rookie mistake

When my clinic told me all of my blood levels looked ‘as expected’ except for my vitamin D, I duly started taking a supplement on top of my prenatal, and I went and perused my other results.  Numbers!  Hurray!

It was the first time my testosterone levels had been tested.  I looked at the numbers, but they weren’t attached to a reference scale, so I did some poking about, and concluded, yes, indeed, my numbers are all in line.

Here’s where I shake my head at my scientist self.  See, in the past few weeks/months, I have noticed increased hair loss from where I want hair, and increased hair growth where I do not.  Stereotypical PCOS, yes.  However, those specific characteristics are usually from high levels of male hormones in the system, which I thought I didn’t have.  So I looked at my numbers again.

My DHEA Sulfate was 76.9 ug/dl.  Normal for a female my age is 45 – 270 ug/dL.  All ok there.

My free testosterone was 31 pg/mL.  Normal for a female my age is 1-6 pg/mL.  Not even a little bit ok.

I had originally looked for ‘testosterone levels’ which, it turns out, is not the same as ‘free testosterone levels’, and I had missed that ng/dL is not the same as pg/mL (which is something I really really should know better about, given this is a large part of what I do for a living, AND I love stoichiometry with all of my geeky little heart).

So.  I looked into ways to reduce testosterone and androgens, and I am seriously considering myo-inositol and d-chiro-inositol supplements in conjunction with spearmint tea daily.  These have all been clinically and statistically rigorously proven to help lower androgen levels in women with PCOS (and improve oocyte development and embryo grades in IVF).  Plus they didn’t affect ovulation stimulation, so they seem safe enough.  Plus spearmint tea is delicious.  I have a cup steaming next to me right now.

I think what my clinic meant was “all as expected with PCOS”, which, to be fair, these numbers are, but I’m not extremely happy about not being given a heads-up about the testosterone level.  I have a call with my doctor on Monday to catch her up on everything that has happened, as she is back from a long vacation.  I’ll talk to her about lowering testosterone and these supplements then, and I likely won’t start them until I talk to her, just to be safe.

In the meantime, I just de-hobbited my feet, bleached my moustache, and sighed a little over my increased temple expanse.

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