Will losing weight help to reduce the amount of excess hair you're growing due to your PCOS?
Excess facial and body hair in PCOS is usually the result of excess androgens in your body. Androgens are male sex hormones, such as testosterone, that are present in both men and women, but men naturally have much higher levels than women
In women, androgens are produced by;
1) Primarily by the ovaries, caused by high insulin levels
2) Secondly, the adrenal glands, caused by chronic stress levels
3) Lastly, adipose (fat) tissue, if you are overweight or obese.
If your PCOS is causing high levels of androgens in your system, you are likely to experience other androgen excess symptoms, such as;
- Hair growth (face, chest, tummy, back)
- Hair thinning or loss on the scalp
- Menstrual cycle irregularities & fertility issues
There are a few reasons why you're often told that losing weight will help reduce unwanted hair growth, including;
- Holding excess body weight can exacerbate your hormonal imbalances that are the cause of the symptoms you're experiencing, making them worse.
- Studies show that being overweight makes insulin resistance worse. IR leads to high insulin levels which trigger the ovaries to over-produce androgens. Studies have also found that losing weight helps improve insulin resistance (the main driver of ovarian androgen production).
- Generally speaking, to lose weight you will likely be following a healthy lifestyle (diet, exercise etc). These lifestyle behaviors help to improve your hormonal imbalances.
- Being overweight is metabolically stressful to the body, driving chronic stress, and therefore, excess adrenal androgen production.
So, yes, losing weight *should* help to control excess hair growth as it *should* help to balance the hormonal imbalances driven the hair growth in the first place.
I say *should* because every woman is different, every woman's PCOS is different so there's just no blanket answer. Also, the way some women lose weight (going extreme) is actually extremely stressful to the body and can make your PCOS symptoms worse both short and long-term.
Wrapping up, losing weight should help but, it should not be your only focus to control excess hair growth. You need to focus on
- Lowering body fat levels, not overall weight exactly
- Reducing any insulin resistance
- Managing stress levels (physical & emotional)
- Getting quality sleep
- Taking the right supplements
About The Author
Drew Baird is a qualified Personal Trainer, PCOS expert, who also has qualifications in sports nutrition and psychology. Drew takes a scientific approach to PCOS by combining the latest clinical research with empirical evidence from working with his PCOS clients. He is the owner of Drew Baird Fitness and Healthy PCOS.
Other Articles You May Enjoy
For such a complex condition that is PCOS, it’s hard to believe that women are left to their own devices after the initial diagnosis. For example, about every 12 minutes...
Excess facial and body hair in PCOS is usually the result of excess androgens in your body. Androgens are male sex hormones, such as testosterone, that are present in both...
Fatigue, tiredness, and exhaustion are common symptoms of PCOS. What’s even worse than constantly feeling tired is when you’re tired of constantly feeling tired. So, what’s the course of fatigue...
PCOS is bloody confusing and it gets even more confusing when you see that there are individual types or variations of PCOS. Let’s have a look at the four types of PCOS.
“You should lose weight for your PCOS” is by far the single most common piece of advice given to women with PCOS. Unfortunately, it’s never followed up with “and here’s...
Exercise is one of those behaviors that can have a hugely positive influence on your PCOS. So, what are the most beneficial exercise types for PCOS?
70% of women with PCOS will have a varying degree of insulin resistance. A condition where the cells of your body no longer respond to the hormone, insulin, as normal. Insulin...
Supplements are part of the 5 Seeds PCOS lifestyle framework for taking control of your PCOS. Being smart with your supplementation will help you to control PCOS symptoms such as weight...
To understand why women with PCOS can often lack motivation we must first understand what motivation actually is. Motivation is the feeling of wanting something (moving towards) or, wanting to avoid...
One of the most unwanted and uncomfortable symptoms of PCOS is hirsutism or excess hair growth. Here's how to reduce hair growth in PCOS.
Women with PCOS are about 3 times more likely to experience depression and anxiety than women without PCOS. Approximately 34% of women with PCOS have depression compared to 7% of...
Women with PCOS are 19x more likely to have a magnesium deficiency compared to women without PCOS. Low magnesium levels are associated with insulin resistance, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke,...
It would be easy to view PCOS as simply a condition of the ovaries that negatively impacts fertility but, if you’ve been reading any of my Facebook content you know...