Monday, August 31, 2009

What you should know about Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Dark facial and body hair is a big-time problem for a lot of South Asian women. The obsession with 'threading' every part of our body is a testimony to how much we abhor it. It's especially a problem for the fairer-skinned since black hair or dark brown hair on an olive complexion stands out way too much.

But if you've been noticing that your hair has been growing back faster and thicker, there might a reason for it; polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is a fairly common condition in which you have cysts (fluid-filled sacs) in your ovaries which can cause hormonal imbalance or you might simply have an excess of androgens which causes thick and dark unwanted facial and body hair.

What causes PCOS? Experts can't seem to agree but some say it's genetics--but it's still largely unexplained and what's more frustrating is that there doesn't seem to be a cause. PCOS's symptoms can cause emotional trauma because of it's link to adult acne, severe hair loss, unwanted facial and body hair and weight gain (especially around the middle). PCOS is also a leading cause of infertility and can lead to diabetes, ovarian cancer, high blood pressure, and other heart conditions.

Dealing with PCOS isn't easy; I would know, I was diagnosed with it last year. I've had thick hair my entire life and a very even complexion with no signs of acne until the last 2-3 years. I didn't understand why I was gaining weight rapidly, losing my hair, breaking out on my face and growing hair in weird places until I was diagnosed with PCOS.

Get checked out by a gynecologist who will probably refer you to an endocrinologist if you have one or more of the following symptoms;

- severely thinning hair
- adult acne
- hair growth in new places such as your chest, upper arms, back, stomach, etc.
- stubborn, dark facial hair that grows back thick
- trouble conceiving
- rapid weight gain, especially around the middle
- thich patches of skin around the neck or knee

There are many ways to regulate PCOS. Some major treatments experts suggest include;

- eating healthy and exercising to maintain your weight helps keep your hormones balanced and can help with the symptoms. Experts say that losing even 5% of your body weight can help.
- fertility treatments
- Laser hair removal
- birth control pills which can help regulate hormones
- prescription creams such as Vaniqua that help minimize hair growth
- hair-loss treatments

Keep reading my blog for more information on PCOS as I seek treatment and learn more about this frustrating medical condition.


Sarah said...

Has anyone heard that PCOS causes breakouts and acne? I just found this great article about it? Just thought I would pass this along!

Amy said...

I just found out that PCOS causes acne and breakouts, and not just on your face, body acne too! Has anyone else heard of this? My friend passed this article along to me. She cleared her breakouts that she had from PCOS that were covering her whole chest following what it says in this article: