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Spironolactone - one woman's journey

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Andi B

~ 18 Months

Underwent pixel treatmet 3 two weeks ago; I must say my scars have improved dramatically. I no longer fear sunlight or fluorescent lighting. I may opt for a fourth treatment simply because my skin is far from perfect...we'll see...

As far as acne...what acne?? I rarely get a bump nowadays. Used to still get small pustules on chin/jaw around that time of month, though those have stopped now that I'm using TRIA's Skin Clarifying System (http://www.triabeauty.com/info/the-tria-skin-clarifying-system-tria-acne-treatment-system.htm). That little blue light really does kill acne bacteria!

I still have hyperpigmentation spots, though I know they will eventually fade. Bare Minerals foundation covers them well.

I'm so thrilled to have such healthy looking skin. Of course, I drink water like crazy. That keeps my skin well hydrated (Spiro tends to dry my skin).

Still on 50mg 2X per day, coupled with YAZ. Would like to get off pill, though scared to death that I'll breakout...

Andi B

One Year

Wow! Can't believe I've been on the medication for a full year. I certainly do not struggle with cysts anymore. And my skin is "normal" as opposed to the oil slick I was used to. Hair is less greasy too. And I have not gained back any of the ~ 15 pounds I've lost since starting the meds (could stand to gain a few) - though I'm no longer losing.

My skin is far from flawless, however. I continue to struggle with the strange red spots on my cheeks and nose - which leads me to believe I may have too much yeast in my system. For a few days now, I've been avoiding breads (anything with wheat or flour, basically) and have not had any of the red spots appear. Just may be on to something here...

Where am I as opposed to a year ago? 98% improvement. Last year at this time, I was an absolute mess. So yes, I would recommend women try Spironolactone - along with a very clean diet, free of dairy, sugar, and excessive carbs.

P.S. Since my last entry, I've undergone pixel treatment #2 for scars. Results not spectacular, though I still have one treatment to go...

Andi B

Month 9.25

No changes to report. Medication is working fine. I continue to get the quick-fading, mysterious red spots on my cheeks - though not worth stressing...

Now that breakouts are well under control, I opted to have a pixel laser treatment for the scarring. My first treatment was yesterday. It was pretty painless, more uncomfortable than anything else. I was red all day yesterday. Today, I look pretty much normal, other than the faint grid that seems to be painted on. I hope to start peeling soon...so that I can determine whether or not the treatment was worth my $. Will keep u posted.

Andi B

Month 8

I continue to see improvements in my skin @ 50mg twice/day. As mentioned in last month's entry, I still get these very strange red spots on my cheeks (they are gone after a day)...I'm wondering if it's heat related or something?? from my workouts?? Anyway, I'm just glad they don't linger...

My regimen has not changed other than the addition of jojoba oil. Because my skin has become soo dry, I add 3 drops to my moisturizer. Wow! It's been a God send! I also add 6 drops to my damp, freshly washed hair - then comb through and style as usual. Amazing how soft and shiny my hair has become!

AM

Wash with Cetaphil's Gentle Cleansing Bar

Tone with 2 part green tea/1 part ACV mixture

Moisturize with Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisurizing Gel/3 drops jojoba oil

PM

Cleanse with Cetaphil's Gentle Cleansing Bar

Apply freshly squeezed lemon juice to scars and leave on overnight (every other night...this is very drying)

Andi B

Month 7

Mercy! I didn't realize how long it's been since I've posted! Well, my skin has become wonderfully clear in these last few months. I do still break out with small red bumps - mainly on the apples of my cheeks and around my nose, though they are usually gone within 24 hours. Of course, I still have much scarring to deal with - so I won't ever feel completely clear until I can no longer see scars...MUST BE PATIENT.

My skin has become quite dry on this medication so I've had to ditch the medicated cleansers. I'm now using Cetaphil's Gentle Cleansing Bar; it's been working great for me. I use a 2 part green tea/1 part ACV mixture as a toner after my AM cleanse, then moisturize with Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisurizing Gel (may need to switch to the lotion - as I require much moisture these days). After my PM cleanse, I apply freshly squeezed lemon juice to my scars and leave on overnight.

I maintain high levels of thirst and pee WAY TOO MUCH! I'm not complaining though; drinking water can't be a bad thing, right? I have not gained back the 10 pounds I've lost on the medication and really have to work to keep my weight from dropping even more. I force myself to eat 3 meals and day and work out on a regular basis - seems to be working as I have not been losing as I was before.

I see my endocrinologist in a week to test my potassium levels. He'll be pleased with my results :D

Andi B

Month 4.5

wow. i can't believe how great my skin is doing! i suppose the medicine is finally kicking in full force now - i'm soooo thrilled!

Regimen:

AM

cleanse with Clean & Clear's refreshing gel cleanser

tone with 1 part ACV:2 part green tea

moisturize with Clinique's dramatically different moisturizing gel

PM

cleanse with Clean & Clear's refreshing gel cleanser

apply freshly squeezed lemon juice to scars every other night - leave on until morning

my diet is VERY CLEAN: no dairy, low GI foods and i workout for a minimum of 45 minutes 5 days a week.

i feel great and my skin is FINALLY reflecting my efforts. :wall:

Andi B

Month 4

Unfortunately, the Synthroid my endo prescribed me for hypothyroidism ruined my "clear streak". I began to devleop cysts on my cheeks after one week of use. I stopped taking it immediately and am just now seeing the cysts subside :wall:

So...more scarring to deal with...

Good news is the lemon juice is working wonders!!

Andi B

Month 3.25

Still very pleased with my skin. I have not had a new zit in quite some time. Every morning I rush to mirror expecting to see a new breakout...and nothing! I'm not used to this! Almost feels too good to be true.

I've been consistently applying ACV to my face after my AM cleansing and lemon/lime juice after my PM cleansing (I leave it on overnight); this is certainly helping to fade the scars from the Initial Breakout.

I continue my dairy-free/low GI liftestyle as well.

See pics in my gallery for updates.

Andi B

Month 3

Ho Hum. Well my skin is doing pretty well overall. I had a very hectic work week last week and developed a few red stress spots near my mouth. Lemon juice has dried them right up. I don't aniticipate they will develop into cysts (she says crossing her fingers).

Went in for blood work today; endo wants to make sure my potassium levels are OK.

Started the hypothyroid medication Sat. I really really pray it does not cause a breakout.

I am enjoying wearing makeup again; while my scars are still visible, it's nice to feel like a girl again.

Until next week.

Andi B

Week 11

Skin is still doing terrific; the spider bite-looking zit on my left cheek (see gallery) subsided quickly. I developed a small pustule on my chin after eating Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips this weekend (grr).

I got my first "you're skin is looking better" comment today from a co-worker. If others are noticing, you know it's getting better. Kind of like weight loss :D

Also, got the results of my glucose testing this morning. Official diagnosis: HYPOTHYROIDISM. It is a contributing factor (not the only factor) in the acne and leg edema. My endocrinologist upped my dosage of the Spiro to 100mg/day (something my derm would not do) and gave me a prescription for Synthroid.

With this combination, I hope to see nothing less than improvement improvement improvement. Glad I'm feeling "pretty" again - just in time for Holidays... :D

Andi B

Week 10

not much to report since last week. no new cysts. not much of anything new, really. just a waiting game i suppose, waiting for the scars to heal...

Andi B

Week 9

Cysts have stopped completely. I developed a few little red marks on the apple of my left cheek and on my chin; they have no pus however, a welcome sight.

Right cheek seems to be healing (knock on wood).

Hope to be back in makeup soon.

I have incorporated Vitamins A & B2 into my diet, perhaps causing the little red bumps?? Who knows. Also on a Low-GI diet now (after learning I may have insulin intolerance).

Curious to see results of glucose testing; will get those Nov. 2

Until next week...

Andi B

Week 8

so...saw my endocrinologist today...tests results reveal that my acne could be due to (1) insulin intolerance (2) hypothyroidism

i go in wednesday for glucose testing to confirm a diagnosis.

sigh.

in the meantime, i still suffer from breakouts (on right cheek and moving to left cheek). i'm so tired of dealing with this.

Andi B

Week 7

Forehead zits seem to have stopped now. Chin cysts are no more. My right cheek is the only area still breaking out - little tumor-like cysts mainly on cheekbone...they almost look like warts as they are filled with pus. They reappear and reappear and reappear... :)

I'm happy to see that my chin is healing; I'll be even happier once the red spots and raised scars begin to fade.

I see my endocrinologist again next Monday; we'll discuss my test results. Good feeling knowing I may actually have a diagnosis...and a higher dosage on its way!

Doing just fine on the Yaz as well.

I continue to drop weight; others are noticing, as I'm beginning to look ill. Should I be worried?

Andi B

Week 6

On my forehead (a previously unaffected area), roughly 5 small pustules developed this past week. They have been quick to heal, however. One new small papule on my left cheek (another previously unaffected area). I must stress that all new pimples have been teeny tiny in comparison to the cysts I was getting during the first five weeks. The active cysts on my chin and right cheek have considerably lessened in size and seem to be drying up/healing.

COULD IT BE THAT THE WORST IS OVER?? We shall see...

Hasta la proxima

Andi B

Week 5

At 5 weeks, my skin is the worst it's ever been (see pics in my gallery).

I know that my dosage of 50 mg per day is too low; which is why I saw an endocrinologist today. He took my blood for hormonal testing; I'll see him again in 3 weeks. Unfortunately, I did not walk out of there with a prescription for a higher dosage (even though he himself agrees that my current dosage is too low). He wants to see my results before making a decision.

So...the struggle continues...just this weekend, I developed NINE new cysts. I'm becoming ever more depressed about this. I hate that I'm helpless. I am a perfectionist and this is one area of my life where I have absolutely no control. It frustrates me really, and could be the reason I am dropping weight.

My body seems to be fully adjusted to both medications now (Spiro and Yaz), as I have not experienced any side effects lately (other than the breakouts).

:)

Any women out there reading my blog with similar experiences? A terrible initial breakout while on Spiro? Anyone? I need some major encouragement now.

Will report again next week.

Andi B

Week 4

Ho hum. I'm not impressed at all with my skin. It's been 4 weeks @ 50mg per day; I continue to develop cysts on my chin, though not nearly as painful nor as large. Pustules have begun forming on my right cheek. :cool:

I called my derm yesterday to raise my dosage to 100mg; his nurse gave me a hard time and never called me back. I'll go into harrassment mode today. My leg edema is still well under control - very exciting for me as I've return to my running.

As far as the new birth control, Yaz, I've experienced no major side effects although i get random rashes all over my body that go just as quickly as they come.

I've dropped nearly 10 pounds since beginning the Spiro - I don't have weight to lose so this concerns me a bit...

Hoping to report better results next week.

UPDATE

I did call my derm and he will not give me more than 50mg. Time to see a new doctor, perhaps an endocrinologist.

Andi B

Week 3

3 weeks taking the medication; I've incorporated Dan's Regimen, a new BC (Yaz), and a 500mg/day dosage of flush-free Niacin. I'm still breaking out; roughly 9 new pustules on my chin, cheek, and forehead. The two on my chin are quite large and quite painful. I don't know what else I can do. I excercise daily, eat very well (no gluten, no wheat, no dairy, no soy, no sugar, no processed carbs, no caffeine...), and am not wearing make-up during this difficult time.

I suppose my body is still undergoing the infamous initial breakout. Not sure how much more my skin can take...

Andi B

Week 2

Sigh. I'm quite depressed. I continue to develop new cysts. I'm even forming pustules on my scalp! Could this be due to my birth control? Or is it the 'initial breakout' of the Spiro? I have high hopes for the Spiro (especially since my leg edema is well under control)...so I will call my gyno tomorrow to get my BC switched - to Yaz preferably, since it contains Spironolactone.

Week 2 Side Effects

  • itchy breasts
  • slight rash on breasts
  • high blood pressure
  • increase in body temperature

Until next week, and hopefully with better news...

UPDATE

Woke up this morning (morning after typing the above) to find ALL cysts @ a head. Only one remains truly painful. I also started Dan's regimen this morning using Clean & Clear's Oil Free Facial Wash (gel), Neutrogena's On The Spot BP, and Clinique's Oil Free Gel Moisturizer. I'm feeling somewhat hopeful.

Andi B

Week 1

29 years old. Been suffering with acne for 9 years. Been suffering with hormonal leg edema for 2.5 years.

I was using Bactrim successfully for years but had to stop after getting on birth control (Loestrin 24Fe). Antibiotics lessen the effectiveness of the "pill". After 5 months on Loestrin, I began to develop large, painful cysts on jawline and chin. Hormonal acne indeed.

After seeing so many positive results posted on this site, I decided to ask my derm for Spironolactone (could it also treat my leg edema??). Birth control in combination with Spiro heeds an 85% improvement rate. He was reluctant, but finally gave in.

During my first week on the Spiro (25mg twice daily), I've experienced:

  • 10 small, painful cysts, primarily on the lower portion of my face (one between my eyebrows!)
  • extreme thirst (drinking roughly 5 liters of water per day)
  • heart palpitations after drinking caffeine
  • frequent visits to the bathroom
  • breast tenderness/swelling
  • headaches

Good News

The newly developed cysts have all come to a head, meaning the pain is gone. My skin is brighter (could be the tons of water I am drinking). My leg edema has improved by 70%. I've lost 5 pounds.

I pray that I will not experience any new breakouts. Will post again after my second week of treatment.

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