Have PCOS and Hirsutism - Where Do I Begin?

by RC
(United States)

I was diagnosed with PCOS at the age of 19. I am now 39 and finally have health coverage after 10 years.

Doctors all throughout the past 20 years have just tried to put on "the Band-Aid" of birth control...one tried metformin only to regulate my periods. They have been on a normal schedule now.

Thyroid is normal and supposedly the levels of whatever they tested are at normal levels although my testosterone is at the higher level of normal.

I still feel like I have not been helped and am in the same place I was in 20 years ago.

I can see if to go and see an endocrinologist if that's what I even need to do? But where do I begin? What tests should I start with? I would really appreciate your advice.

My number one problem is hirsutism, taking over my face and is emotionally devastating.

Laser did not help at all and I was told to try electrolysis but that I would need to do it for 6 month or longer. Who has that kind of money laying around? Affecting my daily life horribly.

Also been having severe pain for over 10 years but ObGyn I just saw today said I probably have a cyst and that the birth control pills would fix it.

Seems like no one truly wants to find a solution...I'm about to demand an ultrasound.

Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for those newsletters.

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7 Ideas to Get Started
by: PCOS Editor

Hi RC,

I can understand your extreme frustration. Hirsutism sucks.

1) I'd vote for these two tests, as a start:

-- GTIR test, which is the best way to determine whether you have insulin resistance and to what degree.
GTIR escribed here.

Most doctors won't know how to interpret this test, so you would need to ask the lab for a referral to a doctor in your area who understands this test. Insulin resistance is a strong driver of testosterone production, which in turn exacerbates hirsutism. If you can get a handle on insulin resistance (assuming you have it), you will start to see results.

-- Vitamin D test. If value is below 50, consider taking supplemental vitamin D. Vitamin D affects perhaps 3-5% of your entire genome and is necessary for normalization of body functions. Vitamin D is a hormone.

2) Whether your thyroid function is optimal is an open question. My guess is that your doctor only checked for primary hypothyroidism (via a TSH test) and did NOT check for secondary hypothyroidism or autoimmune thyroiditis.

3) The place I would always start is with diet, for both hirsutism and ovarian cysts. Big topic - can't provide details here. You can refer to our diet ebook, or look at various diet articles on our site. Essentially, a semi-ketogenic diet may be helpful, especially if you have a weight issue. Getting completely away from the average American diet should shrink cysts and reduce insulin resistance and hirsutism.

4) You could try some nutritional supplements, such as fish oil, inositol powder, etc.
Some info here.

Those supplements available here.

5) You say laser didn't work. Was that because of hair color? Did you try IPL therapy?

6) If you get an ultrasound of your ovaries, you might as well get an ultrasound of your liver too. It may show that you have a fat-clogged liver. If so, this has the effect of increasing bioactive testosterone levels (by decreasing SHBG), which in turn stimulates male-pattern hair growth.

7) Are you exercising a lot? High intensity interval training is especially effective at reducing insulin resistance. Any increase in exercise and physical activity will help you.

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