Jump to content
Acne.org
Search In
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
Maya2010

Accutane for hormonal acne? Sprio instead? NEED HELP!

Recommended Posts

Hi everyone,

So here is my story:

I never realized how prone to acne I am until I went off of Yasmin 6 months ago after 8 consecutive years--my skin turned abysmal, horrible, out of control with cysts and whiteheads. Of course I suspected it was hormonal but I tried treating things otherwise (with antibiotics, retin A etc) because I thought my body just needs to adjust. It didn't. My OBGYN diagnosed me with PCOS and put me back on the pill. 2 cycles later my face is nearly breakout free BUT--and this is the problem--I have horrible horrible scarring and red-marks left from my little experiment off the pill.

So now here is my dillema: I want to "cure" my acne for good so that I could go ahead and pay for chemical peels and laser and what not knowing that they'd be effective over time. I was planning to take Accutane--signed up on the iPledge and now in the 30 day wait period--thinking that I should go through a course before I pursue any scar treatment. But now, when I was doing some reading, I started looking into Spiro and realized that it's used to treat exactly women in my situation.

NOW I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO!

I am dreading Accutane to begin with (I started a course when I was much younger, maybe 16, and stopped because of excessive side effects), and I don't want to have to wait 6 months to treat my scars (6 months treatment + 6 months wait = a whole year! Which is a lot when you're 25 and single!). Not to mention that my skin is now virtually clear because of Yasmin so it seems counter intuitive to go on Accutane. Maybe I should try Sprio instead?. But how long could I take Spiro for? I mean, it's not a "permanent" solution like Accutane right? I know Accutane comes back after several years in cases of hormonal acne but those are still 3 years you're not taking medication every day.

NEED ALL THE HELP I CAN GET. ANY ADVICE/COMMENT/EXPERIENCES you can share would be highly, highly appreciated.

Thanks so much,

Maya

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Spiro only works as long as you're on it. Good thing is, you can be on it forever if you want to (as far as I'm aware). You will need to stop taking it if you want to have children as it can mess with the fetus. You'll also need your electrolytes, kidneys, and liver tested every so often.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Have you taken it for long?

Any of the side effects?

What I'm really wondering is if sometimes Accutane can cure hormonal acne for good.. I know in a lot of cases it doesn't, but can it?

Thanks again!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Have you taken it for long?

Any of the side effects?

What I'm really wondering is if sometimes Accutane can cure hormonal acne for good.. I know in a lot of cases it doesn't, but can it?

Thanks again!

It's almost impossible to tell if someone's acne is hormonal unless they've tried the diet/BCP, etc modifications with improvement. Or of course, increased breakouts due to menses cycle, that's one clue. I honestly have not heard of hormonal acne (if so diagnosed) ever being completely 'cured' by isotretinoin. I was clear for six years after Accutane, but not sure whether the BCP or the Accutane was the cause of the clarity. Once I got too old to take the pill safely, I began to break out more again. My current regimen (see signature) generally keeps me clear when I follow it. ;)

You, with PCOS, would of course benefit greatly from spiro. It's specifically an anti-androgen (and of course a diuretic). You'll have to alter your diet slightly, and increase your fluid intake to maintain hydration. Two of the biggest side effects to spironolactone are: decreased blood pressure (as that's why it is usually prescribed, in men, too!) and a feeling of tiredness (due to altered hormones AND dehydration). Generally, the feeling of tiredness goes away once your body becomes accustomed to the medication. ALWAYS maintain your hydration. Talk with your doctor about a proper diet if you do decide to go on spiro.

As the poster above also mentions, spiro is a medication that can mess with ones electrolytes and organ function so that's why the routine blood tests are required.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since you have PCOS I think you should go on spiro. It will help clear up your hormonal imbalance and if you have excess hair or hair loss it will also help that, or prevent it from happening to begin with. Once you lose the hair follicles, they're sometimes gone for good, so by using spiro you can mitigate that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Have you taken it for long?

Any of the side effects?

What I'm really wondering is if sometimes Accutane can cure hormonal acne for good.. I know in a lot of cases it doesn't, but can it?

Thanks again!

I've been on Spiro for almost 9 months now. There have been some thirst/urination issues, but that's to be expected. It's also made my cycles much shorter and (I fear) might have stopped them altogether, but it's too early to tell.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with everyone that you would be a good candidate for sprio because of PCOS and the fact that you were clear with BCP. I started about 3.5 months ago and after 3 weeks all my large cysts and nodules were gone. I'm pretty clear now, but I do have some clogged pores and blackheads.

Spiro has been a life saver for me. But as everyone else said you must stay hydrated and get your potassium levels tested.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you don't want to take the drug route, try diet, seriously. Look for any posts by alternativista - she has tons of info on how your diet affects your hormones.

Your problem could be as simple as avoiding dairy, you know? I think it's worth a try before you depend on drugs forever. It can be overwhelming trying to figure out the right diet, but it's much more satisfying and probably cheaper and healthier in the long run.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To add to that, just look at how most people say that you must monitor your levels of this and your intake of that... just like with diet, except that you're doing something good for your entire body instead of trying to get a quick fix and possibly doing more damage or avoiding a more serious health issue.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^ Yes but so is diet. For instance, this page explains how insulin is at the root of PCOS and diet is really the best way to control insulin.

If you google PCOS and diet there are plenty of websites that stress how important diet is when you have PCOS. Not even just to treat it, but to prevent more serious health risks that are associated with it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Really interesting debate.

On the one hand, I'm usually inclined to not take any unnecessary medication. I'm young (24) and healthy and my body generally fights off things by itself. But when it came to this acne ordeal, it got really out of hand. I would say I eat generally healthy--I'm not anal, but I don't eat fried foods, not much sweets, whole grains when I eat carbs. At the same time, though, I have to eat out often and so my lifestyle wouldn't allow me to keep tabs down to the last gram so easily.

I think, like in a lot of other health situations, it's a choice. There are plenty of other conditions that could be alleviated, if not totally cured, by changing our lifestyle but we choose to take medication instead because it demands less effort.

I guess because acne involves the face, which is the first thing the world sees, and because I already have a lot of scarring and redspots from the past few months, I don't want to experiment anymore. Accutane is so bad for your body that I'm inclined to just skip it, stay on Yasmin and take Spiro if I need it. But I feel that I'll be missing a "chance" to cure my acne--I mean, Accutane is really the closest thing to a solution, albeit imperfect and not really permanent for people prone to it. On the one hand, you'd want to avoid taking Accutane like the plague (I have really dry skin so when I was on it once before it was horrendous) but then again the results are pretty amazing... and would allow me to not have to take Spiro or what not afterward.

In any case, dietary changes are something I'm working on already! I've reduced dairy intake and am working on cutting out any form of refined sugar. And I always work out at least 3 times a week.. will be doing a lot more reading on this--thanks for posting the link to the PCOS article, it's really helpful and a great start.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cool glad you checked it out. Knowledge is powerrr! haha

I was ready to take Accutane 2 months ago because I was so fed up. I considered Spiro too because Yaz really helped my acne, but made me miserable though and I've never been a fan of BCP. I thought Spiro might do the same and I didn't want to depend on a drug to keep me clear. So I started researching all the Accutane blogs and said fock it, I'm taking it. I was so nervous though, there are still people who have terrible experiences on 'tane and some are permanent.

I basically scared myself out of it and said that I can deal with my acne, I have for this long and I can continue to if I have to. What I can't deal with is arthritis or joint pain or depression or hair loss that I could end up with for the rest of my life. Accutane is a serious drug, and needs to be treated seriously.

So I hope I don't sound like I'm telling you what to do, I'm not trying to. I just hope you do your research and decide for yourself what's best for you :) That's awesome that you're already conscious of your diet too! It certainly doesn't hurt. I hope it helps you in the long run. Keep us posted! =]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^ Yes but so is diet. For instance, this page explains how insulin is at the root of PCOS and diet is really the best way to control insulin.

If you google PCOS and diet there are plenty of websites that stress how important diet is when you have PCOS. Not even just to treat it, but to prevent more serious health risks that are associated with it.

Diet is important in PCOS, but not all pcosers are IR.

Also, if the androgens are really high, they need meds to be brought down along with diet, before they can stop the meds.

Most people with PCOS cannot just control it with diet at the outset, if ever. It's all very complicated, with not only androgens being high. Other hormones are usually out of whack as well. And like I said, a large subset don't have IR.

When I followed a PCOS diet to control my acne it gave me excess estrogen and more acne and my hair fell out. My estrogen went unchecked. So, it's very complicated. If I eat all vegetables and grains, I feel and look worse. I actually can't eat too many veggies and grains because of what it does to estrogen. I think this is why a lot of people's acne gets worse on the diet -- hormones are really complicated and veggies and grains are very estrogen inducing.

Also, if someone has a hormonal imbalance and is overweight, diet affects them better, because weight loss in obese people decreases estrogen and IR.

Not all PCOSers are overweight, so diet affects them differently. Basically, if you're overweight and IR, losing weight will help your symptoms much more dramatically than if you're thin without IR, in which case, diet has less of an effect.

Edited by Anti - Em
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry I neglected this for a while, I was super busy moving but am all settled in my new place now.

Thanks once again for the replies, very interesting food for thought. I can't say I know what the answer is, I suppose in a sense all hormones are controlled by what we eat and the way we lead our lives, but if you are genetically prone in some way to produce more (or imbalanced) hormones, and you can't just get rid of stress in your life and follow a strict food regimen, then diet may not be enough.

As for me, I've pretty much decided against Accutane. I finished my 2nd cycle back on Yasmin and haven't had a single breakout (except for when I forgot to take one pill! How sensitive is my body to hormones?!). I have a Spiro prescription which I'm still deliberating about; I might try it and see if it helps with other PCOS symptoms. (I'm not at all overweight, 5-7 and 130lb, but I think I do have excess facial hair.. and the dermatologist said Spiro might help). Accutane, with all its side effects, is just not worth it as a preventative method. Especially since you have to wait a minimum of 6 months before performing cosmetic procedures.

So now I'm looking into dermabrasion--micro, laser--and chemical peels, trying to decide what's best for my situation. I will try to ask around in the scar treatment forum, and hopefully things will be looking better in a few months!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



  • Personalized Advice Quiz - All of Acne.org in just a few minutes


×