Managing hirsutism caused by PCOS: Cause, medications and hair removal method Managing hirsutism caused by PCOS: Cause, medications and hair removal method

Most women are no strangers to removing unwanted facial and body hair. This can include shaving the legs and under the arms, shaping the eyebrows, and plucking the occasional stray hair on the chin. 

Other women, however, have to spend significantly more time and effort removing excessive, unwanted hair. The amount of hair considered excessive is subjective, but for most women it’s hair that’s on areas typically associated with male growth hair patterns. 

Hair growth changes over time and it’s not uncommon to find that your hair growth increases or decreases throughout your lifetime. However, if you have persistent excessive hair growth, you may have a condition known as hirsutism

What Causes Hirsutism?

Hirsutism is more common than you might think. The most common hirsutism symptoms are the appearance and growth of stiff and dark body hair on areas where women don’t typically grow this type of hair. This can be on the face, chest, stomach, neck, back, and thighs. 

Hirsutism is most often a side effect of an underlying condition or from taking certain medications. The most common underlying cause is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which we’ll get to in a moment. Other potential causes are: 

  • Cushing syndrome: Cushing syndrome occurs when your body is exposed to higher than normal levels of a hormone called cortisol.
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia: This inherited condition is an adrenal gland disorder that causes your body to abnormally produce steroid hormones, including cortisol and androgen. It causes several symptoms, hirsutism being one of them. 
  • Tumours: In extremely rare cases, an androgen-secreting tumour in the ovaries or adrenal glands can cause hirsutism.
  • Medications: Some medications can cause hirsutism like danazol, a treatment used for women with endometriosis. Women who come into contact with hair regrowth products like Rogaine, usually from their partners, may experience hirsutism.

PCOS and Hirsutism

PCOS is a common condition affecting up to 25% of women who are of reproductive age. It’s a hormonal disorder that affects the reproductive system and alters how hormones are produced. Signs and symptoms usually don’t start to appear until a woman reaches reproductive age or begins puberty. 

The name of the condition comes from the multiple cysts that develop in the ovaries as a result of PCOS. Other symptoms can include irregular periods, fertility struggles, obesity, acne and the overproduction of male sex hormones. Men and women produce both male and female hormones but issues can arise for women who produce an irregular amount of male hormones, called androgens. 

The more androgens you produce, the more likely you are to experience excessive hair growth that is more typically seen on males. You may also find that the hair you want to keep, on your head, starts to thin out. 

Treating PCOS

No one is sure why some women develop PCOS. It may be due to genetic factors, insulin resistance, or being overweight. If weight gain is a factor in your PCOS, losing just 5% of your body weight can help reduce the symptoms. 

Studies have shown that people who are overweight tend to have higher levels of inflammation throughout their body and this inflammation can cause or aggravate PCOS. Losing weight can also lower insulin levels which can also help with PCOS symptoms. 

There are medical treatments that have shown success in treating PCOS. Birth control pills that contain progestin can regulate the menstrual cycle, reduce the appearance of acne, and slow down excessive hair growth. Metformin, a drug used for type 2 diabetes, can improve insulin levels. 

Hirsutism Treatment

There are several different methods to remove unwanted hair, with some being more expensive and invasive than others. One of the easiest and most cost effective techniques of hair removal are ones you can do at home like shaving, waxing, tweezing, epilating, and using depilatory creams. They can prove instant and effective results but often require a lot of time and upkeep. 

Laser hair removal and electrolysis are more expensive and longer lasting options. Over the course of several appointments, a professional will use a device that exposes the hair to pulses of light that destroy the hair follicle. For many people, these treatments can permanently remove most if not all unwanted hair. You may need occasional touchups to maintain the effects. 

While effective, laser hair removal and electrolysis can be very expensive. You also need to travel several times to a specialized clinic, dermatologist’s office, or beauty salon to have it done which can be inconvenient. There are at-home devices you can buy but they aren’t as powerful.

Vaniqa Cream

If facial hair removal at home is too much of a hassle and laser hair removal isn’t feasible, Vaniqa cream is a treatment that gives you long lasting results without as much maintenance. Vaniqa’s active ingredient, eflornithine, disrupts hair growth and slows it down. 

Vaniqa is very effective at slowing down the hair growth on your face which makes it much easier to manage. It may even grow back thinner and lighter, making it less noticeable. You’ll still need to occasionally pluck, wax, or shave to remove hairs when they do grow in, but the overall maintenance will be far less frequent and stressful. 

How to Use Vaniqa Cream

Before applying Vaniqa, make sure your face is cleansed and thoroughly dry. Rub a thin layer of the cream over the affected area twice per day, ideally in the morning and again in the evening. Wash your hands after you’ve fully rubbed the cream in and wait at least 5-10 minutes before putting on suncream, moisturizer, or makeup. 

Vaniqa is for facial hair use only and should start showing noticeable results within 2-4 months of starting it. Your skin may feel irritated when you first start using Vaniqa, but these side effects should subside once your skin adjusts to the new treatment. 

Click here to buy Vaniqa Cream from Pharmacy Planet. After a short assessment, our prescribers can have your medication dispensed and shipped right to your door.