When I was ten years old, I started to develop the velvety dark skin in my underarm area as well as very dark and dry elbows.
It wasn't until I was 16 in high school when my period hadn't started, my breasts had no development, the underarm darkness was getting worse did I break down and force my mother to insist to my doctor that something was wrong.
I then saw a endocrinologist who took one look at me and said, yep, you have PCOS.
I then went through all the tests remembering how high my testosterone and insulin levels were.
I started the Zone diet, did cardio and weight lifting 3-4 times per week for one hour, was on 800mg of Glucophage (metformin), birth control pills, and a small amount of spironolactone to prevent any unwanted male-patterned hair growth.
I did really well for about two years until I started gaining weight.
I went off the Glucophage and started 0.25mg per day of dexamethasone. The results were amazing!
All of the underarm discoloration and texture disappeared. The skin tags, body odor, dry skin, insomnia, hair growth etc. just disappeared! I was so excited, oh did I mention I lost 27 lbs in two months!
Then, my endocrinologist left his practice and I was stuck. I went to the only endocrinologist type of doctor - who really was an ob/gyn. He took me off the steroids and just put me on bcp = gained weight and all PCOS signs came back.
I then found a diabetes specialist who put me on Actos. This required a monthly liver test for fear of destroying the liver.
While on Actos all of my body fat moved to my abdomen. It was scary. I looked like a starving child in Africa!
So, I went off the Actos to discover that the endocrinologist was leaving his practice too. I then went to another doctor about 20 min. from my home, (a diabetes specialist) who told me that I did not have PCOS, that I was just obese and needed to eat less and exercise more.
Mind you I had not changed my exercise routine since I was 17 years old, so I was a bit offended.
He then tried a hydroxalase test to see if I had Hyperandrogenism, due to 21-hydroxylase deficiency.
That was fun (insert sarcastic snide). I had to go to the blood lab and have my blood drawn, then I was shot up with cortisone, waited half an hour and had my blood drawn again. Then I was shot up with a different dose of cortisone and had my blood drawn again. And every time that phlebotomist would bruise me each time!!!
Ok, fast forward....I decided to go off all drugs except the birth control pill Yasmin. While on Yasmin, I got pregnant. You heard right. After years and years of drug therapy -- I knew how to take my pills appropriately, so that wasn't the issue. Apparently, my body became "normal" while on bcp and actually ovulated while on the pill.
While pregnant I was a borderline gestational diabetic and to my ob's dismay gained like 60lbs.
After having my beautiful daughter, I have been unable to dip below 200 lbs :(
I took myself off bcp after developing a bad case of paranoia and anxiety and have been off since.
So I guess the reason I am sharing my story is because my male hair growth is now severe (face, neck, legs, lip, back, arms), the darkness under my arm pits is worsen and is now on my neck, the weight is clearly only around my abdomen, and I am so tired.
Well after a blood test my gp called to inform me that my thyroid levels are not good.
Even with proper exercise and diet, it seems that stress has got the best of me, or my PCOS is too severe.
Fortunately, there is a new endocrinologist in town that I can go to and get some feedback. And with the thyroid issue, I hopefully will be seen soon. I'm guessing drug therapy is the answer.
Since I have been out of the loop for so long, what is out there that is working for everyone? I will keep you informed!
Editor's comments: Have any of your doctors mentioned "insulin resistance" in relation to PCOS?
If so, there are a number of ways to reduce that problem. A diet such as the one described in The Natural Diet Solution for PCOS and Infertility focuses on whole foods with a low glycemic load that should reduce your body's need to produce so much insulin. Secondly, there are a number of nutrients helpful for insulin resistance, such as chromium and vitamin D. The d-pinitol formula contains both of these nutrients.
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