PCOS (Polycystic Ovaries) & Hirsutism: Dr Ekta Nigam & Dr Nupur Gupta
Treating Hirsutism in Women With PCOS: Dr. Nupur Gupta & Dr. Ekta Nigam
Dr. Nupur Gupta, Gynecologist and Dr. Ekta Nigam, Dermatologist together discuss and share a narrative around health concerns in women with PCOS (polycystic ovaries).
PCOS causes menstrual irregularities due to hormonal imbalance especially an observable increase in male hormones (androgens). Hirsutism visibly indicates undesired facial hair along with the visible hard, coarse body hair present in chest, abdomen and inner thighs in women.
Dr. Ekta Nigam, shares that women with PCOS also show concerns other than acne like seborrhea (dry flaky itchy scalp), hair scalp thinning and excessive hair loss.
PCOS is best managed with assistance from Gynecologists, Endocrinologists, Dietitians and Dermatologists.
Insulin resistance can be managed with healthy diet, regular physical activity along with stress management. Androgens need to be balanced with patiently working on these health goals.
Weight loss with dietary advice along with insulin sensitizers and anti-androgens may also be advised for certain women. Dietary management specific to PCOS assists in reduction of weight and insulin resistance. Nutritionist’s do offer dietary advice on a high fiber, moderate protein micronutrient rich diet for women with PCOS.
Body image issues are commonly observed in women with PCOS due to hirsutism, scalp thinning and pigmentation. Dr. Ekta Nigam shares that cosmetic therapy options like waxing, bleaching, shaving are temporary methods for hair treatment. Their only drawback is that they are tedious, time consuming and do not provide desired results.
Facial shaving is not a preferred solution for women to remove undesired hair. Hot wax also may cause burn affecting skin tone. Bleaching agents are harsh chemicals causing face burns and not recommended. Facial threading, plucking, tweezing is a temporary solution that involves frequent facial hair removal and exposing one to follicular infection.
Electrolysis is not so popular; laser therapy is an advisable permanent solution for removing unwanted hair on face or body.
Medical Intervention in Hirsutism
Gynecologists may prescribe Estrogen containing medicines for women with Hirsutism. It is known that a combination of birth control pills that contain both estrogen and progesterone can counterbalance the masculine effects of androgen hormones and decrease the production of testosterone by the ovary. Hirsutism is visibly reduced after an annual consistent use of birth control pills.
Anti-androgen medicines may work unaided or in conjunction with contraceptive pills. The widely prescribed medicine is spironolactone (Aldactone), although others are available. It is unsafe to take anti-androgen medicines during pregnancy as it is a teratogen and should not be consumed without prescription.
Summarizing the discussion Dr. Nupur Gupta acknowledges that the cosmetic approach to removal of excessive facial and body hair needs to be addressed in the care and supervision of Gynecologist & Dermatologist as they ensure holistic skin treatment for women with PCOS and Hirsutism.
To watch video, click PCOS & Unwanted Hair