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Old 06-16-2008, 07:03 PM   #1
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Angry large pores, sebum, and peach fuzz

I am 30 yrs old, 5'5" and 125 lbs. I am self-diagnosed as my dr. just did a testosterone test which came back normal and said "I don't think you have PCOS". I'd love to try Metformin but have to get diagnosed first!

I've always had bad acne since age 11, went on Accutane at age 24 for 11 mos which got rid of the big cysts, anyway. Now, I just get blackheads and sebum that can be squeezed out of every pore at any time, I can spend hours just squeezing pore in the mirror any given day. The pores on my nose are *giant* and I wonder what can be done about this?

I am very discouraged by the general lack of information and knowledge about this entire affliction. If this were a disease affecting men, I should think that information and support and research would be so much more forthcoming- but again we are marginalized.

Also, I have long peach fuzz everywhere- on my face, neck and back- in fact I bought a man's facial shaver and use it weekly- it's the best thing I've found all year! This makes dating men hard, as men are always looking for every physical imperfection. I am constantly shaving and squeezing!

I assure you I've tried every acne cure there is- products (spa, doctor, and OTC), facials, self-facials, chem peels, diet, etc. Now there is a connection with diet, for sure! I have ALWAYS craved sugar and carbs (so does my mom and sister- and they both have hirutism and weight problems, my sis has acne too).
I am a vegetarian and always eat healthy- however when i do slip and indulge in food that *normal* people eat, my face suffers noticeably and immediately. Saturday, I had some beer, some pizza, and a little ice cream- and today- Monday my face is exploded with hundreds of pores loaded with sebum that can be squeezed out, so much that I cannot even get to them all. And I swear I can feel the peach fuzz literally growing on my face as I sit here. Its that immediate.

I only wish I had stable health insurance and I could actually convince my Doc that I *KNOW* I have PCOS. I must.
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Old 06-16-2008, 10:12 PM   #2
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Did your dr do any other tests? Or was testosterone the only thing?

Did he/she look at glucose level, tolerance?

Any other issues? irregular periods, pelvic pain, it's not always a gyn issue, I'm just looking for other signs than the hair and the acne.

No insurance makes getting diagnosed that much harder unless you happen to be independently wealthy

Next question what kind of dr was it? General Practice, Gyn...If you can round up the money I would recommend at least a consultation with an endocrinologist...not necessarily and reproductive one. But endo's and dr's familiar with PCOS look at the big picture, and not just one number.

Mine also tends to look at "nornal levels" a little differently, where normal may be 4-6, she aims to keep me at 2.5, 'cuz she sees I'll feel better there. So "normal" has variations.

I have one thought on the acne for you...cheap route witch hazel...sounds simple but it works, beautifully, cotton ball a couple times a day. Great toner(reduce those pores!), cleanser, natural...no chemicals to further irritate already sensitive skin.... and quit squeezing! Just damaging the skin!

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Old 06-17-2008, 11:10 PM   #3
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I would suggest getting a copy of your tests from your doctor--at least you'll have them ready when you have a chance to see another doctor. A new doc will be able to use them as a baseline comparison in evaluating your health.

I think its very unlikely that he tested only for testosterone. Usually they also test for TSH, T4 and T3, and others. These are other hormones that can cause similar symptoms. But the treatment is different so its important to know the cause.

Getting a copy of your test results will also tell you on what basis your doctor said your results are normal. About 5 years ago the association of endocrinologists updated the standards for "normal". But the change wasn't mandated by the FDA, so many labs didn't recalibrate their machines, and thus won't flag the result as abnormal. A busy doc then just skims the report and doesn't think there is a problem.

As for the food connection, IMO, which came first, the chicken or the egg? Hormones that cause acne can also cause cravings, so a desire for chocolate may be a warning sign, but not necessarily a cause of the acne.

I use diluted rubbing alcohol. Cheaper than other toners, and just as effective in removing bacteria, which is what any toner is meant to do. Then I apply toothpaste. IMO, this old standby works just as well as any other. Both are much cheaper than products sold specifically for acne, and serve dual purposes in your medicine cabinet. This doesn't eliminate the acne problem, just makes it go away faster.

For wanting to try Metformin, you might mosey on over to the medications and alternative therapies branches and read about cinnamon. It is a natural treatment that works like Met, and many cysters have luck with it. And you don't need a prescription!
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Old 06-18-2008, 09:28 AM   #4
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What does the toothpaste do exactly, Kodachrome?
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Old 06-18-2008, 09:56 AM   #5
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mmm, I've used toothpaste before, it basically dries-out the pimples, but in my case it kinda burns because I have very sensitive skin... it does work when I get a big one in my back though.
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Old 06-18-2008, 10:13 AM   #6
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I'm thinking that the grit in it would be exfoliating to the skin, and if it were a toothpaste for gingivitis, it might have an anti-septic in it, as well.

I would suggest using a handful of salt as a natural scrub. Wet your face first, grab a handful, and gently rub it all over your face (careful not to get in eyes). Then just wash it off. I sometimes do this right before a shower, while the shower heats up, then just let the stream of water rinse it off of my face. The witch hazel idea is good, too.

Now, as for the CAUSE - read the FAQ's sticky. There are some good suggestions for supplements that WILL help!! It also has info on Cinnamon. The lifestyle changes should be the core of any treatment plan - whether or not you're on Metformin.

It is important to attend to the hair thing now, before it gets any worse. Once a hair is "triggered" to going thicker and darker, it will never go back completely. It sounds like this process is just starting with your facial hair. There's a few things you can do. If you take BCP, switch to a variety that contains a little anti-androgen in it like Yasmin or Yaz. Some women also swear by a cup or two of peppermint tea every day. The diet/exercise/supplements should help long-term, but it can take up to a year for testosterone/SHBG (Sex Hormone Binding Globulin - which prevents testosterone from affecting you) levels to even out. With your family history, I would jump on this right away, at least with the mint tea!

Really, if you can even go for one visit, I would see an endo. Find out ahead of time what labs he needs, and get them done before you go in (so he'll have the results ahead of time). Another alternative is to see what studies may be happening in your area. Don't stick to PCOS - also explore anything to do with Insulin Resistance (the main cause of PCOS), Metabolic Syndrome, Syndrome X, and Type 2 Diabetes. Also, see if there's a teaching hospital near you. They will be up-to-date, and the students have a wealth of knowledge behind them, teaching them.

Just keep in mind that IR is the main cause of PCOS, and can cause other serious health issues like high cholesterol levels, heart rate, blood pressure, and an increased chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes. You also need to make sure you get your period at least once every 3 months to prevent an increased risk of getting uterine/cervical cancer. BCP's will help treat symptoms, but they do NOT treat the underlying issue.

Take care, and HTH!!! Hang in there!!!!
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DS (1992)
Diagnosed PCOS 1994
Cannot tolerate BCP
No treatment for 12 years
Now, Metformin 1,500 mg/day, Fish Oil, D3, good multi
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acne, face, hair, pores, sebum

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