PCOS and Hirsutism

PCOS and Hirsutism

Hirsutism corresponds to an excess of dark hair in androgen-dependent areas: the face, trunk, and pubic area. It is the clinical translation of hyperandrogenism. Hirsutism is linked to skin receptivity and origins. In fact, 60% to 80% of American women with PCOS present hirsutism compared to only 20% of Japanese women.

What is hirsutism?

Hirsutism is due to an excess of androgens in the body. Androgens are male hormones. Hirsutism is characterized by the presence of hair in places where women usually do not have it. The hair is darker and thicker: it grows on parts such as the chin, jaw, chest, abdomen, arms, and back. It can also lead to acne and hair loss.

Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms include:

  • Dark hair on the face, chest, back, abdomen, and other so-called masculine areas.
  • Acne on the face or body
  • Thinning hair and alopecia at the temples
  • Decreased breast size
  • Development of muscle mass
  • Enlargement of the clitoris
  • High levels of androgens (this phenomenon affects about half of women with hirsutism).

Causes and risk factors

The more general causes of hirsutism are as follows:

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): This is one of the main causes of hirsutism.
  • Idiopathic hirsutism: This is hirsutism for which there is no known cause. It is the other main cause of hirsutism. It is also usually chronic. Some believe it is a milder version of PCOS. Most people with idiopathic hirsutism have normal periods, and their only symptom is a slow increase in the growth of coarse, dark hair where it shouldn't be.
  • Cushing's syndrome: This condition results from too much exposure to cortisol. High levels of cortisol can also come from medications, such as prednisone, when taken for long periods.
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia: This condition can occur when the adrenal glands produce abnormal amounts of steroid hormones, such as androgens and cortisol. It is hereditary and can lead to hirsutism.
  • Thyroid problems: When the thyroid gland is not functioning properly, resulting in hypo- or hyperthyroidism, hormone imbalance can cause hirsutism. Women with hirsutism symptoms may undergo thyroid tests to determine if hair growth may result from thyroid dysfunction. The exact term here is not hirsutism but rather Hypertrichosis, which is a different condition. It is simply an increase in the amount of hair anywhere on the body. Hypertrichosis can be generalized or localized. But it is often confused with hirsutism.
  • Taking certain medications can in some women lead to the onset of hirsutism.

How to get rid of it 

Reducing hirsutism involves two inseparable steps.

  1. Lowering androgen levels through dietary changes, as well as implementing appropriate supplementation.

  2. Skin treatment to destroy the bulb; without this step, the bulb will remain, and the hair will continue to grow. Complete suppression of hair growth requires removing the bulb.

These two steps are interrelated, and one cannot be done without the other. To prevent paradoxical regrowth and regrowth after hirsutism treatment with laser, it is important to first lower androgen levels and then start laser or pulsed light treatment.

The dietary supplements that can help you include: