PCOS Or Could It Be Something Else?
I’m a 21 year old female who’s been fortunate enough to enjoy what even my doctors call ‘excellent health’. Except for struggling with my weight for a couple of years in middle school/high school due to a high carb diet and a sedentary lifestyle, I’ve always been in-shape and attractive. (So I’ve been told.)
With lifestyle changes and moving to image-conscious NYC, my weight has remained stably healthy and according to most people who know me, I look better than ever. Because of this, I should feel good about myself but I can’t because in recent years I’ve developed a problem that might be even worse than being fat…
I’ve noticed that some of my body and facial hair seems to be becoming progressively more prominent, stiff, and unmanageable. It started when I was about 18, and I started being bothered by a slightly fuzzy dark “happy trail” on my stomach. Not knowing any better, I did one of the stupidest things in my life (no joke) and shaved the damned thing. This turned out to be a very BAD DECISION.
Thanks to the few occasions of shaving the hair 5 years ago, I’m still dealing with the aftermath- believe it or not. Before I shaved, the hair was dark, but still soft. Now it comes in like stiff, black wires and is very prone to becoming ingrown. After I realized that shaving was no good, I decided to tweeze the thing, thinking it would resolve the irritation/stiffness. Nope! Tweezing is just as bad: it leaves pitted scars and hyper-pigmentation on my stomach from ‘digging’ for embedded hairs and they still come in stiff and nasty. I’m constantly having to pull them out by the root but it just irritates my skin more in a vicious cycle that drives me insane. :(
As for my face, I’ve always had some fine, vellus hair that I would wax or tweeze if it seemed too dark or noticeable. But the past couple of years, I’ve noticed that my chin hair is becoming stiffer too. I now have some hairs that come in like men’s stubble that I’m constantly having to tweeze and I’m always paranoid about. Luckily they’re not very noticeable to the naked eye but they still drive me crazy when I can feel them on my fingertips and make me feel so unattractive. Sometimes I get so down even cry about it. :(
This is embarrassing: My pubic hair is becoming thicker too. My bikini line now extends way farther down my thigh than it used to and I’m constantly shaving/waxing to hide this fact from my boyfriend. I’m afraid he would be so grossed out if he knew how disgusting and hairy his “hot” girlfriend really is. :(
For some reason my arm hair is still blonde and fine and my leg hair remains normal. (Thank God!)
I don’t understand why I have this problem. Besides the hair issue, I have very feminine physical characteristics. I only recently discovered on an ER visit for an unrelated issue with an IUD, that I do have an ovarian cyst, like I long suspected I did. (I asked my Dr. to check me for them once and she totally blew me off and disregarded it.)
I’m starting to wonder if this hair thing could be an indicator that I have some kind of PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) but the thing is, I don’t have any of the other symptoms. My weight is stable and manageable. I don’t have increased acne or skin tags or random hyper-pigmentation on my face, limbs etc.
As for the hair, I keep playing with the idea of laser hair removal and electrolysis and I’ll probably end up doing it in the near future, but I really want to get to the bottom of what’s causing the problem before I treat it…
Ladies (or gentleman who know some ladies), have you or anyone you known been diagnosed with PCOS and not had all the symptoms? So far my only indicator is the hair problem and the cyst on my left ovary. I’m going to make an appointment with another doctor to get to the bottom of this, but perhaps in the meantime you can share some stories, advice, knowledge etc? Thanks!
This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.