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sweetjade. thank you so much for all that information! sorry for the late reply. gosh where do i begin...

antibiotics: you are right! my acne does get worse when on mino and tetra. when i first when on tetra it worked for about a year or so, but then all of a sudden BOOM, my acne came back even worse. and then i noticed over the years when the derms would put me back on it always made it worse. this most recent time i tried mino for the first time, and it made it worse too.

PCOS: i HAVE been diagnosed with this by a GYN not an endricrinologist (but many people have advised me to see one so i think that i will do this soon). my periods were always very irregular but about 3 years ago it didn't come for like 3 months. they did hormone tests which they said were normal. but ultra sound revealed the "cysts" on my ovaries. on top of that the acne, thinning hair, fatigue. i hate taking any kind of medication so i've been on and off of ortho trycyclin for the past 5 years. i think this time i'll stick with it tough since it seems to be helping in combo with the diet. i have read articles about PCOS and how many of the symptoms get better with low-carb diet. a coworker of mine has PCOS (she is overweight, has fertility probs, but not really acne). she told me how when she went hard core low-carb her periods got regular...and she got pregnant! what i noticed since being on the low carb diet is that my periods are heavier. for the past five years, both on and off the pill, my period flow was soooo light and short. so to me, this is more evidence that the low-carb diet IS doing something.

you asked about my diet: my diet history is a super long story, so i'll spare you that but in a nut shell i've always been a super picky eater. i don't like any seafood or red meat, poultry is ok but i only eat sparingly. throughout high school ate a lot of pb&j, bagels, pizza, baked potatoes. throughout college i also ate a lot of instant rice and pasta. my CURRENT diet consisted of elimating: dairy, past, white rice, simple sugars like candy and pastries. what i'm eating a lot of NOW are fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, brown rice, nuts, and olives. at first i was using canned beans. but i heard the protein from caned beans is not as "pure" i switched to raw beans. initially i was eating bananas too but then i read how they can be an acne culprit so i cut that out. i was also eating soy products (milk, yogurt, and tofu) but just last week i read how soy can be a culprit too so i'm eliminating those as well. so as you can see, i'm pretty limited with what i can eat. i wish so much that i liked seafood, but i can't stand the smell or taste of it and never have (no fish, shrimp, lobster, NOTHING). i was taking primrose oil and flax seed oil, but i stopped. i get so paranoid as to what's working/what's not that i sometimes i just don't know what do to! but if you say they are good maybe i will go back on them.

you asked about dry skin. what i've noticed in addition to the less oil on my face is that my lips are often chapped and my hands seem dryer. i believe this is due to the lowcarb diet (man, i wish i had known this when i was younger i would have been a much happier person. my skin in high school, although i only had mild acne at the time, was like a GREASE PIT. minutes after washing, i'd be super oily already. i spent so much time and $ on face powder but all i had to do was cut down on the carbs!)

i've completely fallen of the diet this past week due to the holiday, and these past few days i'm paying for it with a lot of new pimples. but it's still not as bad as BEFORE i started the diet so i think eating sweets VERY sparingly would be ok. do you think that is the case?

sweetjade, what does your diet consist of? or maybe NOT consist of is a better question. is it just the Dr. Perricone diet? what supplements do you take?
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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