October 12, 2010

A Final Word on Spiro

When I learned that there were some oral medications that might help me, I wanted to know A: What are they? and B: Do they really work?!

I was on 100 mg of Spiro for six months (bar a couple weeks to flush it out of my system for the ATCH/CAH test), and on 200 mg for four months and a little over a week. (Can I just say how difficult it became to remember to take that second pill for the past four months? Man!) So let's call it ten months.

For the first couple weeks, the emotional stress of being on a medication took its toll on my stomach, but eventually I got accustomed to the idea. I would think twice about any potassium rich foods I ate, but I still ate them with caution not to overdo it. I never noticed a reduction in blood pressure that was enough to make me dizzy. I did sometimes have a sudden urge to "go" after taking a pill, and if I took it too late in the day, I'd be waking up in the night to pee.
The biggest impact it had on my life was the havoc it wreaked with my cycle. Sometimes it would be bang-on 28 days. Most of the time, it ranged from two weeks to two months. And as soon as my dosage doubled, I started having mid-cycle spotting at least once, sometimes twice with a longer cycle. It was annoying, but if you're vigilant enough, it doesn't catch you off guard. It was something I could have lived with, if the pill had worked well enough for me.

Now, I knew I'd probably have trouble tracking my progress. When it's something that reportedly takes months to notice, I knew the changes would be subtle. So I made photographic documentation before every endo visit to help me gauge the changes.

I thought long and hard about doing this post, mainly because it would reveal, in a whole new graphic way, my deepest darkest secret. Anyone who lands on this blog learns in short order that I have mucho excess body hair. But has anyone ever seen it? No. :P

However, this is the sort of thing I dearly wished other women had done. When they say what they used "worked" or "sorta worked" or "worked better than something else," what exactly do they mean? Well, let me show you what I mean...

This is my stomach, which displays the most noticeable change, from the day I started Spiro on the left, to the day I doubled my dose, to the day I stopped Spiro altogether. The photos are not great, but you can sort of see how the hair grew less coarse after six months on 100mg, and then became much more sparse after four months on 200mg. It's really hard to see in the last picture how much is still there, so you'll just have to believe me when I saw that there's still enough. But overall, you can see a difference. It did something, at least on that part of my body. Breasts, chest and thighs all show something similar, though not to the same extent, but my face gives no evidence of change in the hair that I can see. The only thing I can tentatively say is that the beard grew a little slower, which only served to make it more imperative that I shaved around the same time each day, or else took a day off when I didn't have to go out, to prevent irritation.

I can also assert a reduction in blemishes, though I didn't think to document that, and images of my chin were not all that successful. And it turns out I wasn't imagining the increase in breast size, either, though I'm afraid there's no way I'm showing empirical proof of that. *lol* Let's just say, it wasn't anywhere close to a cup size, but it was noticeable enough in pictures.

Bottom line, though, was that I still had to remove hair every day. And my dream is to be able to wake up in the morning without having to go through that ritual. If a drug doesn't improve my overall quality of life, I'm not going to keep putting it in my body, and so I said goodbye to Spiro. Now, some women on this medication don't have such good results. And some apparently have even better results. There's a lot to take into account, so weigh the pros and cons for yourself, and in the end, it's your body and your decision. I just hope I help put it in perspective for you, and show you that you're not going through this alone!

Some previous Spiro posts:
Or you can search for all posts with the "spiro" tag to see all posts mentioning Spironolactone.

EDIT:  It turns out this was not my final word on Spiro, after all.  I went on it again.  Click the "spiro" tag below this post to see what happens next!


Becky said...

Yup. I pretty much had the same experience, except it made me more regular rather than less. I had better periods on spiro. But they definitely weren't worth the horrendous anxiety attacks that came along with.

Allerleirah said...

I am so grateful I didn't have issues like that. I remember you mentioning the anxiety attacks, and it was in the back of my mind.