Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) as it is commonly known as, is a hormonal disorder in women which results in enlargement of ovaries with small cysts on their outer edges. One of the most common side effect of this syndrome is unwanted hair growth. Hirsutism is a common hair symptom of PCOS.
PCOS hair growth is essentially male-pattern like hair growth on a woman’s body parts. So women suffering from PCOS can experience excessive growth of dark and coarse hair on body areas like face, chin, stomach, neck, back, chest and upper lips.
How Is Hirsutism Connected To PCOS?
When you get affected with PCOS, the cells which are responsible for producing insulin become over responsive because of which excess insulin is created which in turn results in hyperinsulinemia. Because of the excess insulin produced, the ovaries tend to produce excess testosterone which is a male hormone. So the excess androgen which is basically the testosterone and other ‘male’-related hormones result in not only cysts on the ovaries but also hair just like male-pattern of hair on their body.
Must Read: How To Treat Excessive Hair Growth?
How Does PCOS Hair Growth Affect Your Life?
A woman suffering from PCOS hirsutism can go through a lot of psychological as well as social issues. The continuous efforts in getting rid of PCOS triggered excess hair growth can take a toll on both your body as well as mind. It is time consuming as well as an undue strain on your finances. It is very important to provide all the support to an individual going through this problem so that they can successfully overcome all the psychological and emotional negativities.
How To Treat PCOS Hair Growth?
There are a number of ways to stop facial hair growth due to PCOS. You can either opt for medications for PCOS hair growth or other specialized treatments as listed below.
- Androgen Receptor Blockers – These help in avoiding any contact between the androgen and the receptors because of which the androgens become ineffective.
- Androgen Suppressing Drugs – There are certain drugs such as birth control pills, GnRH agonists, insulin-sensitizing agents and corticosteroids which help in managing the amount of androgen produced by the body.
- 5 Alpha-Reductase Inhibitors – These drugs help in converting the androgens into their real forms by acting on an enzyme. Due to this control on the enzyme, the conversion of testosterone is prevented.
Medications generally take up to 6 months to show results and if they don’t, it can result in reoccurrence of your problem. Apart from medications, you can also look at the below treatment methods that are permanent
Does Laser Hair Removal Work For Someone With PCOS?
Laser hair removal is one the most advanced and effective treatment and it works especially very well on Indian skin types. In this procedure controlled beams of laser are targeted on the pigment producing melanin under the skin called chromophores. This destroys the hair follicles and prevents any further hair growth from these follicles. It works on the principal of selective photothermolysis. Where-in selective and precise targets are set by the dermatologist and due diligence is enforced while performing the procedure. This treatment must work in tandem with PCOS treatments to check the hormonal surges in the body and provide a holistic treatment for the patient. A few sessions of LHR can help alleviate the excess hair problem occurring due to PCOS and hirsutism.
- There is absolutely no side effects.
- Procedure is painless and an average session would last for 45 minutes.
- Gives you long lasting solution for unwanted hair due to PCOS condition.
- Generally preferred for facial, stomach and chin hair growth.
Will Electrolysis Work If You Have PCOS Disorder?
This is also a permanent and safe way of getting rid of the unwanted hair as the hair follicle gets permanently destroyed by electrolysis. This procedure is carried out by inserting a tiny needle into the hair follicle and then a small electric current is sent which destroys the hair follicle. Like laser treatment, you might have to attend a couple of sessions to remove all the excess hair. Some of the side effects of this method include pain, skin irritation, etc. There are a few side effects that include tenderness, redness and swelling of the treated skin which fade away in a few hours. It may also damage some sensitive skin types as controlled electric current is applied to damage the hair follicles beneath the skin. It takes a lot of time as the procedure targets small areas of skin in one session. Also it can be expensive as compared with LHR.
How To Manage Facial Hair From PCOS?
The following methods will help you groom and manage excessive facial hair:
- Hair Removal Creams: For excess hair growth on face, chin and stomach area, one can use hair removal creams or depilatory creams, which are painless and cost-effective. One side effect associated with this method is that chemicals in the product can lead to skin irritation. They must not be used often as they damage the skin. Also it is recommended to do a patch test before using these products.
- Shaving: It has been observed that shaving is great for removing hair from stomach but it’s not suitable removing facial hair. It may cause certain side effects like razor burns, injuries, skin infections and wounds. It is also a short term procedure as results do not last longer than a week
- Waxing: Waxing can be done for unwanted hair removal from various body parts except facial hair and ingrown hair. However, it is a painful and time consuming method and provides hair-free skin for only about 3-4 weeks. Hot wax may cause damage to the skin if precision is not administered
Tips To Manage PCOS Hair Growth
One of the best ways to manage PCOS hair growth condition is to pay attention to what you eat. Your diet can be effective in reversing the insulin resistance as well as hormonal changes; both of which are the primary causes of excessive hair growth. Some of the changes that you would need to make in your daily diet are –
- Include lean proteins, vegetables and fruits which are rich in fibre
- Reduce the intake of dairy products
- Include probiotics which are gut-friendly
- Remove all food items which are processed or refined
- Include healthy fats such as ghee, coconut oil, fatty fish, extra-virgin olive oil, avocadoes, seeds, nuts, etc.
It is absolutely important to identify if you are suffering from PCOS hirsutism in the initial stages itself, so that the right care and treatment can be administered before your condition worsens. Treatments like laser hair removal are one of the most effective ones, when it comes to permanent removal of the unwanted hair from various body parts. Visit an expert dermatologist for more insights.