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Androgen Levels Are Normal, Will Spironolactone Help?

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Hello,

My blood work results came back and all of my androgen levels were normal. My testosterone levels were 71. The chart said that 0-90 is normal, but I read somewhere else that above 70 is elevated. So I suppose that my testosterone levels could be considered "slightly elevated", but still normal. I was diagnosed with PCOS because my LH:FSH ratio is high and my periods are very irregular.

I'm currently taking 100mg of spironolactone. Since spiro is an anti-androgen, will it be useless in helping my acne? Or will I see less results? Or is this proof that my acne isn't hormonal?

Any thoughts would be appreciated. :)

Shawna

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I am looking for an answer to this question as well. We must have been tested using different units of measurement, because mine was a 7, and normal is 8-48. So I'm wondering if I have enough testosterone to make it work also. I have read that Spiro is a partial androgen agonist, but normally acts as an antagonist (what we want) in the presence of sufficient amounts of testosterone. Apparently sufficient includes normal levels for women, according to the studies, so you should be good. As for me, mine is actually slightly below normal so I'm not sure if I have enough to avoid the drug having an adverse effect on my acne. Hopefully others can provide some feedback too!

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Thanks, michi31, for your answer. That clears it up a bit. Did you get any other androgens tested?

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Just testosterone and free testosterone, which was on the low side of normal. So now I'm seeing an endo to test for other androgens and rule out other possibilities. Weird thing is that I have extra hair issues - so someting is definitely off with me. I'll find out more at my next appointment. Have you had other androgens tested?

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Yes, my DHEA-S levels were also tested. I think this is the other common androgen that usually gets tested. My results landed right in the middle of the normal range, so no concern there. Good luck with your endocrinologist!

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Hey if you are interested in reading more about this subject this is a good article about treating acne with spiro. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3315877/ In it is mentioned studies that show that even women who have normal blood work can also see benefits from using spiro to treat their acne.

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My endo said that once your receptors are sensitized to test, they remain so, even if your test levels are low. This goes for the hair receptors and acne receptors. It explains why spiro works in people who have low test.

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Hi!

Wanted to chime in because I once saw an insensitive endocrinologist ("your hormone levels are normal, you do not have PCOS"), and yet spiro has worked wonders for my skin. As has been alluded to in previous posts, just because your bloodstream fits a "normal" prototype doesn't mean that your skin is the same, and that is what counts here. My androgen levels (and everything else) were normal, but spiro helped SO much more than accutane, antibiotics, topicals, etc.

Good luck!

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Thanks! Do you know what your androgen levels were? I ask because mine are slightly below the normal range...yet I have hirsutuism. Weird. Also, did you have an initial outbreak? I was on it for a week and started breaking out bad so I quit. I read that the androgen antagonist properties are triggered by competition with testosterone for the androgen receptor, so my theory was that my testosterone was so low that the androgen agonist properties were kicking in instead. Just a theory.

Hi!

Wanted to chime in because I once saw an insensitive endocrinologist ("your hormone levels are normal, you do not have PCOS"), and yet spiro has worked wonders for my skin. As has been alluded to in previous posts, just because your bloodstream fits a "normal" prototype doesn't mean that your skin is the same, and that is what counts here. My androgen levels (and everything else) were normal, but spiro helped SO much more than accutane, antibiotics, topicals, etc.

Good luck!

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Endocrine regulation is extremely complicated (and I'm a nursing student!)... testosterone is actually a precursor to estrogen, and low levels of one do not indicate the presence/absence of the other. You can also have totally normal androgen/estrogen levels, and still have skin that's extremely sensitive to testosterone-- this was the case for me. Spiro will take AT LEAST three months or so before you see any improvement, your doctor should have mentioned this? I had initial outbreaks also, and it really took me 6-9 months for noticeable improvement.

Thanks! Do you know what your androgen levels were? I ask because mine are slightly below the normal range...yet I have hirsutuism. Weird. Also, did you have an initial outbreak? I was on it for a week and started breaking out bad so I quit. I read that the androgen antagonist properties are triggered by competition with testosterone for the androgen receptor, so my theory was that my testosterone was so low that the androgen agonist properties were kicking in instead. Just a theory.

Hi!

Wanted to chime in because I once saw an insensitive endocrinologist ("your hormone levels are normal, you do not have PCOS"), and yet spiro has worked wonders for my skin. As has been alluded to in previous posts, just because your bloodstream fits a "normal" prototype doesn't mean that your skin is the same, and that is what counts here. My androgen levels (and everything else) were normal, but spiro helped SO much more than accutane, antibiotics, topicals, etc.

Good luck!

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Right, testosterone can be converted to estrogen or DHT right? What does that have to do with this though? I'm truly curious, I find this stuff fascinating. My endo said it is most likely overactive enzymes at the skin level that is causing my problems...so "oversensitivity". He did say it can take 6-9 months for Spiro to work. I'm fine with waiting it out, but not if I'm going to be significantly worse. I got an under the skin cyst, which I still have 2.5 months later, during the week I took Spiro. I have never had a cyst like that in my life. Ever. I can't risk more scarring waiting for things to get better. It sucks so much because I really do believe in this medication, but I don't understand the science behind the initial outbreak. How long did yours last for? I may try again in conjunction with an antibiotic to control the outbreak.

Endocrine regulation is extremely complicated (and I'm a nursing student!)... testosterone is actually a precursor to estrogen, and low levels of one do not indicate the presence/absence of the other. You can also have totally normal androgen/estrogen levels, and still have skin that's extremely sensitive to testosterone-- this was the case for me. Spiro will take AT LEAST three months or so before you see any improvement, your doctor should have mentioned this? I had initial outbreaks also, and it really took me 6-9 months for noticeable improvement.

Thanks! Do you know what your androgen levels were? I ask because mine are slightly below the normal range...yet I have hirsutuism. Weird. Also, did you have an initial outbreak? I was on it for a week and started breaking out bad so I quit. I read that the androgen antagonist properties are triggered by competition with testosterone for the androgen receptor, so my theory was that my testosterone was so low that the androgen agonist properties were kicking in instead. Just a theory.

Hi!

Wanted to chime in because I once saw an insensitive endocrinologist ("your hormone levels are normal, you do not have PCOS"), and yet spiro has worked wonders for my skin. As has been alluded to in previous posts, just because your bloodstream fits a "normal" prototype doesn't mean that your skin is the same, and that is what counts here. My androgen levels (and everything else) were normal, but spiro helped SO much more than accutane, antibiotics, topicals, etc.

Good luck!

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