To my fellow PCOS Cysters: this one is for you!! Although keep in mind, you don't need to have PCOS to have excess androgens.
For those who don't know, hirsutism is an abnormal amount of hair growth where it's not meant to be like on your face, nipples, chest, inner thighs, abdomen and back (for women). It usually demonstrates as a male like pattern and is very dark and coarse. It has got to be one of the most humiliating PCOS symptoms to deal with. It is very stressful and anxiety provoking as a female. This is not a cosmetic issue as much as western medicine deems it to be. Laser hair removal rarely works and if it does, it is only a band-aid solution. You need to figure out why this is happening, what imbalance is present and truly fix it from the inside out. Hirsutism is a sign of metabolic dysfunction but more specifically, it is triggered by an excess production of androgens (male sex hormones). I also typically see hair loss from the head, oily and acne prone skin, deeper voice and irregular periods. Why are you producing more androgens you may ask?
Adrenals- When the adrenals are producing too much DHEA-S (usually due to stress in order to try and combat cortisol) but testosterone is still at a relatively normal level. This is usually classified as adrenal PCOS and is associated with adrenal fatigue and burnout type symptoms.
Ovaries- When the ovaries are producing too much testosterone and androstenedione usually due to insulin resistance and sometimes gut inflammation. This is the classic PCOS picture.
Birth Control Pill- This could be while you are on it or when you come off. Some types of birth control have a high androgen index (usually the progestin only ones) which can cause hirsutism. Birth control is also known to suppress androgens while you are taking it resulting in a surge of androgens after you come off. This is more demonstrative of post pill PCOS and is more short term.
Hypersensitive- This is usually the case if you have normal androgen levels on lab work but you have hirsutism and many of the other androgen excess symptoms that I mentioned above. There are many reasons behind this and genetics is one of them. This could be associated with any type of PCOS but usually its post pill or inflammatory. The DUTCH test is super helpful for assessing this as it looks at the aromatase pathway.
I typically get my clients to start with blood work from their doctor because it is usually free but if they don't get much answers from that than we will run a DUTCH test. Generally speaking, everyone needs to support the foundations first before trying all these supplements to reduce androgens. My Pro Metabolic E-Book in my shop has everything you need to know to get started! Once those foundations are in place, you can dive deeper into mineral balancing and natural supplements/herbs to block androgen production like:
I don't typically use bio-identical hormones in my practice but they can offer a lot of temporary relief for some people. Although ideally you want your body to naturally produce more progesterone in order to balance out higher androgens. Everything in my e-book will help will this. Finally, keep in mind hormones take a long time to balance out. If you have been dealing with hirsutism for a long time it could take years to reverse. It can feel like a very lonely confusing journey sometimes, I don't recommend doing it alone. However, with consistency and dedication it will get better. Don't lose hope.