re: Facial Hair. A few years I had bought a Gaia Herbs naturopathic handbook by Richard Scalzo, and tried their herbal suggestions for allergies. Within a couple of weeks or less, I realized that all the hair on my upper lip had disappeared. The stuff I took was: Compounded Turmeric/Catechu 30-40 drops 3-4x daily between meals (4-6months) Fresh Nettles Extract 30-50 drops 3-4x daily (4-6 mo) Compounded Echinacea 30-40 drops 4x a day (The health food store got me Echinacea/Goldenseal instead since they couldn't get the other one, which I shouldn't have taken long term had I known) Licorice Root Solid Exract 1/8-1/4 tsp 2x daily for 2-4weeks (you can order this from Tahoma Clinic, search online) Compounded Bitters Elixir 1/2-1 tsp. 3x daily in a small amount of warm water before meals 4-6 mo. Compounded Psyllium Husk Powder, 1 heaping tsp. in full glass of warm water 2x daily for 3-4 mo. Compounded Vitamin C Elixir 1 tsp. 2x/day Flax oil 1 Tbls. 2x/day. Always take a break from this every seventh day, every seven week, every seventh month. It's expensive and takes time and effort, but I guess it really balances hormones. I didn't do it for the full 4-6 mo.,(my blood pressure kept dangerously dropping, probably due to the long term goldenseal) but when I get money and time I'll try it again.
I can certainly sympathize with any woman suffering from excessive hair growth, especially facial hair.
I have had this problem, unfortunately, for about 20 years. Over the years I have watched it get worse and worse. I continue to research this problem and try different remedies. I can share some of my experiences.
Laser treatments help slow and diminish the growth. But lasers only work if you have very light/white skin and dark hair. Laser treatments are also very expensive, about $100 a pop where I live.
Various forms of electrolysis are also expensive, as well as terribly painful, and did not help me in the slightest.
For maintenance I do shave. If your skin is irritated, try applying a thick yet gentle facial cleanser when you shave. Wash it off and then apply a good moisturizer such as almond oil or other natural oil...nothing that will sting or clog pores.
The main cure is to look at your hormones. Yes, too much testosterone is the cause. I have noticed when I eat too much sugar or processed carbohydrates (such as popcorn and bread) over a long period of time (even a couple weeks) my hair growth will increase. The more you can reduce your testosterone levels and balance your hormones in general, the less hair you should have.
For us girls with pcos (polycystic ovarian syndrome) losing weight is a must. It is also very difficult. I've found ACV plus lots of exercise helps me lose weight. Exercise will also help your body convert testosterone into female hormones.
What has worked for me and what didn't? I tried Saw Palmetto (supposed to lower testosterone rates in men and some women) for years with no results. I also tried progesterone creme on several occasions and each time it made me hemmorage!!!
I also tried Ted's lime/baking soda cure for calcified ovaries/pcos and found it made me itch all over and dried out my skin.
Vitex - Vitex is recommended for women who don't ovulate and therefore don't produce any progesterone to counteract estrogen. This can cause heavy bleeding. I began taking vitex and did find it lessened my bleeding. After a while I realized I was taking too much (3 capsules x day instead of 1 capsule each day). When I reduced my dosage my bleeding lessened even more. Finally, I stopped the vitex all together and the bleeding almost totally went away. This was combined with weight loss and lots of exercise.
Inositol is a form of b vitamin (B8) that is supposed to be good for women with pcos and I do believe it helps me. "This vitamin prevents hardening of the arteries and is important in the formation of lecithin. It also plays a part in the metabolism of fat and cholesterol, and removes fats from the liver. Inositol is also known to have a calming effect. It is found in Brewer?s yeast, fruits, lecithin, legumes, meats, milk, unrefined molasses, raisins, vegetables, and whole grains." according to a site where I buy supplements.
I also tried Edgar Cayce's castor oil pack remedy, but I've never been able to do it consistently. When I wasn't having a period it would help me have one. But if you are bleeding you are not supposed to use them because castor oil can increase the bleeding.
I have also tried liver flushes and just about every remedy under the sun. The hardest is lifestyle change.
There is a book out about pcos written by a woman physician who helps women with pcos. But the diet is so strict it's ridiculous. And, she recommends tons of expensive supplements that she also happens to sell. I am believing more and more in EarthClinic remedies and less and less in tons of supplements.
In the past year I've read two articles that say mint (and green) teas lower testosterone levels. The first story said men in India complained of a lessened libido (lowered testosterone) after drinking lots of mint tea. A story I read yesterday in Allure magazine's November 2007 edition said women may benefit from drinking mint tea because it lowers testosterone levels.
I've been taking BSM (black strap molasses) for a month and it took away my heavy lingering bleeding, a side effect of too much estrogen. It has helped me the most in regards to my hormones of all the remedies I have tried. I will watch to see if it lessens my hair growth and pcos symptoms.
PCOS is such a tough ailment to address and has many symptoms. I constantly have to remind myself that it involves a huge lifestyle change including LOTS of exercise, elimination of sugar and processed carbohydrates, lots of veggies and the right supplements.
I am taking ACV (apple cider vinegar) and BSM (black strap molasses) and I believe these help lessen my sugar cravings. (The more sugar/processed foods I eat, the more I crave them.) I also think green tea does help. My sugar cravings are almost non-existent these days. I have had basically zero sugar and alcohol for the past 6 weeks. If you have to have something sweet try eating a little dark chocolate, preferably following a meal.
Ted recommends drinking a large glass of water after eating sugar to lessen the effects on blood sugar and hormones.
I also eat regularly. Do not starve yourself because allowing yourself to be hungry further messes with your hormones. Eating every 3-4 hours and making good food choices will help speed up your metabolism. Find exercise that you love and do some every day.
I had fibromyalgia for 9 years and was able to heal my body from it. I have to remind myself I can heal from pcos, too. But I think it's even tougher than the fibro! It's so hard to make lifestyle changes...especially when you have a huge sweet tooth and your body is prone to manfunctioning...but you will only change when you get sick and tired enough of your problems.
Be patient with yourself and keep trying. Try only changing one or two things until you can incorporate them into your lifestyle. Fast change does not work. If you can't change your diet drastically, then at least start exercising. If all you can do is start drinking green tea with mint added then drink tea. Find something you can change and get started.
It's very hard, but I know some women have successfully shed the weight and reduced or eliminated their symptoms altogether.
Good luck. I am trying right along with you all