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.

References:

http://www.emedicine.medscape.com

http://www.pcosdietsupport.com

http://www.uptodate.com

http://www.ovarian-cysts-pcos.com

http://www.google.com

en.wikipedia.org

http://www.cosmeticsandtoiletries.com

 

6 Comments Add yours

  1. I am so sorry you have to go through this. I have PCOS as well so I definitely understand your pain; If I don’t shave my “beard” every night AND every morning, it grows back almost instantly. I should definitely look into a professional form of hair removal so I don’t have to do it as often. By the way, I love the title, very clever!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kennedy.. thank you for your empathy. Sounds like we’re on the same boat. Right now, I don’t get time to run to the salon for a quick threading/waxing session and I feel terrible about myself. PCOS is definitely a life long process. My commiserations to you as well.. facial hair just sucks.

      Like

  2. hey
    very nice article. What are main reasons that increases the level of androgen in women?

    Is there any way to balance the hormones?

    Regards
    Deepika Verma

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deepika, take a look at this article :

      http://paleoforwomen.com/causes-of-high-testosterone-in-women/

      For me, whenever I checked hormone levels, testosterone was normal, yet I have all the symptoms of high testosterone/androgen. Sometimes there are no clear answers.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s