Is PCOS Causing Your Facial Hair or Hirsutism?
Begin by watching the video above.
I want to share with you some important facts about dark facial and body hair growth so you can begin to turn this condition around to heal as quickly as possible. Hirsutism is a condition of unwanted, male-pattern hair growth in women. This condition results in excessive amounts of stiff and pigmented hair on body areas where men typically grow hair (face, chest and back).
Hirsutism affects at least 5-10% of women and for women with polycystic ovarian syndrome, the incidences are much higher. Do you suffer from hirsutism?
Until puberty your body is covered with fine, colorless hairs called vellus hairs. When you begin to sexually mature, male sex hormones called androgens help vellus hairs on certain areas of your body become darker, curlier, and coarser. These are called terminal hairs. Unwanted terminal hair growth in women can result from excess androgens or from an increased sensitivity of hair follicles to androgens. This causes an imbalance of male sex hormones and metabolic abnormalities in PCOS women.
Women with PCOS-linked hirsutism often have hair in the mustache and beard areas that become heavier and darker. Masculine hair also develops on the arms and legs, as well as on the abdomen, chest, or back. There may even be extra growth in the pubic area.
Women with PCOS who struggle with hirsutism are really dealing with the core issue of insulin resistance. When the cells in your body are resistant to the insulin being produced, glucose cannot be converted into energy. Because of this, hormonal levels may become imbalanced causing androgen levels to increase. This is what causes the terminal hair growth on your face and body, as well as other symptoms.
These other symptoms can develop over time in a process called virilization.
Signs of virilization may include:
- Deepening voice
- Decreased breast size
- Enlargement of the clitoris
- Increased muscle mass
High levels of cortisol, insulin and genetics play the biggest roles in driving up higher levels of testosterone.
A Devastating Condition
This condition can be both physically and emotionally devastating. Studies have shown challenges with sexual identity, interpersonal conflicts, social isolation and a significant degree of depression.
These psychological effects are real and should not be underestimated. We understand this and want you to know that when you take charge of your health you can significantly reduce or eliminate this condition.
How to Get Started
Hyperandrogenemia (excessive androgens) is found to be the major factor in hirsutism. The key to restoring your health is investigating what is causing your androgens to go too high – i.e. what is keeping your hormones in fight or flight mode instead of rest and digest mode.
There are many underlying factors and stressors that create imbalances and cause the different symptoms of PCOS known as Hormone Deal-Breakers.
Hormone Deal-Breakers Include:
- Nutrient deficiencies – your body is lacking vital nutrients for its needs (including anemias)
- The wrong diet (food) for you
- The wrong exercise or type of movement for you
- Inadequate rest and sleep for you
- Toxins from many different places both internal and external including toxic relationships
- Low thyroid function
- Low adrenal function
- Lack of support
- Sluggish or fatty liver
- Bacterial, viral or fungal infections
- Poor microbiome (gut bacteria) balance
- You’re just too busy
- Negative thoughts
- Your body’s ability to detoxify
- Poor fat metabolism
- And your genetics
And so much more. Anything that stresses your body emotionally or physically will throw you into hormone imbalance, and pretty quickly. The stress hormone cortisol rises and stays high, and the blood sugar hormone, insulin, also rises and can stay high causing your cells to become resistant to it. When cortisol and insulin are chronically elevated, your body remains in the fight or flight state for too long causing many other hormone imbalances. One of them is too much testosterone.
There are many options to remove terminal hair temporarily such as waxing, hair removal creams and laser treatment. However, many of us want long term solutions. The good news is that when your body becomes sensitive to insulin, and androgen levels naturally decrease, vellus, or the fine light-colored hairs will no longer become terminal, or dark and coarse.
Insulin Resistance: A Key Influencing Factor of Hirsutism
Insulin resistance is a symptom of hormone imbalance that can cause some of the other symptoms of PCOS like hirsutism, especially because it raises androgens.
Insulin is responsible for allowing glucose, or blood sugar, to be absorbed by the cells of your body, where it is converted to energy. If you suffer from insulin resistance, your cells react sluggishly. When you eat a meal, whether it is steak, fish, or vegetables, your body breaks it down into a usable energy form, namely glucose.
In a simplified explanation, the food you consume becomes sugar that will be transported to the tissues, muscles, and organs of the body via the bloodstream. Following a meal, particularly one that is high in carbohydrates, you will have elevated levels of glucose in the bloodstream, which signal the pancreas to release even more insulin until the excess glucose is absorbed by your cells.
With insulin resistance the excessive amounts of free-floating glucose are not absorbed by your cells, so the excess glucose remains in your bloodstream until it is sent to your liver and converted to excess body fat.
High levels of insulin affect increased androgens in two ways:
- by increasing circulating ovarian androgens
- by directly reducing serum sex hormone binding globulin concentrations
The net result of these actions is to increase circulating free testosterone concentrations. Insulin resistance is caused by some of the Hormone Deal-Breakers. Check the list above to see where you can begin to make some changes.
Your body is amazing. When given the right support your dark facial hair will slowly begin to decrease and you’ll get your life back. The important thing to remember is there is no medical cure. It’s up to you to take charge of your health right now and find your most fabulous self.
Change your diet. Focus on an anti-inflammatory diet full of whole, real organic foods balanced with healthy proteins, fats and carbohydrates that are low in sugar and free of fructose (except from fruits) and chemicals. Focus on free-range meats, wild caught fish, cage-free organic eggs, nuts and seeds, coconut, olives, vegetables, fruits (limit 1 per day), and legumes. Avoid grains and especially wheat/gluten as they cause higher levels of insulin and hence, androgens.
Get enough sleep. Not enough sleep can raise cortisol, insulin, and increase inflammation.
Move or exercise for hormone balance. Choose exercise that is hormone-balancing instead of stressful. What is that for you?
Remove toxins from your body and your life. Women with PCOS tend to carry around a heavier toxin load. Support liver function, increase your fiber intake, get rid of toxic body care products and household cleaning products, eat organic and non-GMO as much as possible to limit your toxin exposure. Take a quick assessment of people in your life who are toxic and limit your time with them, and do a healthy cleanse program like the PCOS Cleanse at least once a year.
Replace missing nutrients. If your body does not have the nutrients it needs to function properly you will be hormonally imbalanced.
Surround yourself with like-minded people. Those who do are much healthier and happier.