Hair growth in places that women aren’t expected to have hair (hirsutism) can be very distressing.  Dealing with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is hard enough when we are worried about lack of ovulation, acne or excess weight.  It’s understandable that our femininity feels even more challenged when we see coarse, dark hairs on our chin, upper lip, face, abdomen, nipples, pubic region, inner thighs or upper arms.  This can make many of us feel anxious and desperate to get rid of it.  So I wanted to share with you, how to tackle this problem.

Firstly, why does it occur?

Androgens are the number 1 cause of hirsutism.  These hormones are responsible for stimulating male-type characteristics including coarse hair growth.  It is normal for females to have some androgen production.  This is necessary for libido, strong bones, gaining and maintaining muscle & keeping our skin from becoming dry.  It also contributes to a feeling of overall wellbeing and motivation. However, when we have too many androgens circulating in our blood stream, hirsutism occurs.  Sometimes we get hirsutism even without having abnormally high androgens in our bloodstream.  It is thought that this might occur because our hair follicles are too sensitive to the effects of androgens and become stimulated even by normal amounts.  The cause of this is unknown.

Please note: hirsutism is most commonly connected with PCOS, however, there are some more serious causes such as cancers, adrenal disease or pituitary disease.  You should always see your doctor to rule out more serious causes of hirsutism before proceeding with natural treatments. 

My top 4 tips for getting rid of unwanted hair

1. Laser

Laser hair removal has come a long way and it doesn't have to be an uncomfortable experience or break the bank.  The best candidates for successful laser hair removal treatment are those with fair-medium skin and dark hair.  The good news is that hair growth from hirsutism is coarse and dark, allowing the laser to target those hair follicles easily.  Over a series of treatments the hair follicle is destroyed and hair can no longer grow there.  Permanently.  Laser hair removal treatments can be bought in packages to make it more affordable and you can get multiple areas done in one visit.  Personally, I have found The Clear Skincare Clinic to be excellent for laser hair removal.  They are Australia-wide and offer a free consultation to evaluate whether you are a good candidate for treatment.

2. Quit sugar

As with all ailments it is important to treat not only the symptoms but also the root cause.  This means treating the inside not just the outside.  Quitting sugar is one of the most effective ways of reducing androgen production from the ovaries.  If you have no idea what I'm talking about check out this post.  The great thing about quitting sugar is that you will also be improving all the other symptoms of PCOS!  Plus it is great for your overall health and energy levels.  So, where to start?  Here is my guide at hitting the sugar reset button with a gentle 2-week cleanse.  Alternatively you could do the 8-week I Quit Sugar program by Sarah Wilson.

3. Inositol

Inositol (vitamin B8) is a supplement that has shown positive results in women with PCOS in clinical trials, including reduction of hirsutism and acne, more regular menstrual cycles and improved ovulation.  There are 2 forms available: Myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol.   Myo-inositol should be taken at a dose of 2g/day and D-chiro-inositol 1000-1500mg per day.  For best results take 1/2hr before food and 2hrs away from caffeine.  If you haven't seen results after 3-6 months see your Naturopath for further advice.

4. Embrace it

Lastly, it's really ok to choose to embrace your excess hair!  Society imposes many gender expectations upon us but it doesn't mean we have to conform to them.  If you are comfortable the way you are just go with it.  If you are contemplating this option, this article might be of interest to you.

I hope this helps you to feel more in control of PCOS and hirsutism.  Let me know how you go!

All the best on your health journey,

 

Josephine

For a comprehensive treatment solution and access to an exclusive support section, including email support from Josephine, get The PCOS Solution.

References

Ciotta, L, Formuso, C, Pagano, I & Stracquadanio, M 2012, ‘M043 Myo-Inositol Vs D-Chiro Inositol in Pcos Treatment’, International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, vol. 119, p. S545.

Kopera, D, Wehr, E & Obermayer-Pietsch, B 2010, ‘Endocrinology of hirsutism.’, International journal of trichology, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 30–5.

Marsh, K a, Steinbeck, KS, Atkinson, FS, Petocz, P & Brand-Miller, JC 2010, ‘Effect of a low glycemic index compared with a conventional healthy diet on polycystic ovary syndrome’, The American journal of clinical nutrition, vol. 92, pp. 83–92.

Sachdeva, S 2010, ‘Hirsutism: evaluation and treatment.’, Indian journal of dermatology, vol. 55, no. 1, pp. 3–7.

Zacchè, MM, Caputo, L, Filippis, S, Zacchè, G, Dindelli, M & Ferrari, A 2009, ‘Efficacy of myo-inositol in the treatment of cutaneous disorders in youngwomen with polycystic ovary syndrome.’, Gynecological endocrinology : the official journal of the International Society of Gynecological Endocrinology, vol. 25, no. 8, pp. 508–513.

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