Why Your Acne May Be Caused By Polycystic Ovary Syndrome And What You Should Do About It

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Why Your Acne May Be Caused By Polycystic Ovary Syndrome And What You Should Do About It

Why Your Acne May Be Caused By Polycystic Ovary Syndrome And What You Should Do About It

22 August 2016
, Articles

Acne is no fun, no matter what age you are when it strikes. However, it can be especially frustrating and embarrassing if you are well past your teen years and still experience outbreaks. While not rare, acne in women in their post-adolescent years is often a sign of a more serious condition. One such medical condition is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is estimated to affect up to 1 in 12 women of childbearing age in the United States. If you are a woman in your twenties or thirties and you suffer from acne outbreaks on your chin or lower part of your jaw, then you need to learn more about polycystic ovary syndrome. The acne may be unpleasant, but the most important concern with PCOS is your long-term health. Below is more information about this common condition among young women:

An introduction to polycystic ovary syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition that occurs as a result of excess androgen hormone production. Even though androgens are associated with masculine characteristics, such as muscle development, facial hair growth, and deepened vocal range, androgens are normally present in all females. However, an unusually high amount of androgen can cause negative side effects in women and result in a variety of problems. Beyond severe acne, here is a list of some of the most significant, visible symptoms of PCOS:

  • Loss of hair on scalp

  • Development of facial hair

  • Skin color and texture changes

  • Irregular menstrual cycles

  • Undesired weight gain

If PCOS is permitted to continue without intervention, these long-term health conditions can develop as a result:

  • Heart and vascular disease

  • Diabetes

  • Obesity

  • Infertility

Diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome is fairly easy to make, as doctors can readily match the symptoms above along with the patient's gender, age, and standing in life; in addition, scans of the ovaries reveal the appearance of benign fluid-filled sacs and swelling of the tissues.

Treatment for polycystic ovary syndrome

Though the actual cause of the hormone balance is often unknown, doctors are able to treat PCOS effectively using a variety of prescription medications and lifestyle changes. Here are some of the most frequently used strategies:

  • Hormone treatment - A number of hormones are prescribed for the treatment of PCOS, including estrogen, progesterone and progestin. The specific choice of hormone, as well as the amount of each type, depends upon your personal life goals and plans. For example, women seeking to become pregnant will forego birth control pills that contain hormone combinations and will instead take alternative medications that support fertility.

  • Exercise and diet - Since weight gain can occur as a result of PCOS, many physicians will encourage patients to pursue changes in diet by eating fewer carbohydrates. In addition, doctors also will provide a plan of exercise for patients to accompany sensible eating habits. Lowering weight is a key weapon in battling PCOS.

  • Blood sugar and insulin medication - Another treatment for PCOS is the use of medications to control blood sugar and insulin levels. While these imbalances are not necessarily the cause of PCOS, it is important to protect patients from harm that can occur if they are allowed to persist.

Acne treatment for polycystic ovary syndrome

Though acne may seem insignificant in light of the life-shortening complications that can occur as a result of PCOS, doctors are still concerned about eliminating acne and managing its effects. Fortunately, successful treatment of the PCOS itself will also reduce or eliminate related acne problems. However, there are times when treatment of acne caused by PCOS requires more than an over-the-counter approach, and doctors will use the following medications to help:

  • Spironolactone - Developed to treat high blood pressure, spironolactone is widely prescribed as a treatment for PCOS-induced acne. It is low-cost, effective and usually does not cause side effects. Unfortunately, it is not able to be taken by women who are pregnant or attempting to become pregnant.

  • Topical treatments - Doctors also will prescribe more potent forms of topical medications for women suffering from PCOS and acne. These drugs include the familiar benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, which can be applied to the acne directly. 

For more information, contact a medical office like Northwest Dermatology.

About Me
Improving My Skin

When I was a teenager, my skin was absolutely unsightly. I didn't know how to improve it, but I did know that I needed to meet with a dermatologist. Instead of ignoring the issue, I decided to tackle my acne head-on. I talked to my parents about taking me to the doctor, and they obliged. The doctor diagnosed me with cystic acne and gave me some medication that really helped to alleviate my pain and discomfort. This blog is all about improving your skin by seeking proper medical care. You never know, by making a few simple changes, you might be able to feel more comfortable.