I have been paleo for a year, and have had total success: fat loss, lean mass gains, improved general health and decreased anxiety. The only thing that hasn't gotten better is that I still have PCOS-related facial hair. Not so much that it is very noticeable, but coarse, itchy and prone to ingrowing. The hair growth has been reduced slightly by the diet.
Does the continued presence of male-pattern facial hair mean that my hormones are still not optimal? What steps can I take, or what resources can I access, to improve the situation? Has anyone successfully dealt with this?
asked byScratch (1981)
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on December 21, 2012
at 06:44 PM
I wish I had good news for you, and could say, "just stick with it and that will take care of itself." I think some have had good success with drinking loads of mint tea, but I haven't found anything that slows down the hair growth, and I've been at this for years. The cysts are even gone, but the hair is still there, quite maddening. I talked to an electrologist about it, and she said that once the hair follicles are activated it is rare that the male pattern hair growth will resolve on its own, so at that point it becomes about management.
If you can afford years of electrolysis or laser, that is the longest lasting way to go about it. I did 4 months of electrolysis, and then ran out of funds, and it didn't make much of an impact long term. I've read the average time to total eradication for male to female trans people when using electrolysis is about 5 years. I suspect I wouldn't have to do it for quite that long, since I was sporting more of a Shaggy than a full Abe Lincoln, but less than a year was likely unrealistic.
I recently ordered one of these hair threading spring coil things, and am pretty happy with it. It is best if you have a highish pain threshold or put down some numbing cream first. It essentially works like tweezing, but does multiple hairs at a time, so it takes less time. I'm still getting used to using it (have only had it for 2 weeks), but can get about 5-7 pretty short hairs at a pass, and don't have to stand in front of a mirror to use it, so you can veg out, watch TV, and end up significantly smoother by the end of an episode of something. It doesn't seem to get everything but it helps speed up the process a lot since tweezing has been the most cost effective way for me to get a few weeks of relief at a time. This is the one I got: http://www.amazon.com/Bellabe-118-Facial-Hair-Remover/dp/B001RPL902
on December 21, 2012
at 05:57 PM
I participated in a study at my local university that looked at the effects of fish oil on PCOS symptoms. The study just finished, so I cannot tell you the results, but in earlier preliminary studies, they found that taking up to 2,000 mg of fish oil a day helps regulate levels of leptin, which in turn helps regulate testosterone and insulin. The idea is that the fish oil will eventually begin to decrease those unwanted side effects of PCOS, such as facial hair. I started a paleo diet in the spring (and still fail at it sometimes) and also have PCOS. I did this study for 6 months and began to have regular periods again. I also have unwanted facial hair and I don't know if I've seen much of a difference with the fish oil in that area, but it may be growing a bit slower. At any rate, taking fish oil fits within the paleo lifestyle and certainly can't you hurt you any. I'm going to continue with the regimen as there have been other benefits, such as decrease in body fat as measured by hip and waist measurements over the course of 6 months (although no real weight loss-just leaning up I think).
on December 21, 2012
at 02:49 AM
Hey, have you seen an endocrinologist? You can fix a lot of your issues by fixing your diet, but some things are going to need a medical intervention to make sure you're on the right path. If your hormones are out of whack, it can be hard to pinpoint what's wrong without testing. A hormone panel involving blood and a panel based off saliva will tell you your static levels and your dynamic levels and give a good endo an idea of what's imbalanced and why. If you are near NY I recommend Dr. David Borenstein.
As an unofficial statement, something like that sounds like it would be related to high testosterone levels, but PCOS is a bitch and a half to figure out so you should make sure it's under professional supervision. And this advice is coming from someone who HATES doctors and the whole medical establishment, sometimes it's just necessary.