January 13, 2009

So Much Overlap: Trying to Sort Out the Symptoms

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I've been doing some research online, and wanted to post about some of the things I've found. To recap, I have been diagnosed with the following:

1. PCOS
2. Hypothyroid
3. High Testosterone
4. Insulin Resistance
5. Vitamin D Insufficiency

I've been doing a little reading on the internet, mostly to look for information on the following:

1. Symptoms of each diagnosed problem
2. Causes of each problem
3. The relationship between these problems and weight gain/trouble losing weight

It's so weird to look all this stuff up because so many of the symptoms are overlapping. Here's some of what I found relating to symptoms I am experiencing...

Weight Issues
  • Weight gain / Obesity (Vitamin D Deficiency)
  • Weight gain, fat storage, difficulty losing weight,body stores more fat (Insulin Resistance)
  • Weight gain or obesity, usually carrying extra weight around the waist (PCOS)
  • Weight gain, despite diminished appetite (Hypothyroidism)
  • Obesity, Weight Gain, Fluid Retention (High Testosterone)
Skin Issues
  • Acne, oily skin (PCOS)
  • Greasy skin and hair and acne or pimples (High Testosterone)
Cycles/Infertility
  • Infrequent menstrual periods, no menstrual periods, and/or irregular bleeding (PCOS)
  • Infertility (not able to get pregnant) because of not ovulating (PCOS)
  • Ovarian cysts (PCOS)
  • Decreased sex drive (Hypothyroidism)
  • Infertility (Hypothyroidism)
  • Menstrual irregularities (Hypothyroidism)
Mood
  • Depression (Hypothyroidism)
  • Depression (Insulin Resistance)
  • Snappiness, anger, frustration, impatience (High Testosterone)
Energy Level
  • Low energy, constant tiredness (Hypothyroidism)
  • Fatigue (Insulin Resistance)
  • Sleepiness (Insulin Resistance)
Other
  • Increased blood triglyceride levels (Insulin Resistance)
It's just so weird to me, and astounding, that there are so many common/overlapping symptoms. It makes me wonder which things are causing what symptoms, or if they're all just happily working together to fuck me up. I wonder which things the doctor will consider to be more strongly to blame, or if it will have to be a medication balancing act until something starts to improve. One thing that is good is that my cholesterol is okay, because high cholesterol is a common symptom as well. My HDL (good cholesterol) is a little bit low, normal range is 40-60 and mine is 40.

I've also found some useful sources and interesting information. The lab that did my bloodwork had a listed normal range of 0.34 to 5.6. for TSH (not distinguished between a male and female subject). However, according to this article, it is now believed that a normal range is between 0.3 and 3. Mine is at 4.46. My doctor said it should be between 2 and 2.5 to be normal for me.

I believe that this is all interconnected. According to another article on high testosterone in women, "in women to elevated testosterone levels... they do in fact have higher than normal testosterone levels but their whole hormonal system is out of balance. Not only do they have high testosterone levels, but they also have poor insulin sensitivity as well as high insulin levels. Often these women have a metabolic problem of insulin resistance-which is associated with obesity."

Speaking of insulin resistance, here is a great explanation (the first two words are a link to the original article): "Insulin resistance does not allow a body to use its own insulin with efficiency. Basically, those with the condition become desensitized to insulin’s effect on the cells. More insulin gets produced with fewer results. The pancreas goes into overdrive and the body stores more fat. This condition, if gone untreated, can lead to a host of ills including Diabetes Mellitus..."

So, that's what I've found. I'm trying to absorb all of this information and compile a list of questions for the endocrinologist. If you've made it this far through this, you can tell WHY I'm feeling completely overwhelmed.

Other Helpful Links

Excess Testosterone
Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D Insufficiency Linked to Increased Body Fat

Symptoms of IR
Losing Weight with Hypothyroidism
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
PCOS Weight Loss: Composition of Diet Might Not Matter
What are the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)?

2 comments :

Kori said...

OMG, what a cluster fuck! So much information to deal with and process! Good luck, and I mean that.

Momo Fali said...

I SO hope that you don't have to play around with medications forever to find what works! Hopefully, your doctor is good and knows what to do!

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