HIRSUTISM AND PCOS
Hirsutism is a health condition in which unwanted, male-pattern hair growth occurs in women. Hirsutism results in excessive amounts of dark, course hair on body areas where men typically grow hair — face, chest and back. Hirsutism can arise from excess male hormones called androgens, primarily testosterone. It can also be due to a family trait.
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormonal condition common among women of reproductive age. PCOS causes infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods or excess male hormone (androgen) levels. In this condition ovaries develop numerous small collections of fluid (follicles) and fail to regularly release eggs.
Your body depends on signals from your pituitary gland to produce the right amounts of oestrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. PCOS disrupts these signals.
Without the right signals from the pituitary gland, your oestrogen and progesterone levels drop, and your testosterone levels increase.
This can prevent ovulation and lead to symptoms like:
- Irregular menstruation
- weight gain or difficulty losing weight
TREATMENT FOR HIRSUTISM DUE TO PCOS
The hirsutism of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and idiopathic hirsutism are treated in similar ways. The treatment of PCOS may also involve lifestyle changes including weight loss, treatment of infertility, diabetes, and risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Hair removal: Several methods can be used to physically remove or lighten excess hair so that it less noticeable. These methods can be used in conjunction with medication. But women with hirsutism who are trying to become pregnant or are already pregnant cannot take medications for hirsutism. Pregnant women should ask their health care provider about the safety of the various mechanical and chemical treatment methods during pregnancy.
Electrolysis and laser are both permanent hair reduction techniques. But for women with PCOS, hair will grow back after either treatment, unless medication to suppress hair growth is also taken (a birth control pill or antiandrogen).
- Shaving: It is a safe and effective method for hair removal but may require daily sessions.
- Chemical hair removal, waxing, and bleaching: Hair removal agents and wax can be used to remove hair, and bleaches can be used to lighten hair. Depilatories or bleaches may cause skin sensitivity in some women, so be certain to follow the directions for patch testing.
- Electrolysis: It damages individual hair follicles by inserting a very fine needle into the hair follicle and applying an electrical current. The treatment is safe and effective, but it can be painful and is often expensive. To find a qualified electrologist, inquire regarding the individual’s training, experience, and licensing.
- Laser hair removal: Although expensive, laser hair removal is effective, faster, and less painful than electrolysis. Laser can often permanently reduce hair growth, particularly in those who are fair-skinned with dark hair. Most people require four to six treatments approximately four to six weeks apart in order to achieve satisfactory hair removal, and maintenance treatments may be needed once every six to twelve months to remove the smaller fine hairs that grow back.
- Creams: Eflornithine hydrochloride is a skin cream that can be used to slow the growth of unwanted facial hair in women. It does not remove hair permanently. Eflornithine cream may cause skin to redden. Prior to applying the cream over a larger area of the face, applying the cream to a small area of skin can test for this side effect.
Weight loss: loss of weight in overweight women can decrease levels of androgens and lessen hirsutism.
Medications: Several medications are available for the treatment of hirsutism.
- Birth control pills: Birth control pills lower the levels of androgens. They are usually the first choice for the treatment of hirsutism, and between 60 and 100 percent of women with hirsutism will notice improvement when taking these medications. Birth control pills can also help establish regular menstrual cycles in women who have irregular cycles or who do not menstruate at all.
- Antiandrogens: They are medications that directly decrease androgen production or block the action of androgens on the hair follicle.
•The most commonly used antiandrogen is spironolactone. Spironolactone may be recommended, in addition to the birth control pill, if excess hair growth does not improve adequately after taking a birth control pill for six months.
You can also read our blog on Treatments for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS):-
You can check our blog on How to treat pcos with flaxseed:-
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