The hairy tales of PCOS


Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) seems to dole out varying sets of symptoms to every woman it affects.

Irregular periods is the common complaint along with acne or oily skin, increase in body weight, excessive facial hair. skin tags and sometimes even type II diabetes.

Since I hit puberty, I have been battling with excessive body hair. Now, I know that genetically, Indian women tend to have more facial and body hair than other races. Add the hormonal imbalance due to PCOS to this mix, and what do you get? Yeah, it’s not very pretty.

There is a word for excess body hair in areas where it is normally not expected like the chin, tummy, back, upper lip and chest. It is called hirsutism.

Why all this hair in the wrong places? In PCOS, hirsutism is due to the increase in androgens (male hormones) released by the ovaries. Androgens affect the growth phase of the hair cycle and cause hair to change from fine to thick texture. Even if your androgens are at normal levels, you can have excessive body hair if your body has an increased sensitivity to these hormones.

So, if androgens cause excessive hair growth, and  makes your hair thicker and darker, why are you losing hair on your scalp? The reason is because these male hormones, instead of giving us beautiful thick hair on our scalp, act the opposite way and cause male pattern baldness. Aren’t we lucky?

Increased facial and body hair can really affect self image and confidence.

In between hair removal sessions, when my facial hair grows out, I feel absolutely miserable. I hate looking in the mirror. It is almost like I can feel every single strand of hair on my face, just sitting there taunting me. If you don’t look good, you don’t feel good and that’s a matter of fact.

What are the methods by which we can manage hirsutism? In the next post, we will explore various modes of hair removal, along with my honest feedback on the methods I have personally tried.



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