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Idealist and KillerBoots,
This was something that was originally for Idealist under the Hormones vs. Diet thread, but I'm sure it fits in just as well here:

It's definately the diet that's taking care of your hormones! I was dx over 2 years ago as either PCOS or Insulin Resistant, even though IR is the Precursor to PCOS, among other hormonal and metabolic disorders.

I took BC and Spiro (200mg) for 3 years and that combo didn't clear me ( around 50 - 70%), didn't stop my breakout cycle (8- 9 months of my worst acne) nor did it stop my menstrual cycle pain (always had a regular cycle).

Thanks to Mino clearing me for 3 months and then I stopped, I ended up with the worst breakouts and in new places (my lower arms and legs), DESPITE still being on BC and Spiro! So after about 9 months of that I sorta cried depression (to get off of the BC) and got referred to my former Endocrinologist (3rd time the charm) and he tested me for everything! He was really great and I ended up taking Avandia (2mg) and Spiro (150mg) for almost 1 year (got 70% - 85% clear) before I switched my diet.

I would like to add that when I took the avandia I gained 5lbs (spiro will cause you to loose water weight) and it slightly improved my menstrual pains. Around the same time I switched my diet, my Endo put me on 4mg of Avandia and my skin was looking good, I gained another 5lbs (yippee was 115lbs) AND my menstrual cycles were gone!!! So, when I started experiencing IBS symptoms and we couldn't figure out what the problem (tested me for everything) was I stopped the avandia...(and lost those 10lbs)

Turns out that I don't eat enough vegetables, so all I needed was a fiber supplement (Benifiber). Not only was I having IBS symptoms, but it threw my cycle off! I started having periods 2x a month! Although, they didn't hurt =) Oh and the interesting thing though was despite that disturbance my skin just kept getting better. ;-)

I know some people think it was some sort of placebo effect, but how do you explain the elimination of terribly painful menstrual cramps??? Not to mention, I stopped the avandia during my breakout period so I was a bit concerned that I would start breaking out again....but I didn't.

I don't know what's more "amazing". The fact that so far changing my diet has lessened my mild hirsutism even more, lessened my oil production, shrank my pores, got me so far 99% clear, or that it ELIMINATED my menstrual pain. Tylenol wasn't good enough, nor advil. I would pop 1800 - 2400mg of Motrin (Ibuprofen) a day and usually on an empty stomach to get rid of the pain. 3 years ago I discovered Gingo Biloba did the trick and so I switched to taking this 800mg - 1600mg a day, until [U]I changed my diet and no longer needed anything[/U]! I was suffering with that for almost as many years as I've been dealing with acne. Even if my Customized Gluten Free Diet hadn't given my skin those kind of results, I would stay on it just for the FREEDOM and control of knowing that I don't have to [B]depend[/B] on some pill to relieve that kind of pain anymore.

So, we all have options. Its inevitable that we must eat, so why not improve things in that department? Yet, I think most of us don't have to rely on all these medications to get by. However, if anyone else is reading this that was dx PCOS these are the available treatments (more extensive listing in the Archives) that work Directly OR Indirectly to control/balance our Androgen Levels, etc:

[B]Birth Control [/B] - various forms, Estrodial (primary estrogen) will work as the anti-androgen to increase our Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) that has a higher affinity for the male steriod hormones. (follows along the pathway below)

[B]Spironolactone or Flutamide,etc [/B] - Defined as Anti-androgens. Work differently depending on the drug, but will [U]reduce your androgen [/U] production, thus [U]reducing your enzymes needed for converting testosterone [/U] into DHT and therefore [U]reduces our DHT [/U] (the most potent of androgens).

[B]Insulin Sensitizers [/B] - Avandia, Metaformin, etc. Work different ways, but reduces your Insulin Resistance, by increasing Glucose uptake or Reducing Insuln Produced.

[B]Glucocorticoids[/B] - Prednisone, Dexamethasone work to provide your body a form of cortisol, which balances out hormone production, etc. PCOS and NCCAH/LOCCAH (Late Onset Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia) can be misdiagnosed as one or the other and some people have both.

[B]Progesterone[/B] - Balances Insulin Levels and reduces estrogen dominance, etc. Has ability to convert into either estrogen or testosterone (some people have broken out from this), but if you are deficient, can work wonders. Will balance hormones, eliminate acne, and give you a regular cycle so that you'll be able to concieve if you chose, in the future. Choose Natural Progesterone over synthetics (cause problems).

Of course, the alternatives to these would be:

[B]Low Carbohydrate Diet[/B] - so many to chose from but find the right one and you can lose wieght, fix menstrual problems, conceive, have clear skin, etc. Based on what I've read, it works just like you were taking a combination of Accutane, Birth Control and other Anti-Androgens...seems to hit it from all angles.

[B]Natural Anti-Androgens [/B] - Nettles, Saw Palmetto, Beta Sitosterol, Omega 3s, EFAs, Zinc - B6, etc etc

[B]Natural Insulin Sensitizers [/B] - (work along different mechanisms) EFAs, ALA, Chromium (GTF or Polynicotinate), NAC, d-Chiro-Inositol, CLA, Selenium, Magnesium, Niacin, Vanadium, B5 (and B1, B6...just take a B Complex), and not to mention, several herbs (fenugreek, gymna sylvestre, Bitter Melon).

[B]Natural Progesterone [/B] - Using Vitex/Chasteberry or Natural Progesterone Cream.

That's all my brain can come up with for now. I'm so glad you've found a combination that works for you. =)


Take care

P.S. Somewhere in the archives is a list of hormonal tests and the kinds/brands of medications to take. If I can find them again, I'll repost it if you'd like.

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