PCOS may be one of the most misunderstood and undiagnosed conditions of our time, but those of us who suffer from it definitely understand how frustrating it can be to live with. Irregular periods, unwanted facial hair, exasperating weight gain, the list goes on… Since there is no cure for PCOS, what can a woman do to get the symptoms of the condition under control? Fortunately, quite a bit. If you’re sick and tired of dealing with the symptoms that your diagnosis of PCOS seems to have wrought upon you, here are some tips to help.
The Weight Issue
It’s no secret. Women who suffer from PCOS are often overweight, have a hard time losing weight or are gaining weight even though they are severely limiting their caloric intake. What’s a girl to do? Are bathing suits a thing of the past? Will you ever look forward to clothes shopping again? Fortunately, there is some good news.
The weight gain that is associated with PCOS is usually due to insulin resistance. This insulin resistance can be controlled with a low-glycemic diet and a prescription drug called Metformin. Once you begin taking this prescription medication your insulin levels should get back under control and you will find that it is much, much easier to lose those excess pounds. In fact, some women find that they are actually able to eat more and still lose weight when taking their Metformin prescription as directed.
The Acne Issue
For some women PCOS results in painful acne, and I’m not just talking about the emotional pain. Deep, cystic acne that hurts to even touch (and is impossible to pop without permanent scarring) is a regular occurrence for many of those who suffer from PCOS. What can be done about it?
Again, Metformin seems to help alleviate some of the acne that is associated with PCOS. So does a proper diet. However, those who have a stubborn case of acne may want to talk to their dermatologist about getting prescription benzoyl peroxide. This medication is available in a lotion and in a body wash. Of all the people I have talked to, the body wash seems to work the best in cases of PCOS, so make sure your doctor understands that you want the prescription body wash and not the cream or lotion.
We all want thick, shiny, beautiful hair – but we do not want it on our toes or on our bellies or on our face. Unfortunately, women who suffer from PCOS often develop hair in the most unwanted places. The good news is there is something to be done about it.
Again, Metformin seems to slow PCOS-related hair growth. However, if you take the medication and it does not do anything for your hair growth (or if you do not take the medication), you still have some options.
You can wax the hair if you don’t mind a bit of pain at first (it gets easier as you get used to it) and you can tweeze any stray hairs that appear between waxings. You can also use a cream called Vaniqa that will slow down the hair growth between your waxing sessions.
Some women with PCOS may also want to try laser hair removal, but be forewarned that laser hair removal does not always work with cases of PCOS and the hair might come back. If, however, you are able to get your hormones under control, the hairs that have already grown in due to PCOS can be removed with lasers and you should have better luck not having new ones grow in.
Stay on Top of It
No matter what, when you are feeling and looking better, do not let your regimen change. It is easy to say “Oh, I don’t need Metformin,” or “I don’t need to stick to this diet” once things are going your way. Just remember, PCOS doesn’t go away. It will be great when you feel better, but you will have to continue to take the steps that you initially took to keep the PCOS symptoms at bay.
Circle + Bloom offers audio mind+body programs to help women with PCOS. One program for when you are not trying to conceive (PCOS for Health) and another program for when you are (PCOS for Fertility).
Please always consult your Doctor for how any information you read relates to you personally, including the information on this site and included in this post.