The fuzz. The dark, coarse, scraglys. The beard. One of the most hated symptoms of PCOS in my community, and why wouldn’t it be!
Whether it’s just on the face, or excess hair growth on other body parts too- there’s nothing fun about being a super hairy woman. We are told it’s sexy to be as hairless as possible – but we need to also have beautiful, thick, voluminous and shiny hair on our heads at all times.
Well I say fuck those standards. Some women are hairy, and I’m one of them.
If you’re reading this, I bet you are too.
Did you know that the hair growth caused by PCOS is called Hirsutism?
Well, that’s the technical term.
Did you also know that diet and lifestyle intervention can help in reducing Hirsutism?
Oh yes- you read that right.
Now, every woman’s experience with hair growth is different, so results vary from woman to woman of course.
But isn’t it worth trying some stuff for a little while, even if it means one or two less days of shaving each week? I think so.
The #1 Reason PCOS Causes Hirsutism
The #1 reason PCOS causes hirsutism is elevated androgen hormones. Androgen hormones are the “male” hormones that get out of whack in women with PCOS. Androgen hormones include testosterone, DHEA and androstenedione, to name a few.
The hormone I’m focusing on today is testosterone, and it’s “naughty” form, DHT or dihydrotestosterone.
How Do Women Get High Androgens?
From insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance is when your body becomes desensitized to the signals of the blood-sugar balancing hormone, insulin.
So, you’re left with extra insulin AND extra sugar rolling around in the blood, and this is bad news bears.
Insulin is a storage hormone, so not only do some women get a beard, they also gain weight, especially in the belly area because insulin stores fat.
Back to Hirsutism. . .
When insulin resistance is present, it causes the theca cells of our ovaries to over-produce testosterone.
Elevated testosterone is often converted to that “naughty” form, DHT at the tissue site- this site being the hair follicles on your face and body.
Once at the hair follicle, elevated androgens can:
- Speed up hair growth
- Enlarge the hair follicle, creating thicker and darker hair
So you get a beard, and maybe even a “treasure trail” on your belly.
How Does Insulin Resistance Happen?
Insulin resistance is a process that happens over years. Years of shitty diet, sedentary lifestyle, and internalizing stress. Insulin resistance also happens due to uncontrollable factors, like pollution and toxins in the environment.
Additionally, with PCOS, there is a chronic, low-grade level of inflammation that contributes to insulin resistance.
In a healthy person, insulin is secreted the the pancreas in response to food (sugar) coming into the body. Insulin holds the “key” to your cells, so that sugar can get in to make energy.
Eventually, because of the factors listed above (and others), blood sugar is constantly high, so your body makes more insulin to compensate. Eventually, your cells change the locks and insulin can’t open the cells to let sugar in.
So your body makes even MORE insulin to desperately try and get those cells open for sugar, to no avail. So insulin remains circulating at high levels, creating many issues- including Hirsutism.
If you’d like to learn more about how to use FOOD and LIFESTYLE to reduce Hirsutism (and other PCOS symptoms like acne, weight gain and sucky periods), join me for my live PCOS Secrets webinar!
Simply click here to go check it out and choose a PCOS webinar date that works for your schedule. Can’t wait to see you there!