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Background: (For those who are already up to par, scroll down to the bottom) I basically always had average skin. I would get the occasional monthly pimple (well...small cyst in retrospect) and just deal with it. These would always go away. Some months, they wouldn't come at all.

For the past five years, I've had clear skin then suddenly in July of 2004, something went terribly wrong and I'm not really sure what but the reactions were horrific. My face broke out in this joined rivers of cysts and some of them were so big and swollen, it looked as if someone sucker-punched me. I ran crying to the dermatologist: "Cure Me!" After trying minocyclen and various topical lotions and creams and washes, he determined that Accutane was my last resort unless I wanted scars all over my face and to have to spend my life with a paperbag over my head. It took me about a month to make the Accutane decision, and thus far, it hasn't been all that much fun.

It appears that the only thing the Accutane did was push oil out all over the place, cause more breakouts and bigger cysts. The only thing that worked to cure these cysts were injections of cortisone. For a week, the doctor put me on an oral steroid which brought down the swelling but I later discovered that it also contributed to my last breakout.

I had gotten to the point where I was so completely frustrated that I walked myself into a health food store and started to look for various supplements. The man there took one look at me and said "that is hormonal" and went on to explain that he had seen this before. This upset me because my dermatologist didn't run any hormonal tests prior to me being put on the Accutane. If hormones were the cause, wouldn't there be a more direct cure for my acne then Accutane? If any girl reading this has not been put on Accutane yet and her doctor is suggesting it, make sure he tests your hormone levels first.

So, I made an appointment with an endocrinologist and went yesterday. I don't think I have ever had such a thorough doctor's appointment in my life. Granted, some of the questions were weird like had I noticed my breasts getting smaller. I concluded that if I could still fit in my bra, then "no." And he did some strange things like feel my ankles and was nice enough not to point out the chipping polish on my toenails. I can also add that this is the first doctor I have been to in a while who didn't write me a prescription immediately. He insisted at finding out what exactly was going on prior to doing the medication trial and error thing that Americans are so accustom to.

The results of this examination are: I need to go for more bloodwork and have all my hormone levels tested. The problem that the endocrinologist saw was the fact that I have been on the birth control pill for the last couple of months and the tests might be inconclusive. If my acne is related to my hormones, it will difficult for him to tell since I am on the pill. I might need to take a month or two off the pill and go back for more labwork afterwards.

So, in conclusion, this was not the immediate cure I was looking for but I am feeling more confident since I now know that all my doctors, gynecologist, dermatologist and endocrinologist will be working together in an effort to cure this thing that plagues me. If anything comes of the bloodwork, I will post and let you guys know. I'm sorry that there isn't a lot to post but I hope this helps someone anyway.

P.S. On the bright side, I lost two pounds and now weigh 123!!!!

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Hey Arpazia,

I'm glad your appointment went well--it's so hard to find a doctor who actually cares to find out what's wrong with you. Both my GP and my derm are with my for 5 minutes top and offer very little advice. My derm doesn't tell me anything since I've been on Accutane before---That was FIVE years ago, I'd still like some advice and tips offered to me at least.

I hope this is the solution to your acne problem. Please keep us posted on this, I am very curious to see how this plays out. I too have hormonal acne.

I wish you the best of luck.



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Yo Arp,

Before I went on the tane I wanted my doc to send me to an endo but she wouldn't. Instead she sent me for some thyroid hormone tests, estrogen and progesterone tests. Nothing came back so they put me on the tane. What could I do? She said because I was 25 and my acne started at 19 I fit into the late teenage margin. Soooo...here I am on the tane.

I hope that the endo cures your problems. If they do find an embalance they may put you on hormone replacement, thyroid meds, or something to balance the cortisol. Another thing that could have caused your severe breakout is the birthcontrol pills. You know how I developed those connecting cysts on my cheeks that developed into big infection.

Anyway, keep us updated ok? I hope it all works out for you.

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I FINALLY decided to stop taking my Derms word for everything and see an Endocrinologist. I just realized that the Spironolactone is the culprit behind major weight gain and cellulite development for me and despite clearing my (hormonal) acne it's made me bloated and uncomfortable in my own skin. I have a family history of thyroid issues and have been on birth control for 15 years.

Are there any tips I should know to make the most of my Endo appointment? I want to maximize the appointment. I always feel like docs spend 5 mins seeing you and I end up researching and self-diagnosing post-appointment.

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