June 22, 2011

6 Months on Spiro with Alesse

So here we are, 6 months on Alesse and 5 more uninterrupted months on 200 mg of Spironolactone. I've been trying various medications with my endocrinologist for over a year and a half now.

A quick recap: 100 mg of Spiro was an improvement. 200 mg was better. 5 mg Finasteride did not work, as the progress I'd made visually began to reverse. Nothing changed the hair on my face enough to improve my quality of life.

So why did the endo recommend adding an oral contraceptive to what was already sorta working? Lowering the amount of androgens in your system in addition to blocking them from reaching the receptors that cause the dark hair to grow (what we've already been doing) might work even better.

And what do I think? It's working just a little better than anything else so far, though the hair on my face still needs to be shaved every day. But I can shave my chest and not have to do it again for two or three days. I can pluck that hair and go a little longer without hair removal (though the hairs in my cleavage are not usually strong enough to seize with tweezers). Acne has once again been visibly reduced on my face, chest and back.

The Alesse has made my cycles more predictable, though I still get mid-cycle spotting. I waited for this to dissipate for longer than three months, thinking that it was because of the Spiro, or because of stress and travel, which usually caused me to forget a pill or two now and then. But after six months, I think it's pretty obvious Alesse is not going to control my spotting when my cycle is under the influence of Spiro. That's probably because I don't think there's a lot of estrogen in this pill.

I should also note that I don't think I had an allergic reaction to the Alesse in the first month after all. The rash has come back twice since then, always at different times of the cycle, including the placebo week.  (EDIT:  It also returned once when I was off the Alesse.)

I have read that the progestin in Alesse is androgenic (and woman with hirsutism probably want a pill with non-androgenic progestins since they don't want more hormones in their body that behave like testosterone). Between that fact and feeling like I'm bleeding for half of every month, I am considering asking for a different birth control pill.

With my next endo visit looming, I'm agonizing over my next step. The other choice the endo might present to me again is switching from Spiro to Cyproterone Acetate. I'm trying to ignore the fact that the name fills me with irrational fear. From my research, it seems to be tolerated well by most women, and has been used to treat androgen sensitivity symptoms for longer than Spiro. But it is reported to work only as well as Spiro, so really I'd only be trying it on the off-chance that it works better in my own body than the Spiro, and I'm at the point where I feel like this is the best it's ever going to get. I'm tired of being frightened new medications. Frankly, I'm kind of tired of medications in general.

I am tempted to just stick with what I'm doing and try laser hair removal again, and see how long the effects last. I know they won't be permanent, but I'm ready to spend a butt-load of money for a few months where I don't have to shave my face, I think.

But enough about what I think. Here again are some pictures of the progress of the various medications. The most dramatic (and easily photographable) difference is, as always, my stomach:

Left to right: Before any medication; 6 months on Spiro (100mg); 4 months on Spiro (200mg); 2.5 months on Finasteride; 6 months on Alesse and Spiro (200mg). The three at the bottom are just close-ups of the hair, which you can kinda see get coarser and darker on the Finasteride again.

Actually, Alesse with 200mg of Spiro looks about the same as 200mg of Spiro on its own. Hm.

Remember, every woman is different and will have different degrees of success. This is just mine.

...Oooh, I don't feel ready to my appointment. I'm going to be as nervous as ever

June 16, 2011


No update this week. I am working through some emotional highs and lows right now, and I'm so busy I haven't had a chance to really spend time thinking on them. In fact, this is the first time I've been home all week. It's hard to concentrate on talking about hirsutism when I can't even concentrate on even more personal matters. But it's not all bad stuff, and I'll probably be back next week to contemplate some Important Things before my next endo appointment.

Love to you all!

June 10, 2011

Product: Kiss My Face Moisture Shave

Kiss My Face presents an image that is environmentally conscious, anti-animal testing and uses natural ingredients. In addition, I like that the products are really unisex. Some stores put the moisture shaves with the women's foams and waxes, and some stores put them with the men's stuff. But they don't look either masculine or feminine, so if you're self conscious about putting a product for guys in your cart like I am, this is a great feature. I have seen some hirsute women recommending this one, so I felt it was time to check it out.

Kiss My Face Moisture Shave, Fragrance Free- 118 mL


  • Aqua, potassium myristate (derived from vegetable oils), sodium myristate (derived from vegetable oils), propylene glycol, TEA stearate, cocos nucifera (coconut oil), olea europaea (olive oil), aloe barbadensis, retinol, ergocalciferol, tocopherol acetate (vitamin E), lecithin, citrus aurantifolia (lime), alchemilla vulgaris (Lady's Mantle), saponaria officinalis L (Soapwort), mentha piperita (peppermint), equisetum arvense (Horsetail), nasturtium officinale (Watercress), cymbopogon schoenanthus (Lemongrass), salvia officinalis (Sage), hydrastis canadensis (Goldenseal), citrus dulcis (Orange Flower), arnica montana, hydroxyethylcellulose (plant source), methylparaben, propylparaben, sodium benzoate.

Things I liked:
  • Obviously, it's a gel. You can see where you're shaving, and it feels luxurious.
  • It doesn't smell at all perfumey or chemically. It's a lovely non-smell smell.
  • For people who like a bit of lather, you can get some suds from this one.

Things I didn't like:
  • It stings on freshly shaved skin. Not nearly as much as BikiniZone, but still, that can't be good. When you look at the ingredients, you can see why it might. Some of this stuff has astringent properties for acne, but personally I don't like anything stinging on my already abused face.

Did it do what it promised?
"Emollient and moisturizing" it was, to the point that it makes it one of my favorite gels so far. A shaving oil would still feel more moisturizing of course. "Astringent," yes, I felt that. Not my favorite feature. It didn't make a difference in my spots, but mostly that's because my spots are not caused by acne in the shaved areas--they're caused by ingrown hairs and nicks. "Styptic" (which means, it helps stop bleeding) I didn't really notice, but I think that's a cool feature to advertise in a shave gel.

This product has a lot of neat plant ingredients that all have benefits. But the important aspects for me were that it felt nice to shave with, and the stinging worried me inasmuch as astringents can dry out your skin. I would probably use it again, if it was on sale.

See what other people thought of Kiss My Face Moisture Shave:

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