My Time On Spironolactone

My Time On Spironolactone

Treating PCOS is really tough. Everyone is different so what works for some might not work for others. The treatments include various types of birth control, Metformin, diet changes, medications that help ovulation, Spironolactone and losing weight if overweight or obese.

When I was in my early 20s, I was put on Spironolactone to help with my PCOS symptoms. Here is how it went.

What is Spironolactone?

Image result for Spironolactone
Taken from http://www.webmd.com

Spironolactone is a diuretic most commonly used to treat heart problems, high blood pressure and low potassium (see here: https://www.drugs.com/spironolactone.html) It is also used to treat PCOS related symptoms which include acne, hair loss and excess male-pattern hair growth. This is due in part to its ability to lower androgen levels.

The dosages women are usually given are in the range of 50-200 mg per day. There are a lot of side effects that one can experience. These include weight gain, low energy, muscle loss, headaches, nausea/vomiting, itchy skin, dehydration and aggravation of PCOS symptoms ( see here: https://pcos.com/spironolactone/ ).

My Experience with it

I started taking Spironolactone when I was 21 years old with the goal of controlling my acne and oiliness. It was worse at that time than it is now. I also had mild hirsutism (it is worse now).

My dosage started out at 25 mg. We decided on this dose because I am really sensitive to medications. The maximum dosage for me was going to be 50 mg.

The first couple weeks at 25 mg, I noticed no side effects. Some women lose water weight at first but since I never weigh myself due to past eating disorder issues, I did not notice any.

Since it is potassium-sparing, I had to watch my diet to make sure I was not consuming a lot of foods that contained potassium in them (i.e. bananas). I also had to go in for blood tests to get the potassium level checked.

It does take around three months to notice differences in your skin so I was told not to get my hopes up for instant results. After tolerating 25 mg, I moved up to 50 mg. This was when I started to experience side effects.

The first thing I noticed was that my strength for weight lifting really went down. I went from being able to bench press 150 pounds to only being able to bench press 75 pounds. Also, I would black out sometimes when trying to push ups.

I also experienced some pelvic pain at times. It was sharp and caused me to double over. Even still, I kept taking the medication. I was really hoping that these side effects might go away and it would start working for me.

After three months on the medication, I can honestly say that I did not notice much of anything positive from it. The only thing that I guess got a little better was the oiliness of my skin. It was still pretty bad at times though.

My acne actually got worse on it. Little pimples showed up in the mustache area and I would regularly get two huge cysts on both sides of my nose. It was embarrassing to say the least. The pock marks by my nose are daily reminders of what I had to deal with.

I decided to stop taking it shortly after having a horrible breakout on my cheeks. It was so bad and took about six weeks to clear up. There was no reason to continue taking the medication anymore.

Do I recommend it despite my experience?

My experience is my own. There are a lot of people who have had great success when on Spironolactone. With that said, I would recommend it for someone who has PCOS or just bad acne.

It could work for someone else and be the key to fixing their problems. It is not good of me to sit here and say that since it did not help me at all, it won’t help others.

Have any of you been on this medication?

Excess Hair (PCOS Sucks!) and Gua Sha Treatment

Excess Hair (PCOS Sucks!) and Gua Sha Treatment

The Ferriman-Gallwey scale for the measure of hirsutismIllustration: Mona Chalabi

So I have talked about not having much hair on my eyebrows. The annoying thing is that with PCOS, I have too much hair in areas where I do not want it. This is a common issue that women with this diagnosis deal with.

My facial hair showed up when I was about 14 years old and it has been a problem ever since. It makes me self conscious because I feel so manly. I hate it but I try to think that things could be a lot worse for me.

In this society, being hairless is seen as feminine. This is especially true for the male pattern hair growth that many of us with PCOS have. It is not supposed to be there at all according to whoever.

My facial hair first showed up as a mustache which I would get waxed regularly. In my 20s I started getting some random neck hairs along with it. This was not really a big deal as I would pluck them and they would not grow back for a while.

Unfortunately, it has gotten worse these days.  I get small amounts of hair on my chin, mustache area and neck. These get shaved off every morning and then by around 6:00 PM, they sprout up again. It is so crazy to me that they grow back so fast!

Laser hair removal seems really expensive to me right now and plus I have heard a lot of negative things about having it done. So I guess for now I will keep shaving daily. I just needed to vent because I was feeling annoyed during my latest shaving session. Here is the facial shaver I use: https://www.amazon.com/Removal-Laxcare-Painless-Perfect-Waterproof/dp/B075R1XQWT/ref=sr_1_3?crid=V89H2QRJO6GU&keywords=laxcare+facial+hair+removal&qid=1555991168&s=gateway&sprefix=laxcare%2Caps%2C185&sr=8-3

Gua Sha Treatment

Image result for gua sha tools

I decided to hop on the fad train and try the Gua Sha treatment for my face. I bought a jade tool like the one pictured above. It was only about $9.00 on Amazon.

The reason why I wanted to try this is because I am always looking for things that can improve my skin and not be too expensive. Doing the Gua Sha treatment also seemed pretty easy from what I saw on YouTube.

I went into it not expecting much from it because after all, it is just a piece of stone. So far I have done one treatment and I can honestly say that I see a difference in my face. It is like it is more “plumped” or something. I can not explain very well but it does look better. My mother even commented on it.

I would highly recommend for others to purchase one of these stones and try this treatment method. There are quite of few videos on it that tell/show you how to do it. I think I will be doing it 4-5 times a week in the evenings. I hope I get even better results over time.

Has anyone reading this tried it? Did you get any good results?

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Workout Change Up and Health Issues

Workout Change Up and Health Issues

Hi all! It is getting closer to summer and I am super excited! I just wanted to post an update on a couple of things today.

Workout routine change

I said a while ago that I like to do workout routines for a certain amount of time and then pick a different one. Well I am excited that I finished the eight weeks of the upper/lower/HIIT routine! I was getting sick of it to be quite honest.

My new workout routine is going to be the War Room Strategies (my post about it:War Room Strategies). It is going to be tough but wonderful! Like I said in the other post, I highly recommend this routine.

Since it is getting so nice out where I live, I think I will start walking for an hour in the morning after my son goes to preschool. I just feel like I am sitting a little too much. 10,000 steps a day is what I am going for!

Health issues

The monthly flare ups I have of horrible gastric issues is really getting to me. It usually only happens during the fertile window of my cycle but now it seems to be happening whenever. I hate these flare ups so much because I am unable to have quality family time during them.

I was thinking that I might have endometriosis so I posted my flare up problem on a forum dedicated to that condition. The women told me that it sounds more like a hormonal thing that relates to my PCOS diagnosis.

I want to get my hormones tested again so I can maybe figure out what is going on. Birth control is something that doctors like to prescribe for PCOS symptoms but I really do not like the possible side effects of them. Maybe with the hormone level results the doctor would be able to find the birth control that would work the best and not give me a lot of side effects.

I just need some solution to this problem. Enough is enough.

PCOS and Current Health Problems

PCOS and Current Health Problems

I just wanted to talk a little more about PCOS as well as my current health problems.

There are medications that are commonly prescribed to women that have PCOS. These include Spironolactone (for excess hair, acne and oily skin), Metformin (helps control blood sugar) and fertility aids. You can find a lot of success stories from women who have taken these. I have taken Spironolactone as well as a birth control pill. Neither did anything for me to be honest. Metformin is not something I am willing to try due to the side effects but that should not deter someone else from trying it.

There are also dietary changes and methods that a lot of women with PCOS employ in order to minimize and control their symptoms. Ketogenic and low carb diets are extremely popular these days and women have had so much success with them. There is also the low glycemic index diet, intermittent fasting and plain old calorie cutting/counting. I have tried going keto and low carb but I just can not stick with it at this time in my life. Plus, it seems to be too expensive for me.

Here are some great resources for women who know they have PCOS or who think they might have it:

  1. https://www.reddit.com/r/PCOS/
  2. http://www.soulcysters.net/
  3. https://www.pcosaa.org
  4. https://www.pcosdietsupport.com
  5. https://blog.feedspot.com/pcos_blogs

As far as current health problems go, I do have some issues I deal with. These include excess facial hair, a couple pimples during my menstrual cycle and extreme digestion problems during my fertile window. The digestion problems are my biggest issue right now and I am trying to find something that helps. This is one of the reasons I had to stop being a daycare provider and become a stay at home. It gets that bad each month and it interferes with my ability to be as functional as I need to be.  I am desperate for something that will make it go away or get better.

 

 

 

PCOS

PCOS

I have PCOS. I wanted to get straight to the point with that. If you have read up on PCOS and/or have it yourself, you would know how tough it can be. It affects women in varying degrees however. I have heard of some women who have had cysts found on their ovaries during an ultrasound exam but experienced no other symptoms than that. I am not one of those women.

I went through puberty at age 11 (5th grade). This is considered pretty early I believe. My periods were regular (still are) which was nice but I was still unhappy that I had to wear pads when none of my friends had to. Not long after I got my period  I also started getting bad acne. It started on my forehead and moved down to my chin and around my lips. Having acne shot my self esteem down even lower than it already was. It was tough enough being one of the very, VERY few black people in the school but to add in the disfigurement that the acne caused…whew! I felt so horrible and depressed.

Age 13 came around and I started developing lovely upper lip hair. My mom noticed it and pointed it out to me. I am not sure why I did not see it myself first. I ended up getting waxed regularly. Oh and I still had bad acne. As far as depression went, middle school was not as bad as 5th grade but there were still lingering feelings of sadness.

Everything becomes jumbled up beyond middle school in regards to how exactly I came to be diagnosed with PCOS. I know that in high school I still had bad acne, worsening depression, stomach fat, excess hair, oily skin and food cravings. These symptoms continued on except that I did decide to get fit and lost a lot of fat at age 19. Then at 24 I was diagnosed with PCOS.

I think I must have googled my symptoms one day and came to a PCOS site. I went to a Gynecologist to get the battery of tests that are done for a PCOS diagnosis. These included an ultrasound and blood tests (cholesterol, insulin, total testosterone, free testosterone, estrogen, DHEA and progesterone). The blood tests showed normal results but my ultrasound did show that I had cysts on my ovaries. You can still have normal hormone levels and have PCOS. This just means that your body is responding to your hormones as if they are out of whack.

There are medications you can take for PCOS and I will talk about that in the next post.