Have you tried an elimination diet? And I think the derm who suggested the tests rather than just prescribing antibiotics and accutane sounds better than average, although I don't think tose conditions look like cysts, but don't really know. Do your cysts appear in specific places.
In the last 6 months, I have limited dairy by 90%. I used to drink 24 oz of milk a day and plenty of cheese, and now I only have 3 tablespoons of milk a day in my tea. I decreased my intake of refined carbs by quite a lot too. Mind you, the derm I talked to recently who told me to get a culture told me this was to identify the bacteria so it can be treated with an antibiotic that it is sensitive to...so maybe he's not so better than average? At least he didn't tell me to get on Accutane. If it is negative gram folliculitis I am screwed, because there is really nothing you can do for it except Accutane, or, rounds of heavy penicillin type antibiotics for the rest of your life. That scares me and makes me want to get off my clindamycin gel very, very soon.
The majority of my cysts occurs on my chin, neck, and inner cheeks. I also get acne around my mouth frequently (cysts and nodules too, fun!). This mouth acne has only happened in the year, which I find odd. Never before did I get lip acne that bad until about one year back, and I cannot find a reason why. During this time I also developed nose acne, which I never had before. I have tried to go without topicals and use water only/cleanser only, but the nodules and cysts get so painful I actually cannot sleep and have trouble eating. It also affects my job in real estate, as I am constantly dealing with clients and having cystic acne in very uncomfortable and visible places is an embarrassment and I feel I look unprofessional and dirty (although I know that's not true in actuality).
Although I am a believer in natural medicine, this last year I have really tried to incorporate healthier eating habits, lifestyle changes, etc. and my acne seems to have worsened. I think getting a culture would probably at least give me an answer to whether or not I have the negative gram bacteria, because, if I do I need to stop taking clindamycin immediately as it is useless.
What is your diet like?
What do you eat and what do you eliminate?
Are you consistent with your diet?
Have you identified any intolerances?
Do you suffer from any illnesses or experience regular bodily discomfort (aches, migraines, bloating, itchiness, regular colds, etc)?
Any psychological problems (anxiety, insomnia, poor mood, fatigue, etc)?
Diet is probably not the best, but not the worst. Beef, chicken, tuna, turkey, pork as proteins, normally baked but sometimes fried or in a stew/sauce. Assorted veggies such as carrots, green beans, broccoli, coliflower, corn, peas, lettuce, and v8 juice (low sodium). I don't eat a lot of fruit. Carbs come from brown rice, whole wheat pasta, legumes such as kidney beans and pinto beans, lentils, quinoa, and sometimes white potatoes (although I have tried to limit that, but it's difficult for me). Typical dishes I make are baked chicken thighs marinated in bbq sauce or italian dressing with a side of brown rice and steamed assorted veggies, or beef and bean chili with tomatoes, onions, celery, and garlic. Often I will just have a steak too for lunch with veggies. I make enchiladas without cheese quite often. Basically, commonly eaten foods but with no dairy and substituting brown rice/whole wheat pasta for regular etc. and trying to limit preserved/frozen foods. I do not eat soda or candy, and fast food is a rarity. I have tried more recently to eat even less grains, while upping my intake of legumes and veggies.
To answer your other questions, I have decreased dairy (no cheese, and only milk is in my tea 3x a day) and refined carbs, no other huge changes.. I would say I am pretty consistent but not perfect. A few times a week I may splurge and eat a hamburger,or potato chips, french fries, cookies, etc. I have not identified intolerances yet, as my acne never seems to calm down. I do suffer from migraines here and there. I have back pain sometimes, and muscles spasms a few times a year (once it was very severe which required some heavy duty muscle relaxers). I get itchy often, sometimes uncontrollable whenever I get stressed or exercise, thats new. It is an all over body itch the lasts for minutes.
I am prone to depression. I have a history of panic attacks and agoraphobia (although I have conquered those for the most part), but I am easily made anxious and many times, the majority of my day is spent trying to calm myself and relax. It used to be much worse. I actually had to take time off of college because I was having daily panic attacks and I became completely homebound for a year. Also, much of my teen/early adult years were spent in rehabs and psychiatrist offices. I am a former alcoholic/drug addict (hard drugs), but I have been recovered for 5 years.
That being said, I fixate on my face a lot and get so stressed out about my acne. I picked up smoking cigarettes again after quitting for a while because of the stress. In short, my emotional health is far from perfect but it is lightyears ahead of what it used to be. I now do a great job in my opinion in managing my emotional issues through deep breathing, acceptance, and coping skills which I learned from an excellent holistic minded Psychologist I saw for many years. I now have a great career, a recently purchased house, and a very supportive and understanding fiancee. To come from where I was at in my earlier years to where I am at now, I am immensely proud, and a changed man for good. That is why I get so mad, at the most healthiest time of my life with so much I have accomplished, why am I still dealing with cystic acne?
Sorry for the long post guys, just thought i'd get it all out there.
Edited by lostinthefog87, 09 April 2013 - 03:03 AM.