i also have pcos, since before my teens, i got diagnosed 2 years ago.
symptoms- irregular periods, excessive hair growth, acne, moodswings! normal weight.
- some birth control pills containing cypretone acetate, like dianette, are said to help slow hair growth. your endo might offer to combine it with extra cypretone acetate to make it more effective. i was on it for a year, it didnt reduce growth but slowed it a little (barely noticeable). it is also prescribed for acne, and of course regulating periods. it made my acne turn cystic, in one month 28 huge welts appeared on my face, not to mention my chest and back (never a problem there before), and made me bleed every day (with maybe 4 days off in total- no joke). so much for putting your hormones in balance!
as soon as you stop the pill, the hair will return to its previous state/rate. for me it was not worth it AT ALL. i now use a cervical cap (diaphragm), after having years of getting the pill thrown at me instead of diagnosing me with pcos. you have to get to the root of pcos and deal with it, not try to mask the symptoms, a common mistake many endos/gynos/gps make.
the pill can actually make your symptoms worse (as i have just written)-there is a strong correlation between insulin resistance and pcos. the pill is said to INCREASE insulin resistance over time- the condition which is commonly regarded as causing pcos- thus not being a very good solution, rather the opposite. i believe this is what years of bcp has done to my condition.
spironolactone is also said to slow growth WHILE you are taking it- but its not very good for your body long-term and the results might not be as dramatic as you would want, to warrant taking it. i was told not to waste my time.
- not everybody has to take meds for the rest of their lives. if i didnt want children, the endo said she couldnt help me, other than going on the pill (durr). that it wasnt harmful to have 2 periods a year. i on the other hand was feeling very low and exhausted after bleeding for 3 years solid on bcp, depressed because of mood swings and excessive hair and no libido anymore, and wanted to get my body back in balance.
i asked for metformin- the drug prescribed to many diabetics- which reduces insulin resistance. the first endo wouldnt give it to me unless i wanted kids, the second let me try it. if you dont know about metformin, insulin resistance and pcos, please google it now- it WORKS. your blood sugar level results might be normal, but you can still be suffering from insulin resistance (with pcos you probably are) and would probably still benefit from metformin.
i have been on the stuff for 2 years now, and it brought my periods on time like never before (almost like clockwork, i had never ever experienced that), and they were less heavy/horrible. also my mind feels a lot clearer on them and i am less highly strung. my skin is better too.
as i had been on them for 20 months i decided to try stop them gradually. i barely took them for 4 months and in that time ive had just one period, my acne has worsened and im somewhat more hairy- dont quote me on that- it could be down to laser, hormones- or age- but to me its obvious that when i dont take it, my hormones get out of whack again and my symptoms flare up like before.
so for me, i would say, i probably have to take them for a really long time, if not forever. but some people just need them to kickstart everything- and then they are ok. like women who are trying to get preg or just want a regular cycle, they take it for a few months and when everything gets to how it should be, some of them can stop it. you shouldnt take met while you are preg anyway.
there are also those pills, i forget the name, that you take for a week to induce a period. then the next month you can take another course, until your body starts menstruating normally (everybody-else-normal that is). that didnt work for me though.
so basically, if you dont want regular periods and thus regulated hormones controlling many aspects of your wellbeing, you dont have to take any meds.
if you wanna take dianette bcp/ cypretone acetate/spironolactone to help slow hair growth, then you might have to take that forever if you dont want that hair to return to its previous rate of growth, and indeed spiro is said to help hinder new hair growing in, i dunno if that is the case. taking bcp for the long haul is detrimental to your health, and might not be worth it, as its not too effective. in the netherlands, womens health associations are trying to get women off dianette, and trying to get it pulled from the market, let that speak in volumes.
3)my pcos peaked at 25 when i was on dianette/ the injection/ microgynon bc. my face is getting somewhat hairier (it had been the same since i was about 13) but that could be down to many things as i mentioned above. its different for everyone, im waiting to pass the 30-mark and then see where i stand. they say your hormones go wild at the menopause, which even for non-pcos women can result in a goatee.
so… the best thing to do is try and treat the cause, try bring your hormones into balance. do you have your bloodwork results? could you post them up here? mine were normal- well, too low testosterone, and an elevated lh. if your lh is way over your fsh, theres your problem.
also, note any reputable company will NOT let you get electrolysis/laser IF you are taking dianette/ cypretone acetate/spiro / etc- as it hinders the process. you are suppressing the hairs that could be getting zapped, and when you stop taking them, you have to go and get all that hair done too. one or the other, i would say, otherwise you are wasting your time, money and discomfort. and i would choose electrolysis. that said, its hard for me to say as i am not having much new growth, which seems not to be your case.
on top of googling insulin resistance and metformin, check out the low glycemic diet, or the low glycemic index list of foods. eating a diabetic diet can help improve our condition (even if we are of normal weight), as can 30 mins of excercise a day.
ok lecture over! feel free to pm me.
i recommend the book , pcos- a womans guide… http://www.amazon.com/PCOS-Womans-Dealing-Polycystic-Syndrome/dp/0722539754