bit further by explaining your typical daily diet. As I said, I honestly read every word and I can see your enthusiasm for what you believe in (and clearly understand very well) and appreciate that your dedication stems from your desire to beat and control acne once and for all, but what I'd like to know in changing my diet is how to start. It's common knowledge that all diet changes are attempted at too drastic a level and fail because of this. How would you recommend someone eases themself into a diet more suited towards the prevention of acne breakouts. For example, my Achillesí heal is sweets (chewy, rot-your-teeth kind).

I don't know why but I honestly feel an addiction to sweets and to a lesser extent chocolate. I have given them up in the past (for lent) but always crack when I say I've quit for good. I've never quit because of my skin but because of my body which I want to keep fit and muscular for running. I can usually spend up to a week convincing myself that I don't need sweets or chocolate and that the running is more important than the quick-fix I get from the confectionary. But as I say, I always crack and not just because something crappy happens. I think boredom is the main cause. I'm a student studying Computer Science so I spend a lot of time in front of the PC. Programmers are notorious for having endless cups of coffee. Well, I have endless confectionary. Recently I've been trying ever so hard to resist the sweets when I get bored and go for an extra run instead. But that's not always practical (like there's not enough time) and I soon find myself gravitating towards the cupboards, desperate for food.

It's shameless. If I didn't run like a gazelle then I'd be huge. The problem lies therein: I can always run off whatever I eat. Of course, my skin can't do the same. I guess what I'd like you to explain is how you discipline yourself. I have a new idea myself and I'd like to start a post around it. I think we should all set ourselves some sort of target and post daily to say whether or not we're sticking to the target. I don't like to be dishonest with people so I will admit if I cave in on a particular day. And at the same time I don't like to fail if others see me failing. So I think this idea will help. Aren't I clever Any other suggestions you have would be cool. And please try to describe your regular diet, especially including what you consider to be treats. I know you did this kind of already but an explicit reference is really helpful. Cheers

Old 11-25-2003, 05:13 PM   #4
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coloradogirl1 HB User
Re: TranscendingAbyss, about PCOS

Ok, I'm trying so hard to do the low carb diet. However, there are many other foods that are low carb that I suspect I have an intolerance for. How on earth do you know what made you break out if it appears 3-5 days from then? How did you discover that you could not eat peanuts?

Old 11-25-2003, 05:42 PM   #5
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Re: TranscendingAbyss, about PCOS

coloradogirl1, if you think it will help please look at my thread Personal Targets and set yourself one.

Old 12-06-2003, 10:01 PM   #6
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SweetJade1 HB User
Re: TranscendingAbyss, about PCOS

I don't know if I already answered this question for you, but I knew because peanuts is something I don't eat daily or even monthly. It's something I don't really like but if it's masked with salt or chocoloate or sugar or in trail mix, I'm more prone to it ; -) To the other variables' defense it wasn't the chocolate for usually I was eating it salted or plain.

So that's how I knew it was peanuts because usually you tend to eat the same foods daily. That's not to say that the foods you eat daily, aren't causeing you problems because for me and many others that have tried these diets, we've found that the certain daily foods we ate were just as bad, if not worse. When it's a staple in your diet, like dairy, hydrogenated oils (unwilling staple), bread, those are things you do HAVE to eliminate in order to 100% know whether it effects you negatively or not. The other foods, you realize because you don't eat them daily and so, it's easier to pinpoint or trace the breakout back to trying something new. Just like you would do with a new cleanser or foundation. =)

Old 12-06-2003, 10:12 PM   #7
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Re: TranscendingAbyss, about PCOS

Hey there, have you figured out all the answers yet? I haven't found your post about goals, mind bumping it for me? In the mean time I would say you are a good candidate for a "sugar busters carbohydrate addict" type of diet ;-)

Overtime I gradually started to like sweet stuff less. I got cavities no matter what I did and sugar actually started to hurt to my teeth so even more reason to give it up. I couldn't drink the fake juice stuff, unless it was watered down, so I switched to drinking 100% juice. However, when I switched my diet, I what sugar cravings I had, practically disappeared! Infact it's to the point where I mostly drink water and hardly think about drinking other types of stuff, like 100% juice or coffee or tea. When I do try to drink 100% juice it's usually way too sweet and I have to water it down!

So my theory is that you just need to get yourself on the right low carb diet and your sugar cravings will disapear in about 2 weeks. I hear that the South Beach Diet is good as well as the Acne Prescription. Heck, if you want you can even go Gluten Free. This is how I started, but I rarely eat the substitue foods (see list here [url][/url] ) Yet when I did I was eating substitutues just to EAT them and SEE what they taste like. IT was like a NEW eating experience for me. Some things I quickly got over (haven't found the perfect GF sandwich bread yet) and other things I go back to from time to time (every few months), like the GF Pasta, cookies, or muffins.

It's certainly not as strict as sunfells, but maybe in a way it is. Sunfell lets you have more grains than this diet allows, unless you eat the substitues, but you can't have the dairy or hydrogenated oils. However some of these foods are extermely wholesome and dont' include hydrogenated oils, dairy, or even eggs. You just have to shop around some. Lots of sights on the internet, mailoder and your healthfoods store should even have some.

Got anymore questions? I finish my finals this coming week and then I'm free to help out more. So I'll be able to answer you sooner than I did this time. ;-)

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