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Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (Pcos), Acne, And Insulin Resistance?

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So, my skin has been pretty bad for a while now, but the last few days it has gotten significantly worse. Then today, I got my period and now I'm laid up in bed with the WORST cramps, possibly an ovarian cyst. A little backstory... my mom and several other female relatives have PCOS. I'm pretty sure I do as well, though I've never had an x-ray to prove it, but my last OBGYN always referred to me as having it, and I've experienced (very, very painful) ovarian cysts a handful of times in the past. In general, I get horrible cramps when I get my period, which are even worse when I'm not on birth control. I went off birth control about 6 months ago because I didn't like the side effects, mainly the changes in my mood. About 2-3 months ago, my skin broke out horribly and has only gotten worse since.

I know that breakouts before menstruation are common for women with acne, and I know my acne is related to hormones, but the relationship between my worsening skin and my PCOS have never been as clear to me as today. So I'm reading online and trying to figure out what that relationship might be, and finding some really interesting stuff. From what I can tell, PCOS, hyperandrogenism (which causes hormonal acne in women and I'm 99% sure is the cause of mine) and insulin resistance/high blood sugar are all extremely intertwined. It seems doctors aren't really sure which ones are symptoms and which ones are causes of the others. I will hopefully have health insurance soon, though I'll likely be paying for it out of pocket so going to a doctor for something like Spiro is still not ideal. I know Spiro has worked really well for so many people, and since it's an anti-androgen it would probably help both my skin and my PCOS, and I definitely haven't ruled it out. But I would prefer finding a more natural, long-term, non-prescription solution if one exists.

So my questions to those of you who either have experience with PCOS and acne, or who know a lot about nutrition and insulin and hormones and things like that:

Does it seem possible to interrupt this vicious cycle of PCOS, hyperandrogenism and insulin resistance with things like diet, exercise, vitamins, supplements, herbs, and anything I'm forgetting that is not a topical acne treatment or a prescription from a doctor? If so, what would you recommend? I'm trying to stick to a low-GI diet right now, which is only difficult for me because I'm broke. But I really don't know a lot about nutrition and every time I try to learn I end up more confused than when I started, so I would love specific recommendations in terms of foods to eat or avoid and supplements to take. I read fish oil is supposed to be good for insulin resistance but I tried to figure out the Omega 3/Omega 6 balance thing and could not. Is it okay to just take fish oil anyway, without really understanding that whole equation? I'd really like to find a long-term solution to what's happening in my body so that I don't have to worry about when/if I lose health insurance again, or Rx mixups which have happened to me regularly. I've also been looking at a supplement called AcnEase. Does anyone have experience with it?

What have been your experiences with PCOS and acne? Have diet or exercise helped you?

If I do go back to a doctor for a solution, has anyone dealt with this through an endocrinologist? It's frustrating to go to a dermatologist for my skin and an OBGYN for my PCOS when I think it's really all one big problem and neither of those doctors are really getting at the root cause. But I don't really have much of a sense of what endocrinologists do and if this is something they would deal with.

I think that's all... sorry for such a rambling post. I'm trying to process all of this while I'm researching and learning. I'm really hoping some of you have experience or insight. smile.png

Edited by mammasay

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Try Saw Palmetto. I saw a significant decrease in oil production when I used it. I still take it but not as much as I used to. Only about 500 mg or so. You can also combine it with stinging nettle as i have heard someone else mention. And last but not least milk thistle ( helps cleanse liver and is reported to lower insulin resistance) Saw Palmetto is [retty much the natural alternative to Spiro. I too have been told i have PCOS. never been tested or anything and I'm somewhat skeptical in their diagnosis ( one dr said one thing and another said something else) I have been to an endocrinologist and was prescribed Spiro.

Start slowly or you will overwhelm yourself. The best thing you can do is start exercising at least 30 minutes a day, preferrably moderate to strenuous exercise. You read so many things from so many different people and you get lost. Start incorporating healthy foods in your diet. LOW CARB diet is ideal. Mainly veggies/fruit , fish/chicken, some lean meats. I've been told and have read that insulin resistant people should stay away from fruit with high sugar content. But all is okay in moderation of course. You don't want to go hog wild otherwise you may not stick with it. I've made the mistake of starving myself and exercising like a mad woman. I lost 60 pounds in 3 months but within a year i gained it all back and then some, which I'm sure made my hormones really go haywire. I feel your pain and can def relate. I too am broke and on a very limited budget so I always end up eating crap. It can be expensive but your body and health are worth the expense. Don't buy into the ''organic'' myth when it comes to veggies/fruit otherwise it can get real expensive, and really it doesn't make much of a difference. When i can I buy grass fed meat or chicken. Doesn't contain the hormones that many of today's chicken/meat does.

An endocrinologist specializes in hormone disorders but that doesn't necessarily mean they specialize in PCOS ( I know seems kind of ridiculous since PCOS is considered a hormonal disorder) I was told by a Dr that an OBGYN would be the ideal ''go to'' Dr for Pcos. I'm not even bothering with either because quite honestly any medication a Dr can prescribe can only go so far. It all starts from within and you have complete control over that not a dr. Hope I could be of some help :)

oh and since GreenGables posted a link I wanna suggest a website too. The Weston Price foundation i think it is. Talks about food in western civilization, the paleo diet, acne, Etc. It's an awesome site.

Edited by jaydeec

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Hi all-

I know this is an old post.. But was wondering if you found a solution??

I have PCOS as well- working hard to manage it naturally right now. I am 25 and have probably been suffering from it since I was 10 (when I first started my period, but wasn't diagnosed until 18). I never had a regular period until I started taking vitex a year ago (increases progesterone) and have suffered from acne most of my life. The only time my skin was clear was on spironlactone which I took on and off between age 18 and 25. It was great for acne, oily skin and male pattern hair but had some sucky side effects when I was on it recently.

I was already dealing with depression from the lose of my father and my acne was worse so I went back on spironlactone. Bad idea. Spironlactone is a potassium sparing diuretic. So it holds potassium in your body which can mess with your heart. To spare you the details I ended up taking a trip to urgent care and going off spironlactone.

I was at my wits end and needed a solution. I did hours of research and decided that the root problem was insulin resistance which was throwing all my other hormones off balance and actually causing PCOS. I was willing to do anything to fix it but my usual solution (spironlactone) had just been stripped from me.

(BTW Spiro doesn't actually deal with the root it just blocks the excess testosterone from affecting your skin. You still have excess insulin in your body that forces your ovaries to produce the male hormone.)

All of this happened about a month ago. I decided to take drastic matters to manage my PCOS and I have to say.... It's working!!! My skin is 80% clear from what it was a month ago. It's amazing.

I took the approach from two sides:

- healing my gut (to stop inflammation)

- Eating low GI foods (to deal with the insulin resistance and lower free testosterone)

Here is everything I'm doing:


1. Inositol (insulin sensitizer) 2 grams

2. NAC 1200 mg

3. Fish oil (reduce inflammation)

4. Vitamin D3 5,000 IU

5. Vitex (increase progesterone)

6. Probiotic


1. Dairy free

2. Sugar free

3. Gluten free

4. Low glycemic index foods (basically paleo)

5. Drink homemade bone broth daily (gut and brain health)

6. Drink lots of tea with cinnamon (helps regulate blood sugar spikes)

7. Only oil I use is coconut and olive oil. Most others cause inflammation.

That may seem extreme but I feel amazing. I plan to change it some once I get my skin to where I want it. But it's been a month and I've seen a significant improvement in my PCOS symptoms.

i am thinking of adding saw palmetto. But not sure if that's too much?

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I have no PCOS ore belated androgens and I still have acne. Genetics play a role too as well as hormones. Don't think you "must have pcos" because you have acne. There are women with pcos and clear skin.

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