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Old 05-22-2009, 08:41 PM   #1
Nyria
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Default Laser hair removal and PCOS

I have been getting laser treatment for my face (chin and stache), my armpits and bikini area.

After 6 treatments my pits are pretty much naked - my bikini line is nicer - and my face has finer hair. But there is still a lot of hair there.

The laser gal said that maybe the laser won't work as well on the face because it's a horomone thing that's causing excess hair there - any thoughts on that?

Thanks =)
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Old 05-22-2009, 08:45 PM   #2
chaplin
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This thread has some recent responses from people who've tried laser treatment:

http://www.pcoscommunity.com/showthread.php?t=13610
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Old 05-23-2009, 11:08 AM   #3
sweetsunshine72
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Here's the way things work:

Everyone has tons of vellus hair (fine, "peach-fuzz", invisible). On some areas of the body, they have more receptors for androgens (like testosterone), such as the chin, moustache, etc. When you have a hormone imbalance (like PCOS), you create more androgens, and that triggers some of those hairs to "turn" into terminal hairs (thicker, darker, longer). Unfortunately, once a hair has "turned", it will never go back to being a vellus hair again, although it can get a bit lighter and thinner, and can slow down it's growth cycle if you reduce the androgens that set it off in the first place.

With laser, I believe it tries to "cook" the hair root, thus damaging or (hopefully) destroying it. That's great for the hairs already there, but it will not do anything for hairs that haven't "turned" yet - and that WILL turn if the extra androgens are still being made! Laser relies on the root being darker, too, so it can absorb the light energy better, so it might not work as well on the finer hair. Electrolysis would probably work better on those ones.

In the meantime, you do need to be treating your PCOS to make sure that your androgens aren't too high, or you will probably need to repeat the treatments as new hairs "turn". Treating PCOS usually starts with a wholesome, low-GI-type diet, exercise, and probably Metformin, too. This attacks the underlying metabolic issue that's the main cause/trigger of the whole thing! The effect on androgens is a bit slow, though, so you might also want to consider a hormonal treatment that reduces androgens. Those treatments are pretty strong, though, and you have to absolutely make sure that you don't get pregnant while taking them as they can do nasty things to a male fetus!!! The hormonal treatments are anti-androgens meds like Spironolactone. Some BCP's also contain a little anti-androgen, such as Yaz and Yasmin, although usually not as much. Be cautious about using BCP's, though, as they can make the underlying metabolic issue worse in the long run. Any treatment will probably take about 3 or 4 months to take effect. Metabolic treatment could take up to a year before it affects hair.

If you do find that you need a "touch-up", it's probably better to get that done on a regular basis rather than waiting - but it's up to you. I'd ask a dermatologist about if laser is actually permanent for the treated hairs or not.

Take care, and HTH!!!
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Now, Metformin 1,500 mg/day, Fish Oil, D3, good multi
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Old 05-23-2009, 03:35 PM   #4
miss meldrew
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ok- this is something i do not understand.

my testosterone levels are 'normal', so why would it grow back?

the dermatologist showed me her underarms and said "that was 12 years ago!" there was nothing there, but she was fairer than me and obviously did not have a hair problem to start with.

many of you have said to the effect of "as you have pcos, the peach fuzz will turn and you have excess androgens due to hormonal imbalance so it will grow back".

here are my results- as you can see my testosterone is 'normal', the only thing that (i think) is out of place is that my FSH is 6 and my LH is 9- typical for pcos.

LH- 9 IU/L
FSH- 6 IU/L
PROLACTINE- 0.23 IU/L

PROGESTERONE- 0.57 ng/ml (1.8 nmol/l)
ESTRADIOL- 40.86 pg/ml (150 pmol/l)
TESTOSTERONE- 31.7 ng/dl) (1.1 pmol/l)
SHBG- 1.87 ug/dl (65 nmol/l)
FREE TESTOSTERONE - 0.37 ng/dl (0.013 nmol/l)

based on these results would you still say that it would grow back because of hormonal imbalance?? or that peach fuzz will turn?

i would love to know.
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Old 05-23-2009, 05:06 PM   #5
Nyria
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Hi Miss Meldrew - I actually just responded to your post somewhere too
My hormone levels are 'normal' too - but my body and what PCOS is doing too it tells another story -- Maybe 'normal' isn't perfect?? Does that make any sense?
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Old 05-23-2009, 05:15 PM   #6
Nyria
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Hi Sunshine - can I kiss you on the lips (wait - never mind, you wouldn't like my fuzz lol) Thank you for such an amazing response I learned sooo much.

I am starting to do the diet again - I pretty much quit after I got pregnant because I didn't realize it effected other things too. I am also asking the doc about metformin this week )

THANKS =)
Nyria
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Old 05-24-2009, 12:34 AM   #7
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You're very welcome! (Hey, if I can take my DH's bristly beard, I can take anything! )

As for "normal" androgens, testosterone is only one part of it. There's Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG), what your estrogen:testosterone ratio is (especially for "thin cysters", or those who've been very thin in the past), and there's a specific type of testosterone (which I can't think of at the moment) that's more responsible for hair issues. It can also matter when in your cycle you had blood taken, especially for estrogen and progesterone.

Also, "normal" isn't really perfect, as you said! In many ways, the "normal" ranges for most tests are only meant to pick up once a disease has already progressed - they aren't meant to be used for prevention, and so are usually too wide. Also, in many cases, the "normal" ranges are set by taking blood from a large number of people who aren't showing disease symptoms and taking an average middle range. The problem occurs when 1) the people they were taking the blood from were usually people in hospital for another reason, so illness could warp the readings, and 2) some people are more sensitive and have more receptors than others, so could still have symptoms even if their levels are "normal".

A prime example is blood sugar readings. The official blood tests for diabetes show that if your blood sugar chronically rises above a certain level (100, I think, or close to it), then you have diabetes. Most family doctors will have an idea of what your blood sugar should be like, and if it's starting to rise, will tell you in passing to lose some weight or to exercise, but not put a lot of emphasis on it. In reality, as we now know with Insulin Resistance, if your blood sugar is elevated at ALL, it's cause for concern as it means that damage has already started to happen, and that your body is starting to fail to keep up with the elevated insulin demand!

So, in short, I still advocate helping the body to heal itself if at all possible, rather than just trying to override it. I think you end up with much better results that way, that are much longer lasting. It also accommodates for individual differences, too. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it! lol

If anyone is interested in what "normal" hormone ranges are supposed to be, there's a sticky on the fertility board that lists a number of them. It's called (oddly enough ) "normal hormone levels" (or something close to that).

HTH!!!
__________________
Registered Massage Therapist
2200-hour program in Canada
Focus on women's health and managing chronic health issues
www.massageforlifenb.com

Also:
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Diagnosed PCOS 1994
Cannot tolerate BCP
No treatment for 12 years
Now, Metformin 1,500 mg/day, Fish Oil, D3, good multi
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Old 05-24-2009, 05:28 AM   #8
mari
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may i give advice to everyone to just wax!!!

it is cheap, efficient and in between you can pluck the extra hairs that grow.

my beautician refused to wax though the ugly hairs under my ear all across the jaw. she said its a different story!!!!

she waxes my chin, moustache and when i cannot go i just use the wax strips.

laser hair removal is good but women with PCOS cannot rely on it because our hormone imbalances will make the hair grow back no matter what. in fact a serious person who is practising laser treatment should take a history and tell u this
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Old 05-24-2009, 08:02 AM   #9
sweetsunshine72
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Mari,

It sounds like your facial hair is not that bad, although I am sure that it is troubling to you.

Many women with hirsutism (the medical term for women who have male-pattern hair growth) grow an actual beard, similar to a man's beard that is thick, dark, and can be visible even beneath the skin. Many have tried waxing already, and are not pleased with the results for several reasons. Firstly, you have to allow the hair to grow to a certain length (about 1/4", I believe) before the wax can properly grip it. That means for many of us that you have to grow a visible beard. I saw a woman last weekend who had waxed 2 days previously, and she had "5 o'clock shadow". Most of us are not willing to deal with that if we can possibly find another way!

Also, some women's skin is very sensitive, and they get major skin irritation from waxing.

It can also become very time-consuming and expensive to go to a salon every week, and many women are self-conscious enough that they don't want to go out in public if their beard is visible, let alone to a salon where the beautician (and possibly the whole salon) not only knows about it, but is there to specifically deal with it!

Waxing at home can be challenging, too, as thick facial hair can be tougher to "rip out" than leg hair - it's more anchored. You also have to try and get spots on your face that are difficult to see, like under your chin.

There are other issues, too - like belly hair. Trying to hold a PCOS-chubby belly firm and rip off a waxed strip requires 3 or 4 hands! Not to mention inner thighs or the "apron" fold where the belly "folds" over itself right above the pubic line!

Some women spend two hours plus per day trying to manage their hair. Think of the freedom of having that time to do other things, and be more "normal"? That is the appeal of laser hair removal.

I don't believe it is a total "lost cause" for laser or electrolysis with PCOS, but you definitely need to address the underlying issues or be aware that it will probably not last!
__________________
Registered Massage Therapist
2200-hour program in Canada
Focus on women's health and managing chronic health issues
www.massageforlifenb.com

Also:
DS (1992)
Diagnosed PCOS 1994
Cannot tolerate BCP
No treatment for 12 years
Now, Metformin 1,500 mg/day, Fish Oil, D3, good multi
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Old 05-24-2009, 10:44 PM   #10
miss meldrew
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mari- thanks for your advice- but no thanks!

i have waxed since 11 years old, until the age of 24.

ok, here's the routine for waxing. make sure i have three days off, take my grown-out stashe to the bathroom, get out the hot wax/strips (NO WAY am i going to a salon- it's hard enough to mention it to my gp! let alone walking home with a red lip that only a burka could cover!), rip off my skin and half the hairs with the strip, try again as so much is left, pluck the rest out which takes 45 minutes and hurts, smear babyoil all over my upper lip, sleep and pray, wake up in the morning with a dry, red, crusty upper lip which then peels for two days. then spots and ingrown hairs develop in the pores, so i usually have at least 3 big spots there. the broken skin heals, it's day 6 and the next day i have regrowth.

i am really disheartened at the amount of people who have spoken against laser treatment with pcos. i have ALWAYS been this hairy, it only got worse at puberty which is normal. it's not like i suddenly woke up with hair everywhere! i just wish i could hear one success story from a pcos lady.

i am going to go for it anyway. i have nothing to lose. i will be a case study!

nyria- please, keep us posted on any further developments! like how many treatments it takes in the end and how much, if any, does grow back, and where? that would be wonderful.

Last edited by miss meldrew; 05-24-2009 at 10:49 PM.
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