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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Message Board

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Board Index

I know I'm quite late in replying to this thread, but if I'm allowed, I would love to give my input. I've been reading this board for a very long time, but never posted; this is my first! Alright. I was diagnosed with PCOS about 2 years ago. I'm 20 now. All throughout high school I noticed I had a "happy trail" beginning at my belly button continuing until it blended with the pubic hair. I really didn't think anything was wrong with me; I just thought I was genetically hairier than every other girl. Well, the hair worsened and about the time I turned 19, my face exploded with acne. I never had a regular period, and after a visit with my Ob/Gyn, I came away with only a diagnoses of PCOS...not really understanding anything about this symptom (and yes, it is only a symptom; however the "S" stands for syndrome and there is a difference between that and a disease, but I'll explain in just a minute). After trying 3 kinds of birth control and many acne medicines, I'm 2 months into Yasmin and 3 months into Spironolactone. The acne is somewhat under control as I only have it on my cheeks and sides of my chin (but I am fed up with even the small amount I have, so I'm beginning Accutane December 16). Anyone with PCOS, I advise you to visit an endocrinologist. This problem is hormonally related, and not so much an ovarian disorder. Keep in mind, also, that this misnamed "syndrome" does not mean a girl has cysts on her ovaries. The follicles aren't cysts at all. See, each month a woman releases an egg. The normal, uninterrupted cycle will flush that egg every 28 days, approximately. With PCOS, the woman experiences irregular periods, ergo failing to flush the egg. This causes a "back-up," if you will, resulting in POLY-"many" follicles. The best and safest treatment is birth control, because after a lengthy period of time with no period, the cells which should have been shed monthly begin to mutate, and that's where many women run into ovarian cancer. Keeping your periods regular keeps the poly "follicles" from forming. One would think this would cure PCOS, but this is where the uneducated namers of this syndrome come into play. PCOS was named in the 1950s after women would report signs of hirsutism (excess, abnormal hair growth) along with acne and irregular periods (also, most - a reported 80% - are/were overweight). Our misguided forefathers named this collection of symptoms PCOS. The birth control helps regulate periods, but, you may ask, what about the hair and acne and weight? Spironolactone takes 6 months before it completely works on decreasing hair and making it nonexistent. I must say that my hair growth has slowed tremendously on this drug. (I'm taking 200mg/day, which is the max dose, but it isn't advised when taking Yasmin as well because of the DRSP in Yasmin. Both act in such ways as to increase K+ -Potassium- levels, which is highly dangerous, so I'm about to decrease my dose of Spiro to 50mg/day.) As for acne, this is when you want to work hand-in-hand with a dermatologist who will listen to you and try to work with you. I've been to many who blew me off, so find a good one. They are out there. Many treatments exist, the difficult and time consuming task is trying to find the right one(s) for you. As for the weight challenge with PCOS, I'm a little cloudy on this because I'm 5'8" and 123lbs. My bloodwork suggests nothing of PCOS (not elevated ANYTHING), not even insulin resistance (high insuling levels); mine were actually low, but because of the "collection of symptoms," that's the diagnoses given to me. Anyway, I've read about Metformin and Glucophage being effective in aiding weight-loss. So do check up on that along with a healthy diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, meat, grains (notice I said GRAINS...whole WHEAT does not equal whole GRAIN), and the healthy fats...if that isn't an oxymoron. Stay away from frozen foods, white flour, high fructose corn syrup, gluten, and saturated and trans fats (among other things, but I just listed what came to mind). That reminds me...the only reason HEART ATTACK, STROKE, and other life-threatening diseases are mentioned along with PCOS patients is that the majority are overweight. This is what causes those occurences. Just because you have PCOS, doesn't mean you are going to suffer from any of those. An overweight person without PCOS would be just as likely to experience these simply because they are overweight. This is not to say all of us "underweighters" are in the clear. We have to lead a healthy lifestyle as well. Remember...exercise is key no matter what age or weight you are!

Whew, I've written so much that I forgot my train of thought. I guess this is all I have to say for now. I'll post more if it comes to mind. Oh!! One very important point I can't stress enough...DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH!!!! PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE! Look up all you can about whatever may be ailing you. Get many many viewpoints. This will help not only to educate you, but will also give you a better understanding of what your doctor is telling you so that you may ask the right questions and be on the same train of thought as him/her. PLEASE do your own research!!! Most of my knowledge comes from reading others' experiences and researching tests, etc. I find myself usually one step ahead of the doctors when I go for a visit. This also helps me better determine if they are a "quack"...I use the term with all due respect because these doctors have gone to school and put themselves through a lot to be where they are. I guess a better way to say it is "...if they are best-suited to deal with my problems..."

Hope I helped a little. I know I went on and on, but if you get one thing out of this, let it be to DO YOUR OWN IN-DEPTH RESEARCH. Have a wonderful holiday, and I look forward to reading all the replies!

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