1

votes

Hack my crazy girl hormones - what might be wrong?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 18, 2012 at 2:44 AM

I'm wanting to know if anyone has any idea what possible issues might be in play, and suggestions for figuring it out:

Mild, persistent acne destroyed by nothing (Accutane did it, but the effect only lasted a few months);

hair thinning (huge clumps in the shower, shedding all day long - I used to have A LOT of hair - it is far reduced from its former state);

unwanted hair (not awfully dark, but dark enough to want to bleach/wax my stomach and lower back, and I have to go after my jaw with tweezers - I "catch" maybe a couple of them each day);

Underarms of gross...no, really - I don't sweat overly much at all, but I do have trouble keeping smell in check. It means I either buy extra-strength aluminum garbage or apply the natural stuff five times per day. Other body parts are far more cooperative.

Notes:

27 years old, 5'7" and 124#. Gained 15# during my freshman year of college by becoming very depressed, sleeping all day, eating lots of SAD; all of it went to my gut and my face. Worsened all of the above symptoms, which had only started to manifest the year before. My skin suddenly cleared up and my hair thickened last year around my wedding (a miracle!), which was surprising because I was totally not on the paleo wagon.

Saw my dermatologist multiple times and reproductive endocrinologist. The former has written me scripts for every face cream in the book and did not take my hair loss seriously; the latter told me he'd prescribe me hormonal birth control and that I'd be on it "until I wanted to have children and then until menopause." No thanks! I live in an area of the country where I'd be lucky to find someone who was aware of grass-fed beef, let alone a doc willing to not just shove BC pills at me. Husband has more medical school before he can order labs for me to his heart's content.

The last time I had labs run was about 3 years and 4 years ago. My DHEA-S were at 426 with a normal of 65-380; the next time it was somewhere in the mid-200s. Test has been "normal;" I want to say 20-something - never on the high end of normal.

I did a "Whole40" for Lent this past spring after being kind of 70-30 since after the new year started and didn't really see any improvements; I've continued since then to be 85-15-ish. I was previously low-carb or carb-cycling with plenty of SAD streaks since roughly 2007. I have been supplementing with liquid vitamin D for about a month and used the tablets sporadically for a couple of years.

Any ideas on how to proceed would be appreciated (and commiseration is welcome, too)!

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 28, 2012
at 12:36 AM

So crazy. I've always been taught sluggish thyroid = weight struggles. It's so novel to me that that is not always the case.

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 28, 2012
at 12:34 AM

Yes! I've had temps in the 96s. My spike is typically ~ 98.1, but many of my temps are below 97.5.

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 28, 2012
at 12:31 AM

Intriguing. I have been measuring my BG recently and it's been pretty bizarre at times. Sure! Is there a PM function on this site?

63a390e394971bd87e12b706fdb8456e

(309)

on July 19, 2012
at 01:21 PM

Are your temps ever below 97.5? This is usually an indication of thyroid issues, which I see a few other people have suggested as possibly being the culprit.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on July 19, 2012
at 07:01 AM

Ok thanks. Makes sense and why eat a carb without fat anyway right! lol My vlc diet backfired and gave me Nocturnal Hypoglycemia and then AM Hyperglycemia. Really a weird thing actually but ameliorated by adding more starches. ND said that this happens when cortisol goes up during night to increase glucose (in the absence of dietary glucose) and that in turn raised Fasting Bg (in AM). Very weird and doesn't happen to everybody obviously. So many things to figure out. Hey I would love to know what you find out about your issues. Let us know. Would email be better?

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 19, 2012
at 04:52 AM

After eating a meal that is high in carbohydrate, but not high in fat, and then not eating for more than a couple of hours - it doesn't seem to matter what the carb source is or how high in fiber. It's why I always smash my yams with a good pat of pastured butter!

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 19, 2012
at 03:40 AM

Oh, that's not terribly awful...I was picturing something a lot higher than that. I'm going to see if there's anyone worth visiting within a 50 mile radius. I managed to find a holistic vet for my cat; it shouldn't be as difficult for myself!

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 19, 2012
at 03:39 AM

So gosh, yes, I need to get some stuff worked up. My husband asked if I can wait a year until he can order labs and I told him no! Lol.

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 19, 2012
at 03:38 AM

And then in 2/09: Testosterone, Total - 37 (2-45); Percent Free Testosterone - 0.75 (0.50-2.00); Testosterone, Free - 2.8 (0.1-6.4); DHEA-S - 288 (65-380); FSH - 5.3 (Follicular - 3.0-12.0); LH - 5.5 (Follicular - 0.5-18.0) ...plus a CBC, zinc - no estrogen or estradiol or anything. TIBC was a little low at 271 (280-400).

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 19, 2012
at 03:34 AM

Dug out my labs - boy are they old! 10/08 we have: FSH - 3.1 (Luteal - 2.0-12.0) LH - 6.6 (Luteal - 0.5-18.0) Testosterone, Total - 21 (11-59) Testosterone, Free, Dialysis - 2.9 (0.8-7.4) Sex Hormone Binding Globulin - 45 (30-135) DHEA-S - 426 (65-380)

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 19, 2012
at 03:24 AM

I *think* it's what did it. I stopped taking it because I was also using a topical DHT wash/blocker for my hair as well as taking saw palmetto and stinging nettle, in addition to consuming a lot of spearmint-green tea. Too many variables! I have been using the anti-DHT stuff for about a month and a half; I'm going to give it another couple of weeks to see if shedding slows - if not, I'll stop it and start the DCI. I realize that since my acne had improved it probably wasn't the anti-DHT product alone, but I wanted to see if it was a contributor.

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 19, 2012
at 03:18 AM

Ashley - interesting!

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 19, 2012
at 03:17 AM

Thank you for the book recommendation...TCOYF doesn't have a lot with regard to hormone regulation.

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 19, 2012
at 03:16 AM

I have been charting for about a year before I got married...so about 2 years. I use the Lady-comp for temperature; and then also use the TCOYF software to record that and the other data. I do have a "regular" cycle in that they're usually 29-32 days with a couple of 36 day outliers when I'm stressed, and they follow a normal pattern with ovulation.

Ca22738a3c3efc400a35c426dfab47a3

(312)

on July 18, 2012
at 10:14 PM

A visit is usually $75-$150 depending and often they will order lab work at their "cash" cost. I recently had every blood value tested along with urine and it cost me $230. It's money well spent to get to the bottom of what is going on. Find a Naturopath that understands money is tight.

9426eec8c8385c90bdf843aa44bd5a4b

(200)

on July 18, 2012
at 03:34 PM

I don't know if there is other models, but the Creighton Model does this quite well.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on July 18, 2012
at 03:16 PM

+1 Great advice.

9426eec8c8385c90bdf843aa44bd5a4b

(200)

on July 18, 2012
at 02:25 PM

Those with PCOS are also are a higher risk of a suboptimal thyroid (I'm one of them), There could be a link. Get it checked out when you can.

3cdc762b2ae30b4ca3529f011ccac174

(186)

on July 18, 2012
at 06:32 AM

Taking d-chiro improved your symptoms? Dude, it very strongly seems that you are PCOS. Have you been tested? Please get yourself tested. If it was working for you, why did you stop? :) But definitely, get tested for PCOS, no doubt.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on July 18, 2012
at 05:50 AM

Yes most def. get an at home monitor. Very enlightening. Then figure out your post meal Bg curve. I bought the one the Chris Kresser recommends. Relion I think its called. When you say reactive hypoglycemia do you mean in the morning?

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 18, 2012
at 05:11 AM

I am prone to reactive hypoglycemia (like, at least once every couple of weeks), so I am wary of driving my blood sugar too low (then there's nothing to do but nom a spoonful of raw honey or organic maple syrup...right?!). Will cinnamon regulate or straight up lower blood glucose? I really should buy a BG monitor and see where I'm at. We took each other's values one day (future dietitians, having fun with finger sticks) and mine two hours postprandial was sky-high...but then I've had it be right around 74 fasting, too.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on July 18, 2012
at 04:54 AM

Cinnamon is a great idea but you'll need a lot not a little. Besides adding to food, I recommend Oregon Wild Harvest capsules. Its organic. You might need 4 twice a day though, or 5x2.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on July 18, 2012
at 04:41 AM

Its a lot of work to advocate for yourself but... you must. Hang in. Better times ahead.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on July 18, 2012
at 04:32 AM

You're welcome! I don't do it purposely myself, because it does make me a little crazy (too much energy, can't sleep, stuff like that) but sometimes I just get distracted and put it off! Wish you the best in figuring out what's up.

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 18, 2012
at 04:30 AM

I was definitely eating tons of iodized salt when the symptoms first manifested themselves...now, not so much, but I do eat seaweed salads that I make once a week or so.

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 18, 2012
at 04:29 AM

Affordable enough for two graduate/professional students living off of high-interest accruing student loans and a part-time job? ;-) Good idea, though! Might be better than trying to get my GP/derm/endo to take me seriously.

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 18, 2012
at 04:24 AM

No IF-ing...I am too attached to my grazing behavior, lol. Thank you, though!

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 18, 2012
at 04:21 AM

I filled out a form on the Labrix site to find a practitioner. It's a desert out here, though, when it comes to forward-thinking docs. I might just have to strong-arm my GP.

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 18, 2012
at 04:19 AM

I thought that might be a possibility - I had a panel run when I was 20 and started to gain the above-mentioned 15#, and the doc said I was fine - but I see from reading that his assessment probably means nothing from a real diagnostic standpoint.

41dfb1a4fecb38d24075ff52f13ccb28

on July 18, 2012
at 04:00 AM

If your doc said you look a little PCOS-y, maybe it's worth it to look into dietary mods specifically for PCOS? And since PCOS does have an insulin resistance component, maybe as a starting point you can start adding some cinnamon to your diet daily to help regulate blood sugar?

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 18, 2012
at 03:59 AM

You may be right; I was definitely eating a steadier stream of sweet/white potatoes and rice during that time period.

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 18, 2012
at 03:58 AM

The only thing I can think of is that I had been supplementing with d-chiro inositol, which I took from September 2011 to roughly April-May-ish (I can't quite recall, just basing it on the number of bottles I bought) - my wedding was in June. I bought it because I was desperate - it's supposed to lower insulin and testosterone, neither of which I thought were issues for me - I just read a few promising studies on lean women with PCOS and shelled out for it.

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 18, 2012
at 03:57 AM

Bwajkhfsakf...I know. It's rich for me to cite a 4 year old lab, then complain when I pull up a chart and wonder why no one's done a CBC in a month.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on July 18, 2012
at 03:37 AM

years old labs mean next to nothing. YOu need lab work ASAP imo (see my answer)

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 18, 2012
at 03:27 AM

Yeah, actually my reproductive endo called me "a little PCOS-y" before writing the rx for BC pills.

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 18, 2012
at 03:26 AM

Since January, though I'd say I have avoided grains on and off for a few years. My diet is pretty much what you'd expect - grass-fed beef, pork, salmon, sardines, pastured eggs are staples - liver sometimes; lots of veg and I become a fruit destroyer during the summer. Sweet potatoes, root veg, peeled "white" (usually the organic purple sort!) potatoes here and there. Sporadic things include: raw grassfed cream or cheese, coffee, tea, homemade mead, kombucha, dry cider, dark chocolate. I use pastured ghee, bacon fat, grassfed tallow, coconut oil, olive oil...that about summarizes!

41dfb1a4fecb38d24075ff52f13ccb28

on July 18, 2012
at 03:25 AM

Have you looked into PCOS before? If you haven't looked into it, your symptoms seem to match up. (I am NOT trying to diagnose you, just that it might be worth looking into.)

6b365c14c646462210f3ef6b6fecace1

(1784)

on July 18, 2012
at 03:14 AM

how long were you "paleo" for? what does your diet consist of?

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8 Answers

2
63a390e394971bd87e12b706fdb8456e

(309)

on July 18, 2012
at 02:24 PM

If I were in your shoes, I'd probably start by charting as a means of birth control. Its natural, easy (takes about 30 seconds a day) and it can be a great indicator of your overall gynecological health. "The Garden of Fertility: A Guide to Charting Your Fertility Signals to Prevent or Achieve Pregnancy--Naturally--and to Gauge Your Reproductive Health" by Katie Singer is a book that really opened my eyes and helped me regulate my own hormones over the course of 6 months. The author is very pro-Paleo/WAPF and has a lot of suggestions for natural/free remedies.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on July 18, 2012
at 03:16 PM

+1 Great advice.

9426eec8c8385c90bdf843aa44bd5a4b

(200)

on July 18, 2012
at 03:34 PM

I don't know if there is other models, but the Creighton Model does this quite well.

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 19, 2012
at 03:17 AM

Thank you for the book recommendation...TCOYF doesn't have a lot with regard to hormone regulation.

63a390e394971bd87e12b706fdb8456e

(309)

on July 19, 2012
at 01:21 PM

Are your temps ever below 97.5? This is usually an indication of thyroid issues, which I see a few other people have suggested as possibly being the culprit.

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 19, 2012
at 03:16 AM

I have been charting for about a year before I got married...so about 2 years. I use the Lady-comp for temperature; and then also use the TCOYF software to record that and the other data. I do have a "regular" cycle in that they're usually 29-32 days with a couple of 36 day outliers when I'm stressed, and they follow a normal pattern with ovulation.

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 28, 2012
at 12:36 AM

So crazy. I've always been taught sluggish thyroid = weight struggles. It's so novel to me that that is not always the case.

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 28, 2012
at 12:34 AM

Yes! I've had temps in the 96s. My spike is typically ~ 98.1, but many of my temps are below 97.5.

2
Ca22738a3c3efc400a35c426dfab47a3

on July 18, 2012
at 04:08 AM

You also may want to see a Naturopath Dr. They are not expensive, can order labs and look at why your body is acting out of sorts rather than trying to throw medication at to treat the symptoms. Hormones are serious things and one thing out of whack can throw many other things out of whack.

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 18, 2012
at 04:29 AM

Affordable enough for two graduate/professional students living off of high-interest accruing student loans and a part-time job? ;-) Good idea, though! Might be better than trying to get my GP/derm/endo to take me seriously.

Ca22738a3c3efc400a35c426dfab47a3

(312)

on July 18, 2012
at 10:14 PM

A visit is usually $75-$150 depending and often they will order lab work at their "cash" cost. I recently had every blood value tested along with urine and it cost me $230. It's money well spent to get to the bottom of what is going on. Find a Naturopath that understands money is tight.

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 19, 2012
at 03:40 AM

Oh, that's not terribly awful...I was picturing something a lot higher than that. I'm going to see if there's anyone worth visiting within a 50 mile radius. I managed to find a holistic vet for my cat; it shouldn't be as difficult for myself!

2
4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

on July 18, 2012
at 03:36 AM

Please get your thyroid checked ASAP

Free T4, Free T3, and TSH are all that are needed at first.

Also, when you say "Test" are you referring to Testosterone? If so what was the exact value and the reference range. Also, if its only Total testosterone and not Free then its not as useful. Get your Free Testosterone level checked.

If I was you or you were my daughter I would get a Labrix Labs hormone panel (saliva) ASAP. Its a better measure of sex hormones. Still, a blood level of Free Testosterone would be helpful, in addition to the Thyroid labs.

Hang in.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on July 18, 2012
at 04:41 AM

Its a lot of work to advocate for yourself but... you must. Hang in. Better times ahead.

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 18, 2012
at 04:21 AM

I filled out a form on the Labrix site to find a practitioner. It's a desert out here, though, when it comes to forward-thinking docs. I might just have to strong-arm my GP.

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 18, 2012
at 04:19 AM

I thought that might be a possibility - I had a panel run when I was 20 and started to gain the above-mentioned 15#, and the doc said I was fine - but I see from reading that his assessment probably means nothing from a real diagnostic standpoint.

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 19, 2012
at 03:38 AM

And then in 2/09: Testosterone, Total - 37 (2-45); Percent Free Testosterone - 0.75 (0.50-2.00); Testosterone, Free - 2.8 (0.1-6.4); DHEA-S - 288 (65-380); FSH - 5.3 (Follicular - 3.0-12.0); LH - 5.5 (Follicular - 0.5-18.0) ...plus a CBC, zinc - no estrogen or estradiol or anything. TIBC was a little low at 271 (280-400).

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 19, 2012
at 03:39 AM

So gosh, yes, I need to get some stuff worked up. My husband asked if I can wait a year until he can order labs and I told him no! Lol.

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 19, 2012
at 03:34 AM

Dug out my labs - boy are they old! 10/08 we have: FSH - 3.1 (Luteal - 2.0-12.0) LH - 6.6 (Luteal - 0.5-18.0) Testosterone, Total - 21 (11-59) Testosterone, Free, Dialysis - 2.9 (0.8-7.4) Sex Hormone Binding Globulin - 45 (30-135) DHEA-S - 426 (65-380)

1
6f37e54ebb15be863244de3245d4c01f

(100)

on July 18, 2012
at 04:52 AM

I would definitely look into your hormones. It sounds like you are estrogen dominant. Great place to start is here http://www.energeticnutrition.com/vitalzym/estrogen_dominance.html

Best of luck to you! :)

1
4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

on July 18, 2012
at 04:45 AM

You can order your own labs, online. Self-pay of course.

Its called Doctor's Direct. http://www.directlabs.com/

1
61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on July 18, 2012
at 04:21 AM

Do you do intermittent fasting (either purposely or inadvertantly)? I have read that many women have similar problems with it. (N=1 and all, but it does seem that it doesn't work so well for as many women as it does men).

http://www.paleoforwomen.com/shattering-the-myth-of-fasting-for-women-a-review-of-female-specific-responses-to-fasting-in-the-literature/

Other than that, I second those that mentioned checking the thyroid.

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 19, 2012
at 03:18 AM

Ashley - interesting!

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 18, 2012
at 04:24 AM

No IF-ing...I am too attached to my grazing behavior, lol. Thank you, though!

9426eec8c8385c90bdf843aa44bd5a4b

(200)

on July 18, 2012
at 02:25 PM

Those with PCOS are also are a higher risk of a suboptimal thyroid (I'm one of them), There could be a link. Get it checked out when you can.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on July 18, 2012
at 04:32 AM

You're welcome! I don't do it purposely myself, because it does make me a little crazy (too much energy, can't sleep, stuff like that) but sometimes I just get distracted and put it off! Wish you the best in figuring out what's up.

1
C8f74d79f56eb5a52a05807bca92090f

on July 18, 2012
at 04:03 AM

Just a thought on the hair loss thing: if you have removed iodized salt from your diet and haven't added foods that are rich in iodine, your body might be wanting a bit more. I experienced something similar and have added liquid kelp iodine (4 drops in water each day) and it has helped significantly.

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 18, 2012
at 04:30 AM

I was definitely eating tons of iodized salt when the symptoms first manifested themselves...now, not so much, but I do eat seaweed salads that I make once a week or so.

1
F41a67c06e61c77e41b3035647657e9f

on July 18, 2012
at 03:20 AM

Do you remember what you did differently before your wedding? Something changed...what was it. I was strict Paleo for awhile, then my hormones freaked out. I added carbs, and gained weight, but my hormones stabilized. You may just need more carbs...healthy carbs

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 18, 2012
at 03:59 AM

You may be right; I was definitely eating a steadier stream of sweet/white potatoes and rice during that time period.

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 18, 2012
at 03:58 AM

The only thing I can think of is that I had been supplementing with d-chiro inositol, which I took from September 2011 to roughly April-May-ish (I can't quite recall, just basing it on the number of bottles I bought) - my wedding was in June. I bought it because I was desperate - it's supposed to lower insulin and testosterone, neither of which I thought were issues for me - I just read a few promising studies on lean women with PCOS and shelled out for it.

3cdc762b2ae30b4ca3529f011ccac174

(186)

on July 18, 2012
at 06:32 AM

Taking d-chiro improved your symptoms? Dude, it very strongly seems that you are PCOS. Have you been tested? Please get yourself tested. If it was working for you, why did you stop? :) But definitely, get tested for PCOS, no doubt.

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on July 19, 2012
at 03:24 AM

I *think* it's what did it. I stopped taking it because I was also using a topical DHT wash/blocker for my hair as well as taking saw palmetto and stinging nettle, in addition to consuming a lot of spearmint-green tea. Too many variables! I have been using the anti-DHT stuff for about a month and a half; I'm going to give it another couple of weeks to see if shedding slows - if not, I'll stop it and start the DCI. I realize that since my acne had improved it probably wasn't the anti-DHT product alone, but I wanted to see if it was a contributor.

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