Treating PCOS is really tough. Everyone is different so what works for some might not work for others. The treatments include various types of birth control, Metformin, diet changes, medications that help ovulation, Spironolactone and losing weight if overweight or obese.
When I was in my early 20s, I was put on Spironolactone to help with my PCOS symptoms. Here is how it went.
What is Spironolactone?
Spironolactone is a diuretic most commonly used to treat heart problems, high blood pressure and low potassium (see here: https://www.drugs.com/spironolactone.html) It is also used to treat PCOS related symptoms which include acne, hair loss and excess male-pattern hair growth. This is due in part to its ability to lower androgen levels.
The dosages women are usually given are in the range of 50-200 mg per day. There are a lot of side effects that one can experience. These include weight gain, low energy, muscle loss, headaches, nausea/vomiting, itchy skin, dehydration and aggravation of PCOS symptoms ( see here: https://pcos.com/spironolactone/ ).
My Experience with it
I started taking Spironolactone when I was 21 years old with the goal of controlling my acne and oiliness. It was worse at that time than it is now. I also had mild hirsutism (it is worse now).
My dosage started out at 25 mg. We decided on this dose because I am really sensitive to medications. The maximum dosage for me was going to be 50 mg.
The first couple weeks at 25 mg, I noticed no side effects. Some women lose water weight at first but since I never weigh myself due to past eating disorder issues, I did not notice any.
Since it is potassium-sparing, I had to watch my diet to make sure I was not consuming a lot of foods that contained potassium in them (i.e. bananas). I also had to go in for blood tests to get the potassium level checked.
It does take around three months to notice differences in your skin so I was told not to get my hopes up for instant results. After tolerating 25 mg, I moved up to 50 mg. This was when I started to experience side effects.
The first thing I noticed was that my strength for weight lifting really went down. I went from being able to bench press 150 pounds to only being able to bench press 75 pounds. Also, I would black out sometimes when trying to push ups.
I also experienced some pelvic pain at times. It was sharp and caused me to double over. Even still, I kept taking the medication. I was really hoping that these side effects might go away and it would start working for me.
After three months on the medication, I can honestly say that I did not notice much of anything positive from it. The only thing that I guess got a little better was the oiliness of my skin. It was still pretty bad at times though.
My acne actually got worse on it. Little pimples showed up in the mustache area and I would regularly get two huge cysts on both sides of my nose. It was embarrassing to say the least. The pock marks by my nose are daily reminders of what I had to deal with.
I decided to stop taking it shortly after having a horrible breakout on my cheeks. It was so bad and took about six weeks to clear up. There was no reason to continue taking the medication anymore.
Do I recommend it despite my experience?
My experience is my own. There are a lot of people who have had great success when on Spironolactone. With that said, I would recommend it for someone who has PCOS or just bad acne.
It could work for someone else and be the key to fixing their problems. It is not good of me to sit here and say that since it did not help me at all, it won’t help others.
Have any of you been on this medication?