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  • PCOS - Need Advice: Symptoms & Tests?

    I have a question for anyone with experience (personal, professional, friend/family, etc.) with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Sorry for the novel, and thank you in advance to anyone who has any input!!

    I'm thinking I may want to get tested for this, but I'm not sure what type of doctor would do this testing. At this point I only have an Ob-Gyn that I see for my annual well-woman exam - would she be the right person to talk to about this? Also, should I know what specific tests to ask for, or is it pretty standard?

    The reasons I'm thinking of getting tested are as follows:

    1. Acne - I've started to get really bad acne on my chin and jawline, combined with a very oily t-zone. This started as pretty mild, but persistent acne several years ago, probably around age 25/26. I would always have one or two zits at a time. Prior to that I had NEVER had acne as a teenager or in my early 20's. The mild acne a few years ago has more recently (past year or two) morphed into pretty bad, often painful acne on my chin. Now it is more like 5-10 zits at a time. The oiliness on my chin/forehead and nose has also increased.

    2. Obesity -- I have no idea if this is related, of course, because I have eaten SAD for most of my life. It is on the list of "symptoms" I've seen online, so I figure I'd list it. I'm 5'10" and weigh 280. My scale says 54% body fat, which I'm sure is not accurate, but probably not that far off! I am strong, but I have a great deal of fat covering those muscles.

    3. Irregular periods - This, combined with the acne is what made me want to ask you guys about this. I was on birth control for 10 years, from age 18 to 28 (I think 6-7 years on Levlen then 3-4 years on NuvaRing), and with my primal living shifts, decided to ditch the hormones this past May. I was also hoping it might clear up the acne, as I've read some types are androgenic and cause acne. Since I ditched birth control, my cycles (from first day of period) have been 27 days, 33 days, 30 days, and today is day 33 of this cycle, with no period yet. Is this considered "irregular"? On birth control I had withdrawl bleeding "periods" like clockwork, literally to the day. I don't remember what my cycles were like 11 years ago, so I don't know if these cycles would be considered irregular.

    Thanks again for reading and thank you for any input you may be able to share!!

  • #2
    Hi, I've had issues with malfunctioning guts, and I suspect I had undiagnosed PCOS.

    First off, google PCOS symptoms, tests and treatments. That'll help you figure it out, certainly.

    Yes, your OB/GYN is the one you'd need to talk to about this. Screwed up hormones, weight gain, break outs, irregular periods, etc are classic PCOS symptoms. While I didn't get that far down the road, I did have totally messed up cycles to the point that they stopped and pain- constant unbearable pain.

    Good luck. Do some google searches, read reputable sites, print info, and WRITE down all of your symptoms before going to your dr so you can present her with your suspicions, your proof, and what you want to do about it.

    Unfortunately, one of the ways to control it is with birth control so you might go back on hormones...

    Good luck.

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    • #3
      I'm not sure there's any benefit in diagnosing it really. Unless it helps you stay more primal. The tx revolves around a low carb diet, glucophage if necessary, and bcp to up estrogen and mask effects of higher levels of androgens.

      The gold standard in tx is low to very low carb diet - add in optimal 25(OH)D - see my doc below, exercise, weight loss and that's pretty much it.

      Best,
      Katherine



      iherb referral code CIL457- $5 off first order

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      • #4
        *waves*

        Personal experience here.

        The first thing to point out is that I'm in the UK and you're not, so I've no idea what common tests and treatments you might be able to try.
        The second thing to point out is that pcos is a "pick n mix" of different symptoms to different levels of severity.

        The spotty jawline is a clue that something hormonal is "off". Personally I'd consider your periods regular (my cycles were months/years if ever!) but I can understand the difference compared to your time on BC.

        Here, diagnosis is usually a combination of blood test, symptoms, and ultrasound (to look for the cysts). After that the Dr tends to treat each symptom as-and-when, usually using birth control. For me, this was the worst thing to do, as it masked the underlying problems which continued to deteriorate.

        PCOS has been linked to insulin resistance and hypothyroidism, the hormonal network is so complex that you can't just say A causes B which causes C.

        I would say try for a diagnosis whilst staying primal, then if they offer treatment THINK about it first. I'm having greater success with modified PB and a couple of supplements than I did with any combination of birth control, antibiotics (for acne), vaniqa (for hair), metformin (insulin resistance / blood sugar)..........
        PM me any time "Soulcysters" is a large US based forum with information, advice, etc.

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        • #5
          Thanks, NMG!! I replied via PM

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          • #6
            Originally posted by CinnamonGirl View Post
            Unfortunately, one of the ways to control it is with birth control so you might go back on hormones...Good luck.
            Thanks for the input, CinnamonGirl! Yes, I'm contemplating BC for other (ahem) reasons, so I will be talking with my Gyn about things this week at my annual.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by cillakat View Post
              I'm not sure there's any benefit in diagnosing it really. Unless it helps you stay more primal. The tx revolves around a low carb diet, glucophage if necessary, and bcp to up estrogen and mask effects of higher levels of androgens.

              The gold standard in tx is low to very low carb diet - add in optimal 25(OH)D - see my doc below, exercise, weight loss and that's pretty much it.

              Best,
              Katherine
              Yeah, I'm thinking about the BC options. My D levels are great (and I do supplement), and I'm working towards the VLC thing and getting consistent with high intensity exercise.

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              • #8
                personal experience here too, and like northernmonkeygirl said what one woman has will not be what another woman has. i sometimes visit soulcysters so if you've never been then that site and forum is a wealth of information
                beautiful
                yeah you are

                Baby if you time travel back far enough you can avoid that work because the dust won't be there. You're too pretty to be working that hard.
                lol

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                • #9
                  I also have PCOS. I was tested on day 3 of my cycle and they tested testosterone, LH, estradiol and one other (don't remember what it was). From everything I have read, there is no such thing as a definitive diagnosis for PCOS today, but rather the docs look at your symptoms and possibly blood tests and then make an edumacated guess/diagnosis.

                  My symptoms:

                  1) My period went from lasting 3-5 days down to 24 hours in a one year period.
                  2) I gained a lot of weight during that time (was never overweight before).
                  3) Started losing a lot of hair.
                  4) Issues with some facial hair (I have blonde hair on my arms/legs and started seeing a few darker stragglers on face).
                  5) Diagnosed with insulin resistance and thyroid issues within a year of being diagnosed with PCOS.

                  The only thing that sorted me out was glucophage and a low carb diet. Since having kids, my periods are normal again even when I eat a SAD diet, but I definitely function best on LC.

                  PM me anytime if you want and best of luck.

                  Sam

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for the responses!!

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                    • #11
                      I too was diagnosed with PCOS. The diagnosis came through the symptoms rather than any tests. ( I had had plenty of tests trying to determine infertility. ) I was put on BCP and metformin. Right now I am breastfeeding so I am not on any meds. I have been primal for over 3 months now and am loving the benefits. I am curious how things will go once I wean, but sure hope to avoid the meds. I recommend SoulCysters also.
                      Favorite Mark Quote: "I train to play."

                      June 2010: 168.6 -size 16
                      Current: 155 - size 10/12
                      Goal:135 - size 8

                      My Journal

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                      • #12
                        Was re-reading my copy of Magnesium Miracle yesterday, and PCOS was listed as a symptom of deficiency. Don't know if this is true, since imo if your tool is a hammer everything looks like a nail, but since mag. deficiency seems to be so prevalent it might be worth looking into.

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                        • #13
                          I've recently been diagnosed as PCOS (common symptoms) and it was determined that my insulin levels and testosterone levels are high (not uber, but something that could become a more diabolical issue). My doc had me try metformin and I had some unpleasant reactions that warranted I stop taking it. Now my doc is talking about having me try Actos, another insulin resistance drug.

                          My tests were run before starting the 30 day challenge but I seem to be having success dropping weight and I feel good. So I'm hesitant to try meds again. I take vitamin d and am starting to workout more consistently and my diet has been fairly low carb.

                          Do you have an opinion on trying another drug? My doc also floated the idea of birth control for the elevated testosterone and I'm considering it but hesitant. Are there any other natural alternatives I could try first?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by musajen View Post
                            Do you have an opinion on trying another drug? My doc also floated the idea of birth control for the elevated testosterone and I'm considering it but hesitant. Are there any other natural alternatives I could try first?
                            Saw palmetto. I can't recall the dose but it's using the standardized extract and working up to a dose with a noticable effect (though not more than 9 'x' mg capsules), then cutting back one at a time to try to find a minimal effective dose.



                            iherb referral code CIL457- $5 off first order

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                            • #15
                              I would be very wary of meds if, as you say, the PB plan seems to be working for you. Don't need a sledgehammer to crack a nut, and all that.

                              Thinking out loud, if PB acts against insulin production/resistance, is there any danger of overdoing it? As in, is there such a thing as too LITTLE insulin??

                              Is there something - a symptom - that could be used as a guage? (E.g. for me it's absence/presence of monthly cycle - a good cue of things going well or not).

                              You mention high testosterone - HOW high? Where did they pick the figures for normal vs abnormal? Are they talking about free or total testosterone? (I think my overall testosterone level is "normal", but a higher proportion is floating around unaccompanied and getting into mischief. It's usually attached to SHBG - sex hormone binding globulin).

                              I hate telling people what to do, but I really really really don't like the idea of messing with such a complex hormonal web. Really really really REALLY Plus some Pills are said to worsen insulin resistance, and can cause other symptoms such as weight gain. I took various brands for several years; with hindsight I was gaining weight, suffering worsening depressive episodes, symptoms kept worsening.....

                              You could look into several herbal remedies.
                              Agnus castus is said to act on the pituitary gland, and works to balance out all the different hormones. It didn't do anything for me, but I know of ladies who had great success (overcoming infertility).
                              Saw palmetto is the one I'm currently using with great success. I *think* it acts more directly on testosterone, as it is sold as a prostate-supporting supplement!!


                              Would your doc be willing to re-run the tests after the 30 day challenge perhaps?

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