Advice from my fellow 'Cyber-Cysters' (PCOS) - testosterone-increasing foods...
Good morning ladies from a misty, autumnal, SE Blighty!
Didn't know where to put this; was going to put it in 'Odds & Sods', but thought it better here as it's about food...
Over the last couple of days, I've noted that my face has become increasingly hairier again (don't need a mirror - I know when it's bad because it itches like hell!)
Now, I know that soy is a big 'no-no' for many of us who suffer and, indeed, when I quit the Alpro, my facial hair in particular decreased markedly (I used to have to half-inch Dad's Remington at least twice a week to keep it under control - it's actually better than shaving with a wet razor, it doesn't seem to affect my - extremely sensitive - skin). I stopped drinking soy back at the beginning of July or so, and for those 3 months, I didn't need to use it once (I know I must have been less hirsute because I wasn't getting the verbals from the gangs of Year 10 & 11 morons who hang around the common feeling clever because they've managed to persuade an older brother to go down the offie and get 'em some cheap lagers. It's always the lads who're the worst - I only get trouble from girls if they're hanging around with the boys).
Anyway, there's a local foodie fayre in town today and, obviously, I want to go and see what's what. This means I'm gonna have to nick the shaver again when they've gone to get the papers, but I was thinking there must be a reason I've become hairy again, so I was thinking about the staples of my diet. If I think about it, it boils down to the following: -
Fish (smoked mackerel, tinned tuna and sardines (in EV olive oil)). The reason my protein is mainly fish is because, frankly, it's dead cheap (and I'm on welfare) and it's easy to store when storage space is at a premium (to all intents and purposes I don't have access to a freezer because it's chockablock with beans and redcurrants). Most cuts of meat, even that sold as 'value' or 'basics', is surprisingly expensive (very much more so than it is in the US). I do, however eat some bacon and ham (but limit it because the decent stuff (i.e. that without added water, or sugars) is about £4 for 6 or 8 rashers. Ham I get from the local indie supermarket straight off the bone (no preservatives, and hardly any salt (it doesn't taste salty at least - and I have a very sensitive palate when it comes to salt)
Eggs - these are my 'go to' when I can't be arsed to cook anything properly. 3 or 4 eggs, chucked in a pan with some butter and a slug of heavy cream and scrambled. I sometimes chuck in a tin of sardines too - and that's a quick lunch with a large salad.
Dairy: - I'm attempting to cut back on this, but I'm finding it impossibly hard. I have cream (all kinds apart from clotted) creme fraiche (half-fat because it's more readily available than the full-fat) cheese (mainly feta, mozzarella and parmesan) and, of course Greek yoghurt (Fage is my preference, because I love the texture, but it's not cheap)
I eat lots of leafy greens (raw, not cooked) and I can get through a bag of spinach a day. I also have rocket, watercress, chard, baby beetroot leaves, all kinds of lettuce, that kind of thing. I also eat a lot of (bell) peppers, cucumber and spring (salad) onions.
My fruit is mainly berries and the occasional apple.
Treats are (very) dark chocolate (the darker the better!) 100% cacao powder (mixed with the yoghurt and cream I have on my berries) and I used to eat nuts, but have stopped because I was finding I simply couldn't limit myself to just a handful at a time. I did have guacamole, but I'm going to have a bash at making my own, because I didn't think to look at the ingredients until last night - and I was HORRIFIED!! All sorts of nasties: - canola oil, rice starch and sugar being the main ones. Tzatziki's something else I love, but that's fine (yoghurt, cucumber, mint, black pepper and garlic puree - and that's all, folks!)
And that honestly is it (apart from the flavoured liquid stevia, but I can't see that being a problem - can you...?)
Can anyone see anything in the above which could have caused this sudden 'outbreak' of facial hairiness? It really does upset me - how can I feel like a woman when I've got a beard...? I don't care about my legs because I keep them covered at all times but, unless I start wearing the hijab, there's b*gger all I can do to hide my face!
Or maybe it's something I'm taking (my supplement list is in my journal)
Thank you for any help,
La tristesse durera toujours...
Nothing that I see is jumping out at me; especially if nothing in your diet has changed recently.
Which makes me wonder about environmental stuff. Do you take vitamin D? It's definitely become autumn and I've not seen the sun for a while now; vitamin D is also linked with PCOS quite strongly.
Are you drinking any more or less of tea, coffee, fizzy pop, water....??
This may be too personal, but do you have monthly (or yearly?) cycles and could that timing be coming into play?
Well I have known I have had PCOS since I was 17 and now I am 36 and I can tell you that there is no rhyme or reason to these freaking symptoms, other than hormonal phases. I go through seasons of this as well, sometimes the hair is bad and others not so bad. I pluck, pluck, pluck it out. Mine are mainly on my chin. I don't get the acne really at all but I definitely get the little pooch of a belly when it starts acting up. I often contemplated getting the no-no, I don't know if you get that infomercial but I am sure if you google it you could find it, but I don't know if it will really help. My obgyn told me that there is no way to really stop the crazy hair growth even if you go for those meds to try to regulate the hair it is only temporary and it doesn't last long term, neither does laser surgery, it will just grow back in different follicles. I am sorry I wasn't much help.
When you have PCOS the foods themselves don't usually directly cause testosterone to increase. Instead some foods cause insulin to rise which then causes the ovaries to put out more testosterone.
Yes, those tricky hairs do come and go sometimes without rhyme or reason. It might not be a food choice.
However: dairy foods cause a higher rise in insulin than their carb and protein content would predict. The dairy might be causing your insulin to creep up too high thus causing extra testosterone production. I know you love dairy, Sarah. I love it like crazy. I also know it affects me badly, so I just can't have it very often. I have it on holidays and special occasions.
If you ever do decide to ditch the dairy you may experience huge dairy cravings for a week or two. After that, they just go away.
I'm fighting the dairy as well. I give it up over and over. I'm finally settling for just having a little less of it, which only happens when I plan meals ahead of time. It's far too easy to wait till I'm very hungry and then reach for the cheese.
Back before menopause, dairy would worsen my acne, even just butter. Also peanut butter. I had to be very clean with the oils, and it would get better.
I just read up about uric acid as being the cause of metabolic syndrome, and therefore of PCOS. Uric acid comes from several places ... mostly fructose, but also purines. So, getting rid of sugar helps the most, and going easy on the most fructose-filled of the fruits, but you can be blindsided by the purines. For instance, the notorious beer belly happens because beer has a lot of a particular purine, so it gives people metabolic syndrome and belly fat. Unfortunately, organ meats like liver or heart and also shellfish, lobster, herrings, and sardines are high in purines as well.
Seems unfair, some days ...
Cherries help with uric acid, as gout victims know. So they might help with PCOS as well, indirectly. Sugar free, of course. I can get pie cherries canned in water here, though they aren't cheap. They are my treat.
Another thing I didn't want to admit, but which I am coming to realize is that while saturated fat is wholesome and has a place in the diet, when one is fat and trying to lose, if you eat more than a certain modest amount of it, it will stop your progress dead in its tracks. (Don't ask me how I know ...)
So, now I do cook my eggs in butter, but it's a thin pat, not a great hunk. <sigh>
I tried a poor low-carb diet for eight months, very slowly scraping off a few pounds, but losing muscle and cartilage at the same time. <groan> Sad to say, one of my staples on that diet was cocoa powder mixed in sour cream. I think it was sabotaging my efforts, though it was certainly a comfort food.
I can say this --- after menopause, most of this misery eases a lot. But I wish I'd fixed the insulin resistance instead, years earlier.
I don't know much about why it might be increasing, other than insulin involvement, but I have read in several places that drinking spearmint tea can help to lessen the hair growth and reduce testosterone levels:
I was told by my laser lady that plucking the chin hairs actually stimulates more hair growth (she said this is true only for hormonally-driven hair growth, so it plucking eyebrows doesn't increase hair growth):
"The common response is to control the problem by plucking with tweezers or with some gadget or contraption that tweezes automatically. The problem with that, however, is that plucking actually can stimulate the hair follicle into an active growth (anagen) phase in which hair growth is quicker and thicker."
Electrolysis is the best solution
Hazyjane, two good pieces of information! I hadn't known that about spearmint tea. Do you know if peppermint tea does the same thing?
The fun part of this is that if you have access to any ground at all, you can grow the mint -- it grows like a weed -- and therefore have fresh mint for tea whenever you like, at nearly zero expense.
I didn't have a lot of beard (thank heavens) but enough big dark hairs that it was embarrassing. I went to an electrologist, and she warned me that pulling them out made them grow in thicker. She said I could just clip them off. After a number of sessions, she got rid of just about all of them. I didn't have new ones grow in from other follicles, by the way. She did a very good job. The big ones hurt, and there would be some inflammation where they were for a day or two, but it was definitely worth it, and it was permanent. I should have done it years before.
I'm not sure if peppermint works the same as spearmint. One person on the Earth Clinic website said the peppermint helped them, but there is more research and feedback on spearmint. I like that it's such an inexpensive (and pleasant) thing to use!
Originally Posted by piano-doctor-lady
Good to know that the electrolysis worked so well. I did a few rounds of laser and my lady suggested finishing off with electrolysis.
if your hormones aren't stable the hair will grow back with laser
i've only ever heard of peppermint tea helping with upset stomach
my hairs slow/stop growing when i stay away from sugar and grains, too many carbs (no matter the source) will make the hairs come back. violet made a goodbye thread but she'll probably be back to read so this is my advice; if you 'can't stay away from it', and it isn't meat or vegetables, then 9 times out of ten it has too many carbs. cut those treats out of the diet. you're gonna crave them, you're gonna want them, that's normal. think of it as your body having a tantrum and ignore it
when you think you can handle sweet things again, have your favorites in small amounts and find new ways to make old favorites. stevia is fine, i use truvia. last night after a diet soda i wanted to eat sweets, shouldn't do that (obviously) so i made the chocolate avocado pudding recipe i saw here. it was good, it worked
TRACK WHAT YOU EAT. sparkpeople, fitday, whatever else there is to keep track of your daily intake of carbs
Just wanted to say I have PCOS as well, and have found that the last step for me to get rid of symptoms was to eliminate dairy :/. I have done it for 2 months about a year ago and then started eating it again because I lost the will to keep doing it I guess. Now I have been on my second attempt at dairy free for the past 2 weeks and I have already noticed changes. My weight has noticeably gone down even though i am eating LOTS of animal fats, and other protein sources, and pain has gone down a lot also. I know dairy is a grey area, but for some people, It seems like it can make a huge difference. I also have read that dairy proteins in cheese and other products cause especially large insulin surges for some, which may be something to consider.
Last edited by jonnasaays; 10-03-2010 at 05:50 PM.