Excess Hair and PCOS
Many women who have excessive hair growth on their face, arms, legs and body feel ashamed of the problem and continue trying to cope alone with their unwanted hair problems by various methods of hair removal. Yet this is a fairly common condition and although most women with hirsutism (excess hair) do not have hormonal disturbances, if the excess hair is accompanied by other symptoms there may be a medical cause.
One cause of excessive hair growth in women is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is linked to a whole number of symptoms such as obesity, excessive hair growth, male pattern baldness, deepening of voice, adult acne as well as menstrual and fertility problems. Doctors generally look for several symptoms to determine if you have the condition.
About 20 to 25% of women have cysts on their ovaries but only about 10% go on to develop the full-blown condition.
Excessive facial hair in the mustache and beard areas and heavier growths of hair than usual on the arms, legs and body may be due to PCOS, the reason being that high levels of insulin caused by PCOS stimulate the ovaries to produce high levels of male hormones (androgens) which then circulate in the bloodstream and have an effect on the hair follicles. At the same time the high levels of insulin lead to insulin resistance with a high probability of weight gain and potentially diabetes too.
This means that if you have a number of symptoms alongside your excess hair, for example if you are overweight despite eating healthily and taking regular exercise, your menstrual periods are irregular or you have an outbreak of acne you should see your doctor to investigate whether PCOS is an issue rather than just trying to deal with your excess hair with various hair removal methods.
Doctors can prescribe anti-androgens which cut down the rate of new hair growth and topical facial cream which reduces growth of facial hair in many women. Although you will still have to deal with the hair already growing this should help you cope with unwanted hair in future.
If you want to read more about PCOS there is a comprehensive program by Robert Boniske which is designed to deal with PCOS - you can find out about it at Be Rid Of PCOS Forever.
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