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Date of last update: 10/14/2017.

Forum Name: Gynecology

Question: PCOS, Metabolic Syndrome, and Thyroid?


 teenie331 - Fri Apr 22, 2005 11:50 am

Here are some lab values first:
TSH: 1.89
Free T4: 0.6
Fasting Glucose: 111
Fasting Insulin: 5
Serum Testosterone: 50
Total Cholesterol: 225 (low HDL, high LDL)

And here are my symptoms:
Rapid weight gain (>30 pounds in 4 months)
Increased abdominal girth (ascites?)
Hirsutism
Body acne
Dry skin
Hair loss
Intense cravings for sugary foods
Occasional palpitations, rapid pulse, sweating
Light periods approx. 6 weeks apart

My thoughts:
I have been told that I have PCOS and Metabolic syndrome X. Based on my lab values and symptoms, I am willing to believe those diagnoses. I honestly think that I may also be somewhat hypothyroid, and that that might be contributing to my symptoms. I am well aware that my TSH is normal, but I am suspicious of my somewhat low Free T4.

My questions:
Why would I have a normal TSH and a low(ish) Free T4?
What is the interaction between PCOS, metabolic syndrome, AND hypothyroidism?
Do you think I might benefit from some thyroid hormone replacement?
Is there anything else you would like to tell me regarding my symptoms and lab values? Any new ideas?

Thanks so much for any help and advice.

-Christine
 lucky2185 - Sat Aug 20, 2005 1:31 am

Christine -
I have the same symptoms and it is horrible - I havent gone to a doctor yet - I just figure it's somehow my own fault although I eat well and exercise and wasn't always this way ... If you wouldnt mind telling me about what worked for u and how u r doing with this, I would appreciate it !!
 teenie331 - Sat Aug 20, 2005 11:23 am

I don't know how long it's been since I last posted, but I think it was before I started seeing the endocrinologist. When I visited with her, she really just told me more of the same (basically, why don't you just lose weight.. SLOB.) I am always amazed at how insensitive health care practitioners can be in regards to the weight issue. No, I do't want them to tell me it's okay to be fat, I know it's not, but it would be very nice if they could be more supportive and less demeaning. :roll: I'm probably going to be a clinician some day (probably a physician assistant), so that's a goal for the future...

Anyway, I really haven't come across anything useful lately. In fact, I've gotten considerably worse despite the fact that I have been started on a diabetes drug, metformin, in an effort to control my blood sugars which are always elevated in the morning and low(ish) during the day. When my psych medications were working well, I managed to work out daily and lose ~7 lbs, but then the meds attacked me, and I'm just now feeling better. I think I've regained some of it back. However, it's discouraging, because when you have ~65-70 pounds to lose, 7 pounds is rather insignificant. Oh how I wish I just had vanity fat.

Although we figured out what was causing the bloating and abdominal discomfort (My gallbladder was dead - somebody really should have picked up on that sooner...), I've only gotten hairier to the point where I have shaved my neck, and I would use Veet or Nair on my whole body if I didn't have such sensitive skin.

AND - my periods are only getting lighter and farther apart. I spotted for a couple of weeks last month and never had a period. Now I'm a couple of weeks overdue, and I haven't seen anything. It only concerns me because I want to have children some day, and at this point, I'm probably infertile.

We need to find a better answer. We need to find a CURE. I'm about ready to call this my life's work. As I complete my bachelor's in physiology, I have decided that I will spend my research hours studying the causes and possible cures for PCOS and related disorders (that's if I get to pick the subject). Maybe I will be an endocrinologist... an understanding one who CARES.

No, in short, I'm just as desperate as I ever was. So far, I have found no adequate anwer, and there is certainly no cure. There are some medications that may help you which have not helped me, but nothing is going to make it all go away. Not yet. I would recommed that you do go to a doctor (I hope you have a really good one), so that you can discuss the issue and start exploring the various symptomatic treatments that are available.

I understand.

Best wishes to you, and remember, you're NOT alone.

-Christine
 sugarpie - Mon Aug 22, 2005 9:53 am

Hi there...

Just to let you girls know too.. I'm in the same boat. I hadn't got my period yet, and I was 18 almost 19 years old. I was gaining wait... by tests were all out of wack. I went to the doctor after I researched PCOS and mentioned it to her, and she said with out a question thats what I have. She put me on Yasmin birth control and within 2 months I dropped 25 lbs... no effort from me. My hormones were so out of control. I now get my period regularily and its very light when i do get it. THis is definately something to go to the doctor for. THere is a lot they can offer you. It's a common common thing too. Good luck girls... any questions, feel free to ask. I was through it all ;)
 teenie331 - Mon Aug 22, 2005 10:42 am

I'm not saying that you shouldn't go to the doctor... by all means, you should. I'm simply saying that there isn't necessarily anything that anyone can do about PCOS.

Because it is an endocrine issue, everyone will have different symptoms, and it is guaranteed that treatments will range from completely ineffective in some to miraculous in a few.

Your presentation is markedly different from mine. I began menstruation very young (9 y.o), and my periods were regular and very heavy. Because of PMS and cramps, I was placed on BCP at the age of 13. From there, I only gained weight.... and not in a healthy way. I also had horrible cystic (and body) acne that required two treatments with Accutane, but I still don't have "clear skin" at all. I have also always been considerably hairier than anyone else of a similar age.

I'm afraid that taking the birth control pills only masked the fact that there was a problem... for years. Within a couple of months of stopping the pill, my periods became light and irregular, and I started gaining weight faster than usual. Although the pills suppressed the symptoms, the problem only got worse. If I were to want to have children any time soon, I suspect it would be very difficult, if not impossible. The pill is fine if you never want to have kids. As a 21-year-old, I want to have that option at some point.

Also, the fact that you lost so much weight so fast when starting Yasmin is EXTREMELY unusual. As I mentioned before, I only gained weight on the pill. Most people gain a little weight on the pill. Therefore, I actually doubt that it was, in fact, the pill that spurred your dramatic weight loss. Consider yourself blessed.

I guess what I really wanted to say is that what may have worked well for you will NOT work for everyone. It may work for some, but please don't tout it as the universal answer, because it isn't. There isn't one.

I'm glad that you found something that works well for you, but I'm afraid that the rest of us are still looking. I suppose I'm unrealistically looking for the miracle pill that will cure all of my ails. Ha.

And thus, we continue.

-Christine
 Kacheri - Mon Sep 05, 2005 12:12 am

hi. I am now 34 yrs old and I too was put on the pill at an early age of 10 due to irregular and heavy periods. The doctors didn't explain to me why I was having irregular periods, they jsut kept handing me birth control pills and motrin for the pain. When I was 19 I finally insisted my doctor to find out why I was in pain and why I was having irregular periods. I didn't want to be on bcp for the rest of my life. So through exploritory surgery I found out that I had PCOS. At that time most physicians didn't know much about it. My treatment was only to continue taking bcp or get pregnant or have a hystarectemy. I was not ready to have children yet and way to young to have a hystrectomy so I continued the bcp until I was 22. By this time I was overweight by 160lbs. Once I stopped taking the pill I lost a lot of water weight and I stopped having a period for two years.at first I lost clumps of hair on my head and now I am slowy losing my hair along the temple. My voice dropped and octive and every year since I was 22 I gained unwanted body hair. At first I plucked the hairs off my face. But now I have to shave my face every day. Not to mention that I have other unwanted body hair. I have more chest hair than most men. There is a drug for this...no it doesn't make the hair go away automatically but it does stop the folicle from forming. It is spironolact. It was designed for patients with adema and heart problems. I just discovered this medicine about 2 weeks ago. I have notice a difference. The last place on my face that I started shaving was my mustashe and since I have taken the medicine the hair has barely come back. I am only hoping that it will affect the rest of my body in the same way. Now on the weight issue, I agree most physicians are not sympathetic to those of us who are overweight. I have been to many who said that my problems would go away if I were to lose weight. But because PCOS causes diabetes type 2, it is very difficult for us to lose the weight. I finally went on a diet that was nothing but fruits, vegatables,lean meat and ate senseably and i even excercised. I ended up gaining weight. So now I am back to my processed food and I have lost the weight I gained eating what the doctor told me to eat. Go figure! The best way I have found to lose weight is excercise. Now I am not pushing anyone to join a gym. I am just saying that I use Callenectics and walking and that seems to work for me as well as not eating at fast food places. :wink: On the fertilty thing, at first I was told that I probably wouldn't be able to conceive then the fertilty drugs came out and technology has expanded and now it is not impossilbe to get pregnant. If you do your research on PCOS you will see that there is support groups and plenty of info on this disease and ways to help you. So take it from someone who has had this disease for the past 20 years...don't delay on getting help. There isn't a cure but don't let it stop you from living your life. I know this disease is difficult and it is non-understanding to a woman's needs and desires but understanding this disease and all it's potential to reverse the current symptoms is the best way to beat this.
 Linny1986 - Tue Oct 18, 2005 2:18 pm

Hi, I was diagnosed today with PCOS and i have a cyst on both overies. I have been suffering with stomach pains for little over 2 months now but that isnt my biggest problem. Im scared that i wont be able to become pregnant. i have alway wanted children and also my boyfriend wants children. Im posting this for peace of mind really I so scared i will not be able to become pregnant.. can anyone help please?
also ive been having back pains resently that have been causing some problems is this anything to do with PCOS. If anyone can help please do so.
thank you

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 Kacheri - Tue Oct 18, 2005 3:50 pm

Dear Lynette,
I have had PCOS for 20 years. I am not a nurse or a doctor, but let me rest assure you, that it is possible to get pregnant. My best friends girlfriend has recently been diagnosed with PCOS and she is 2 months pregnant now. So you and your boyfriend can have as many children as you want. When it is time to deliver the baby, the doctors will most likely do a c-section and then remove the cysts on your ovaries. Then you will follow up with medication to prevent them from forming again. So don't worry. To find out more about PCOS just type it in any of the search engines (ie...aol,google;etc) and you find plenty of information as well as support forums, chats and clubs for this disease. The more you learn about PCOS now, the more this disease will not affect your every day life in the future.
 Linny1986 - Fri Oct 21, 2005 5:37 am

Thank you lisa,

I do feel reassured now, i also talked to friend about it and found out that she has PCOS, she also told me ive got nothing to worry about. me just being silly i guess :) she also told me she was worry about becoming infretile aswell when she was first diagnosed but she told me its perfectly normal to feel that way.

Well at least it made my boyfriend alot more possitive. although he still doesnt understand it :P

Thank you so much lisa :)
 Haddon - Sun Apr 19, 2009 1:32 pm

Hi. i recently have started to get pains in what seems to be my ovaries, my periods are irregular and vary on whether there light or heavy if there heavy it can be clotted, and my hair seems to fall out.
i have also suffered from stomach aches mainly in the evening. although can be during the day. i have lost alot of weight. im not sure on whats going on. and have been to the doctors and there sayin about IBS, however i think that i could have polysistic ovaries, but not sure on whether its worth sayin to my doctor about it

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