What is Hirsutism:
Hirsutism is a condition which most of us cysters could relate to. If you have PCOS, then you could have excessive male like hair growth on your face, chest, abdomen, back, upper arms, or upper legs.
As PCOS symptoms could be different for each of us, the level of growth & the thickness of hair growth could vary from person to person. The underlying cause of such male like hair growth could be the hormonal imbalance and the presence of high levels of male hormones in our body. The hormonal imbalance could also be aggravated as a side effect of any hormonal medications.
According to a research, patients with hirsutism had -Acne (55%), Menstrual irregularities (40%), hyperpigmentation (37.5%), obesity (37.5%), and thinning of hair in 27.5%. 70% people showing these symptoms had PCOS. Clearly there is a connection of PCOS with hirsutism.
Hair Reduction options available today?
- Shaving: There are plenty of facial hair shavers specifically made for women but the hair growth tends to come back by day 2 and the thought of shaving regularly , every alternate day. Not sure how sustainable that option is in our already busy lives :/
- Waxing: Ouch , the thought of waxing on face can be terrifying itself. While still better than shaving as this could last you for 5 day to 2 weeks, again depending on how coarse and frequent your hair growth is.
- Plucking or Epilating: Many branded face epilators are available online, the epilator is made up of multiple hair pluckers. The hair growth again can last to 3 days to a week depending upon your hair growth. This might require you to invest in a good face eplilator machine which costs between INR 1500 to INR 5000.
- LASER therapy– We all know about Laser for reducing the hair growth but it unfortunately it works best only for those women who do not have high level of male hormones. Many women with PCOS who went for laser and the hair growth returned. The laser treatment could cost from a few thousand bucks to a lac. Keeping in mind the hormonal imbalance factor, Laser might not be a sustainable option for many of us.
- Medications: The dermatologists might also suggest some hormone based medications such as birth control pills, anti-androgen drugs or combination therapy to reduce the hair growth, but side effect of artificial hormones has been spoken enough!
Needless to say before you take up any of the above hair reduction treatments, a patch test is highly recommended to avoid any negative results!!
Sustainable way to reduce the Hirsutism
The most sustainable way of reducing your hirsutism is addressing the root cause of this hair growth which is the high male hormones in our body. Women with PCOS could have higher than normal testosterone levels. The signs of high testosterone levels in women can include: Excess adult acne, abnormal hair growth throughout your body (such as on your chest), Male pattern baldness, a deeper voice, an enlarged clitoris and smaller breast size, Menstrual irregularities are another sign of high testosterone, weight gain.
Reducing hair growth can be achieved by introducing a hormone friendly lifestyle.
Working on the holistic healing of your hormones by taking a hormone friendly diet, slow and healing exercises including yoga and proper sleep pattern and stress free life can lead to reduction in hirsutism and could provide your with relief in your PCOS symptoms. You can also refer my post on the four step healing process.
As per research : https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3693613/; There are several Indian herbs that help decrease the male hormones in our bodies such as Licorice ( Mulethi) , Spearmint, Vitex ( Nirgundi). These can be used as a tea blend, and you can have upto three cups of the blend to reduce the testosterone.
While I have seen reduction in my facial hair growth by having regular spearmint tea. And after various painful waxing attempts, I personally like the face epilator which is one time investment , easy to carry around and you can use it by yourself. My amazon page has a trusted brand of epilator that I use.
We must remember that any treatment such as waxing , epilating etc. will only be temporary until we women with PCOS work on the root cause of our PCOS, that is the high male hormones. To reduce your hirsutism, it is strongly advised to work on an integrative approach by adopting a hormone friendly lifestyle which includes reducing stress in your daily lives and getting enough sleep; along with supplementing with some natural indian herbs. Refer my other posts on hormone friendly diet and exercise ?
(Inputs provided by Manvi Rajput)