A young woman who has a full beard thanks to a hormonal condition has embraced her facial hair despite cruel hecklers telling her to "kill herself" - while her boyfriend says its "beautiful".

Alma Torres, 24, was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) when she was 16, which caused her to grow thick facial hair as well as other symptoms including weight gain and infertility.

After spending years hiding her condition by shaving, the photographer is now proud of her beard and is encouraging other sufferers to be confident in themselves.

Her boyfriend of five years, Taylor, 22, previously used to help her tweezer it out but revealed her facial hair doesn't affect their relationship, and he thinks it's "beautiful" as it is "natural".

Alma, from the Bronx, in New York, said: "I have been called 'ugly', others have said 'I should kill myself'. People have told me 'go wax your ugly a**' and have called me cancer.

"People usually don't make comments in front of me. Most are over the internet but I will get stares.

"I've noticed people trying to take pictures of me but I just laugh and smile. I know it's not a big deal so I'm okay with it.

"I think everybody has their own insecurities and when they don't feel good about themselves they try to hurt other people to try to make themselves feel better.

"I have helped a lot of people feel good about themselves, we need more girl power.

"Having the beard has made me such a better person. I feel more confident and I want to encourage other women with PCOS to feel the same.

"I know how other women feel and I just want them to know that I'm there for them and that you can be who you are and you can be beautiful."

Despite receiving backlash from online hecklers since growing her beard in August last year she has a loving boyfriend who supports her decision to grow her facial hair.

Alma said: "I told Taylor about my beard when we started dating. I was shaving at this point so there were times he would see me frustrated and help me tweeze it.

"When I started to grow it I looked at him and asked him, 'babe, what if I grow my beard? Would it bother you?' His answer was 'nope, it's just hair. That's normal'.

Taylor said: "I wouldn't know what to say about PCOS but I know my girlfriend has it and it's a struggle everyday but she pushes through.

"She's still beautiful to me and her beard doesn't define her. It's just hair and it doesn't have anything to do with how a person feels and should never be able to change that.

"It's what is inside that matters. It's something that's natural and there's nothing wrong with that."

Since Alma was diagnosed with PCOS she has also suffered from severe abdominal pain, ovary pain, fatigue, irregular periods as well as depression and anxiety.

Infertility is another side effect which is something that Alma and Taylor have been able to push through with their relationship and they remain hopeful that one day they will be parents.

Alma said: "The infertility is difficult but me and Taylor have spoken about it. Hopefully God will give us our miracle one day. We can't give up just yet.

Alma feels comfortable with her beard and hopes other women will too. Photo / Caters
Alma feels comfortable with her beard and hopes other women will too. Photo / Caters

"The cramping and ovary pains are super constant. I'm exhausted most of the time as well.

"Taylor is still learning about PCOS. I tell him how I'm feeling and he just gets upset because there's nothing he can do.

"My answer is always, 'I'm fine', when he asks if I'm okay."

PCOS is a condition that affects how a woman's ovaries work which can lead to hormone imbalances and can often be associated with an increased risk of health problems in the future, such as type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol levels.

Alma said: "When I was first told, I started crying and I thought it was a really bad thing. They said the word 'disease' and I thought it was really bad until I did my own research.

"About two or three years ago, I was starting to feel more confident and positive about myself. I look up to women who are body confident.

"I want to tell other PCOS sufferers that this is who you are but if you want to change it then it's fine but if you feel comfortable then don't change.

"I don't want to change. Maybe here and there I will but I'm happy with the way I am."

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