PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) is a hormonal condition that affects many women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS may have irregular or prolonged menstrual cycles, as well as a number of hormone-related side effects in addition to impacting a woman’s fertility. PCOS acne problems, obesity, impaired glucose tolerance and depression are some of the hormone-related side effects. A gynecologist consultation is often recommended to women affected by PCOS, since the actual cause of PCOS is often uncertain. Early detection and treatment, as well as weight loss, can help lower the risk of long-term problems like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Symptoms of PCOS
PCOS signs and symptoms usually appear around the time of a girl’s first menstrual period. PCOS can develop later in life, for example, as a result of significant weight gain. PCOS manifests itself in a variety of ways. A gynecologist consultation will be required if you have at least two of the following symptoms, to check if you have PCOS.
- Irregular menstrual cycle: Menstrual cycles that are infrequent, irregular, or protracted are the most common sign of PCOS. For example, you may have less than nine periods per year, a period interval of more than 35 days, or extremely heavy periods.
- Excess androgen level: Excess face and body hair (hirsutism), as well as severe PCOS acne and male-pattern baldness, can all be symptoms of elevated male hormone levels.
- Polycystic ovaries: Your ovaries could be larger, with follicles around the eggs. As a result, the ovaries may stop working as intended.
When is a gynecologist consultation needed?
If you have concerns about your menstrual cycles, infertility, or indicators of excess androgens, such as increasing hirsutism, PCOS acne problems, or male-pattern baldness, consult your doctor.
Connection between PCOS and Acne
PCOS, or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, is the most common reproductive endocrine disorder among women of childbearing age. PCOS affects as many as 5 to 10% of adolescents and young females.
The heart of the condition is hormonal imbalance. High levels of androgens are one of the most common symptoms of PCOS. Hyperandrogenism is the medical term for this condition. Androgens play a significant influence in PCOS acne formation. They induce the skin’s glands to create an excessive amount of sebum, an oily material.
PCOS acne problem is caused by a buildup of sebum and dead skin cells inside hair follicles, trapping germs beneath the surface. Inflammation and pimple production result as a result of this.
PCOS acne problem can appear in a variety of places in people, including:
- Upper Back
PCOS is only one of the many factors that cause acne. Other factors that can cause acne include:
- Hormonal changes or excess hormone activity
- Excess oil production
- Dead skin cells inside your pores
- Bacteria (primarily from Propionibacterium acnes)
Treatment Options for PCOS Acne Problem
First and foremost, gynecologist consultation is always recommended to people with PCOS conditions because the exact reasons for PCOS condition are uncertain. Excess insulin resistance, low-grade inflammation, elevated testosterone levels, an irregular menstrual cycle, and even genetics could be contributing factors.
Benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and sulfur are common ingredients in acne medicines. These chemicals can assist with minor breakouts, but they are rarely adequate to treat hormonal acne.
The only approach to treat PCOS acne problems is to address the underlying hormonal imbalance. A gynecologist consultation is the best option to understand the reasons for hormonal imbalances. They may prescribe one of the following medications:
1. Oral Contraceptives
PCOS acne problem is occasionally treated with oral contraceptives (birth control tablets) because this problem is related to hormonal imbalance. However, any birth control pill will not suffice.
Combination pills are the only birth control medications that help in maintaining hormone balance throughout your menstrual cycle. These pills usually contain a mix of ethinyl estradiol and one or more of the following:
- Progestin norgestimate
- Norethindrone acetate
However, it is recommended that women above the age of 35 or who have a history of the below-mentioned diseases should not take birth control pills:
- Breast cancer
- Blood clots
- Hypertension (High blood pressure)
OTC Retinoids are historically used to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and even out skin tone. Some acne formulas are also utilized, though they are usually directed toward teenagers.
If you have a PCOS acne problem, forgo OTC retinoids and seek a gynecologist consultation about prescription-strength treatments. They can be consumed or administered topically as a cream or gel. Isotretinoin (Accutane), an oral retinoid, is the most preferred choice. Because retinoids make your skin more sensitive to the sun’s UV rays, it’s critical to use sunscreen throughout the day. If you don’t protect your skin, you run the danger of hyperpigmentation and even skin cancer.
If you use topical retinoids, you should only use them at night. If you use them during the day, you run the danger of being sunburned. Initially, topical retinoids may be drying. It’s possible that you’ll need to start by applying the gel or cream every other day and gradually increase to the suggested amount.
3. Anti-androgen Drugs
Anti-androgen medicines are pharmaceuticals that lower testosterone levels.
Women, too, have naturally occurring androgens, despite the fact that they are categorized as “male” hormones. Women, on the other hand, have lower amounts.
PCOS and other hormonal diseases can cause the body to produce too much testosterone. PCOS acne problems are caused by an increase in sebum and skin cell formation.
Does what you eat make a difference?
There’s a lot of conflicting information about how diet affects acne. According to some research, junk food such as chocolate and french fries cannot cause acne on their own. Instead, the focus is on how certain foods might trigger inflammation in the body. Inflammation can cause breakouts, particularly if you have other acne risk factors such as PCOS.
Some foods are anti-inflammatory by nature. These are some of them:
- Olive Oil
Certain meals, on the other hand, can aggravate inflammation. This includes the following: red meats, white bread, white potatoes and sugary desserts. Consult your gynecologist about adding inflammatory supplements to your diet. You can include bromelain (a pineapple enzyme), copper, garlic, turmeric, vitamins A & C, and zinc.
Even the greatest PCOS acne treatment will be ineffective if you don’t have a good skincare routine. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you wash your face twice a day with fresh water. After each wash, apply an oil-free moisturizer that is appropriate for your skin type. Picking and scraping blemishes should be avoided, and use non-comedogenic makeup only.
If the problem persists or aggravates, you can seek a gynecologist consultation at SPARSH Hospital. We have a dedicated department for women and children. Women from India and throughout the world come to SPARSH Hospital for competent and compassionate care. SPARSH Hospital’s women’s healthcare specialists are aware of diseases that are not only specific to women, but also that women experience illnesses differently than males. For a wide range of medical concerns such as infertility, cancer, nutrition, sexual health, osteoporosis, thyroid illnesses, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and menopause, the multispecialty women’s health teams provide individualized care in a friendly setting.