You wake up, ready for your Disney close-up, the birds are singing, and the sun is shining through the curtains. You float to the bathroom, yawning and ready to start your day, rubbing your eyes and you see it. Front and center, the hairs you JUST PLUCKED last night on your chin have reared their stubby little heads again. Sighing, you pull out the tweezers and get to work.
Though we may not wish it, facial hair and PCOS go hand in hand. With the hair growth, no doubt a flurry of other PCOS symptoms follows in line behind it. And you’re told it’s just part of it.
Though doctors may tell you otherwise, you actually don’t have to live with this symptom or any of the other ones. I’m here to break down the barriers and provide real answers on what hirsutism is and its connection with PCOS. But I’m not stopping there babe, I want to tell you how you can use food and lifestyle changes to yield actual change, and even a free sample PCOS meal plan directed at the stubbly buggers bothering us all.
Let’s get into it.
WHAT IS HIRSUTISM?
As defined by the Mayo Clinic, Hirsutism is a condition in women that results in excessive growth of dark or coarse hair in a traditionally male-like pattern — on the face and body.
As defined by all of us ladies with PCOS, us cysters define hirsutism as a massive pain in the ass. In fact, 70 to 80% of women with PCOS suffer from hirsutism.
With hirsutism, you see extra hair growth, it’s e v e r y w h e r e. But where is coming from? Why am I growing all of this extra hair? We can thank excess hormones known as androgens for that one. Androgens are hormones such as testosterone, DHEA, DHEA sulfate, and DHT. And if you are one of the lucky ones with PCOS, odds are your androgens are running high.
But, don’t get me wrong, androgens are necessary. Androgens are present in every gender to help with important functions like bone density, muscle development, red blood cell production, and even libido. So, we def don’t want to get rid of them altogether.
Instead, for us ladies with PCOS, it’s all about balance. When you have PCOS, your androgens get higher than your body needs, surpassing all the good things they do. Instead, excess androgens are causing symptoms we know and love like acne, wonky periods, infertility, weight gain, high blood pressure, and of course, hirsutism. When your androgen levels rise, they can actually impact your hair follicles and change the type of hair they produce – yielding darker, thicker hair.
It’s important to identify if your androgens are high and understand that they can be a primary cause of your difficulties with PCOS symptoms. Start by getting some blood tests from your doctors such as total and free testosterone, and if you’ve already been diagnosed, assume these pesky hormones are probably a part of the problem.
FOODS FOR HIRSUTISM TREATMENT?
If you’ve already talked to your doctor about your PCOS and hirsutism, there’s a good chance you’ve already been offered a variety of PCOS medications to treat both. Common medications offered for PCOS include birth control pills or spironolactone, which work great for some people. Unfortunately, these medication treatments don’t always fix all of your PCOS symptoms and can come with a range of unpleasant side effects to trade off for.
There are other options if you’ve exhausted or don’t want to go down the path of conventional ones. Did you know that what you eat impacts your facial hair growth?
What you put into your body can actually slow and eventually stop the growth of facial hair – all by lowering those pesky androgens we discussed above. By focusing on taking in foods high in zinc, lysine, and lycopene, you can start moving in the right direction. Add in the power of protein and fiber, and you’ll start working wonders on blood sugar balance – see another article here on how that can impact your PCOS too babe.
Strategic changes in your meals and lifestyle can have a profound impact – it could start simple with a supplement,
A SAMPLE MEAL PLAN TO REDUCE FACIAL HAIR
If you’re ready to take your goals to the next level, you can go beyond incorporating a supplement alone, starting with your meals.
I’ll be transparent with you, changing what and how you eat can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be restrictive. In fact, we rebuke that here babe. Instead, we look for nourishing, yummy foods that support our goals – like reducing facial hair.
Here’s a sample meal plan that breaks down what that could look like in a day:
4 oz smoked salmon – high in Zinc, making it a powerful androgen blocker
½ an avocado
¼ a cup of raspberries
A delicious cup of spearmint tea – perfect for a crisp morning
A wrap made with a low-carb tortilla (I like Carb Balance), 3 oz of turkey, 2 tbsp of whipped cream cheese or hummus, sliced cucumbers, and tomatoes
1 cup of grape tomatoes – high in lycopene to block DHT
2 tbsp of ranch or tzatziki for dipping (I always love a good dip)
PM Snack (We love and encourage snacks here okay)
2 hardboiled eggs – aid in balancing blood sugar and reducing androgen production
½ a peach for fiber and antioxidants
Lettuce-wrapped burger- beef is high in lysine, which lowers testosterone
½ cup of french fries
1.5 cups of sauteed mushrooms
½ cup of plain greek yogurt
Add in 2 tbsp of pumpkin seeds – further adding to the androgen-lowering power!
Add in 2 tbsp of chocolate chips – because chocolate, enough said
This is just an example of what a day could look like fighting your PCOS with food. But every meal will be unique to each cyster boo. I can help you navigate that, and build plans and meals with suggestions unique to you and your tastes.
BE THE BOSS OF YOUR PCOS
You are in control of your story – and if that doesn’t include PCOS and its symptoms, that’s your right to choose. But can I really control my PCOS with food?
As a Registered Dietitian, I’ve made a career and life purpose of helping women like us be the boss of their PCOS once and for all. And if hirsutism is one of your most frustrating PCOS symptoms, I have a TON of resources for you inside my program PCOS Boss Academy.
In it, we’ll break down even more behind the why of PCOS and its symptoms, and how you can make lasting changes. Throughout my program, you’ll be backed up by real science, the support of other cysters, and real results you can feel proud of.
I can tell you what we won’t do – you’ll never be told to eliminate whole food groups and you’ll never be told to stick to slow workouts. The science doesn’t support it and neither do we, babe.