Body Odor and PCOS?

Although Body Odor is not defined as a specific symptom of PCOS, I have met many women with PCOS who deal with it regularly.  I do as well and it is beyond the normal adult body odor control.

As many women with PCOS, I try as often as possible to use natural and holistic products and this includes deodorant.  Additionally, my grandmother has a severe case of Alzheimer’s and my Aunt died of breast cancer at only 32, so I have always tried to use a natural, aluminum free/nonantiperspirant deodorant whenever possible.  Unfortunately, a lot of the natural deodorants on the market are not very effective, especially if you have PCOS.

I have tried many different deodorants, for awhile the best one was the Body Crystal, but unfortunately once the summer hit and I was outside all day it was much less effective.  I switched to Nature’s Gate, which also became ineffective after an hour or two.  Tom’s of Maine was a joke (both the liquid crystal and the regular stick) and seemed to simply “mask” smells rather than prevent them and only did so for about 30 minutes.  For a month or two I switched to Axe (go ahead, laugh) Fresh Twist, which had this weird citrus smell.  It wasn’t too manly and it worked better than the others, but it still isn’t natural and eventually I broke out from it (nothing more attractive than raw underarms!).

About three weeks ago I gave this deodorant a whirl,  It’s the Earth Science Liken Deodorant stick, and it smells nice and is really effective.  This deodorant works just as well as any of the antiperspirants at the drugstore, but it is better because it allows you to sweat so you don’t have embarrassing sweat coming from, erm, other areas like you do with an antiperspirant. It also has a really nice gentle smell OR an unscented stick.

What about you ladies?  Do any of you suffer from harder to control body odor too, or am I one of the few and the proud? What have you found helps?  Did you change your diet?  If you went on the pill to treat PCOS, did you notice a difference?

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What is PCOS?

Chances are you have stumbled across this blog because you are searching for information about PCOS, or, to call it by its proper name, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

Basically, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a hormonal imbalance.  There are theories, but no one is completely sure what causes it.  Your body makes too much androgen, a male hormone, and reacts to it in ways that are less than ideal. It is described as “polycystic ovary” because many women who have this condition have cysts on their ovaries.  This is caused when the ovarian follicle (aka an oocyte or immature egg) is released but does not mature.

I first remember reading about PCOS in an article in Time Magazine before I had even started menstruating.  As most media outlets do, the magazine made PCOS sound like some sort of Frankenstein disease.  The main symptoms discussed were excess facial hair, acne, body odor, obesity and a generally masculine appearance. The magazine made it sound like PCOS turns you into gorilla.  My ten-year-old brain pictured something that belongs in a zoo, and incidentally something that looks like no one I have ever met or seen. I know a great deal of women with PCOS, and I have yet to meet one who looks like a gorilla, which leads me to believe that PCOS has not done this to ANYONE. It is simply not true, and such discussions of PCOS not only deter women from getting tested, but it completely neglects the actual problem with PCOS which is a hormonal imbalance.  Oh, and it makes women who do have PCOS feel like complete sh*t. Even if a woman has a severe case of every symptom listed, she is not going to look like a monster. EVER.  Sensationalizing the disorder is not helping awareness and makes women with PCOS feel like outcasts.

So that’s why five years ago when my doctor suggested I get tested for PCOS due to erratic periods I freaked out and refused it.  I am not a gorilla! And then I realized…no one is, except gorillas.

Eventually I was diagnosed (and then diagnosed again after a fluke pregnancy! more on that later..) when my doctor found 11 cysts during a sonogram.  For the past three years I have done a variety of things not only to help regulate my hormone levels, but also to control the symptoms.  This blog is about living with PCOS, but it’s also about being your own advocate.  Do not let medical literature make you feel like less of a woman, you are not.  Our world is filled with things that affect our physiological health every day, you have not done anything wrong.  And lastly, while there is certainly doom and gloom attached to PCOS literature for a reason, with some effort on your part, you can live a wonderful and fruitful life, a life that almost identically resembles the life you would have led without this problem.

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