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7 tried and tested ways to treat the symptoms of PCOS

Struggling with the symptoms of PCOS? Wish you knew how to treat the weight gain and excess hair growth? My latest guest poster Kara Richards reveals 7 tried and tested ways to treat it (from her personal experience).

7 tried and tested ways to treat the symptoms of PCOS

Roughly 7-10% of females between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States are living with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS.) Out of that group, approximately 7 out of 10 go undiagnosed.

PCOS is a hormonal disorder only found in people who have a female reproductive system. The main symptom of PCOS is tiny cysts that grow in either one or both ovaries. However, PCOS also brings on other physical symptoms that you’d be able to see with your own eyes, like:

As a young woman who has been living with PCOS since before I even started middle school (shortly after I got my first period,) I have nearly ten years of experience concealing, plucking, shaving, and doing anything it takes to hide the excessive hair growth that I have on my chest, sideburns, and neck.

7 Ways to Deal With PCOS-Induced Hirsutism (I’ve Tried Them All)

Every person with PCOS has different struggles at different magnitudes, and some people experience different symptoms than others. Personally, I mainly have inconvenient hair growth and was obese for the majority of my life until I lost 75 pounds in my early twenties. I’ve mastered hiding my facial hair, and here are the various ways that I’ve learned to handle living as a modern “bearded lady.”

Plucking the hairs with tweezers

Extremely conventional? Yes. Inconvenient and a waste of time? Quite possibly. This was the first way I ever took care of unwanted hair on my neck – actually, this is how my mom got rid of the hairs on my neck. She was actually the first person to spot them. This method is only convenient and logical when there are only a few sprouting hairs that are dark and long enough for your tweezers to grab.

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Waxing it off in patches

If your unwanted hair is in a place you would feel comfortable letting grow out to about a quarter inch (a bit over a half centimeter,) you can go to the salon and have it waxed off. Most salons are able to do this, and definitely will not judge you – when I first went, they informed me that this was a relatively normal occurrence for women and they were more than understanding! What makes waxing a bit difficult is that sometimes, the hairs grow in patches that are uneven and grow in opposite directions. It’s a painful process of brushing the hairs with your fingers and seeing exactly which way the hairs are growing, but after waxing, the hair won’t grow back for almost a month. The payoff is definitely worth it if you can tolerate the pain, in my opinion. To this day, every time I get my hair cut, I have my stylist wax my cheeks and sideburns.

Professional hair removal treatments

When I was in my mid-teenage years, I was fortunate enough to have parents who were willing to pay for laser hair removal appointments to treat my neck hair. There are two main ways to cosmetically alter facial hair growth: laser treatments and electrolysis.

The main difference between electrolysis and laser treatments is that electrolysis involves needles going into the skin and results in a “permanent” solution for some patients, and laser removal is done by zapping the follicles in patches from the outside without ever penetrating the skin, resulting in an extended period of slower hair growth. Both treatments require multiple appointments to begin seeing results. This is by far the most expensive option, and before choosing which is right for you, it’s absolutely necessary to do your research and talk to your doctor or dermatologist on what they would recommend for your condition.

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Shaving daily

Currently, besides the periodic waxes I get on my face, I handle my excessive hair by shaving in the shower every day, and I have done this for almost a decade. It does take some getting used to, and you will definitely miss some spots some days, but this is the cheapest, most effective way to treat overgrowth, in my opinion. I usually shave with a women’s razor and I periodically use shaving cream, if I notice it’s longer or more stubborn than usual.

Hair removal creams

When I was young and first developing facial hair, my mom would spot-treat my neck with Nair. In all honesty, it was effective, but the smell was very strong and stung my nostrils, and left my skin feeling raw due to the harshness of the chemicals used.

Dying the hair

I tried this method once in high school where I had my stylist (if you haven’t gotten the picture yet, she’s amazing) dye my neck hair blonde. The main downside of this is that you’d have to let your hair grow for at least two weeks, and the hair is still there. Before I dyed my hair, I wore a lot of scarves and got inspiration online for the various ways I could conceal my neck without just throwing a scarf around my neck every day. If your end goal is to get rid of the hair, this is definitely not the solution for you.

exercise to lose excess weight gain

Losing weight

Depending on your lifestyle, losing some weight could help you with your excessive hair growth. Since PCOS is closely tied with insulin resistance and consequently Type 2 Diabetes, losing even 10 to 15 pounds could help regulate your hair growth and periods, or lessen any other symptoms of PCOS you have.

After all of these, each of which I have done at least once, I must say that none of them have ever evaded my excess hair completely. PCOS-induced hirsutism is a monster of a syndrome, and sometimes, the most skilled and tested treatments fail to conquer it.

It is an honest struggle living with excessive hair growth. Some days, I still get a bit self conscious about it, and stroke my neck wondering if anyone else has noticed it. In order to familiarise and force myself to confront my body hair, I’ve grown out my armpit, leg, and pubic hair to embrace my natural body, and it has helped a bit.

I encourage you to find peace with your body when it comes to PCOS; unfortunately, it’s one of the most underrepresented, underresearched disorders that affect people with female reproductive syndromes today. There is currently no cure, except for finding a way to deal with the symptoms that works for you.

All in all, you have “cysters,” and we’re all in this struggle together.

Guest post by Kara Richards

7 ways to treat pcos symptoms