I Finally Don't Feel Alone

by Hannah
(Melbourne, Florida)

It has been a long struggle with PCOS for me. I am an exercise junkie who eats healthy, which lead most doctors to disregard everything I ever told them. I have struggled with irregular periods since I was 11 years old, which everyone said was normal for a young girl, or would say that it was stress related.

At 13 I developed severe cystic acne, which doctor's tried to slap everything onto: Accutane, Retin-A, Antibiotics, every topical cream imaginable, I've tried it. I went to a naturalist doctor who had me go on a liver cleanse, which gave me the runs and not a clearer face. These products would help for a time, but it would always come back with a vengeance. I am now 24 years old with disgusting cystic acne, overgrowth of hair on my face that I constantly have to get threaded (which is terrible because around my jawline are the most painful cysts) and I have such pain in my pelvis.

It wasn't until I moved to Florida that a Dermatologist became aggravated that they couldn't fix me and sent me to a Gynecologist, who suspected I had PCOS and said, don't worry about it until you want to get pregnant.

I finally found a doctor that would listen to me, and was familiar with PCOS and didn't just shuffle you off to a different specialist to waste your time and money. She gave me 2000 mg of Metformin and to eat a low carb diet. Things aren't perfect, but they are getting better.

It is so hard sometimes to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I know most people might be reading this thinking that I am being superficial, but cystic acne is PAINFUL, these nodules hurt to touch, wake you up at night if you move your head the wrong way and don't fade for anything. A face is just a face, I can deal with that, I'm a lot more than that. It's the struggle that gets me. The struggle of people thinking that I am dirty, that I eat greasy foods, that I don't take care of myself. I do and I always have tried to. I've had people stop me in the street and try to tell me about proactive. Yeah, I've heard about it, thanks.

This is just my sob story to say I hope to God that more people get the information faster than I did. I hope doctors become more understanding and knowledgeable about this condition and I hope that more people see this website. It is so incredible what a support system can do for you. Thank you for keeping this site up, really appreciate it.

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How to deal with acne and excessive hair growth
by: PCOS site editor

Acne and unwanted facial hair growth are two facets of the same problem, which is over-production of dihydrotestosterone (called DHT). DHT is made from testosterone, a male hormone.

Acne and hirsutism are due to a number of factors besides DHT, but DHT is a primary factor.

So the idea is to reduce the relative levels of the raw material, which is testosterone. In addition, you would want to reduce the conversion of testosterone into DHT.

There is no doubt that a healthier diet will help you accomplish these goals. Here are a few quick tips: eat more fish, cut way down on red meats, eat AT LEAST five servings of vegetables daily, have several pieces of whole fruit daily, eat more nuts and seeds, cut way down on supermarket vegetable oils, stay away from dairy products (especially milk), and -- very important! -- cut way, way, way down on refined carbohydrates found in manufactured foods. I would suggest you avoid all gluten grains (wheat, rye, barley) and see what happens.

What we're talking about is a highly nutritious diet that is high in fiber and low in saturated fat.

You might have a look at taking natural progesterone. Possibly you're low in progesterone. A lab test would be informative. Progesterone can inhibit the production of DHT.

Get a vitamin D test. You can clear up a lot of problems by making sure your vitamin D level is in the mid-range of normal.

There are a large number of nutritional supplements that inhibit the conversion of testosterone into DHT. One example is saw palmetto extract.

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