It May Be More Than A Simple Case Of Acne?
If you are having acne breakouts long after you have gotten through the teenage years, instead of visiting your dermatologist, you may need to schedule an appointment with your OBGYN. Your acne may be a symptom of an underlying hormone imbalance, known as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which can cause more problems than acne.
What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormone disorder that affects women. PCOS gets its name as a result of the number of small cysts that many women with this condition get on their ovaries. The cysts are not harmful, but they can lead to imbalances with your hormones. The condition itself is not fully understood, but some medical professionals believe it is caused by insensitivity to the hormone insulin.
Effects of PCOS
PCOS can cause problems with your periods as well as make it difficult to become pregnant. Along with irregular menstrual cycles and ovulation, PCOS can also cause thinning hair, but one of the most common symptoms of PCOS is acne. Women with PCOS typically get acne that is more like tender knots under their skin, instead of surface bumps and it often flares up before their menstrual period.
Treating Hormonal Related Acne
Many women who experience acne resulting from a hormonal condition such as PCOS find that over-the-counter acne treatments do not work. When acne is caused by a hormone problem, a type of hormonal therapy tends to be the best option for clearing and prevent hormonal acne. One of the most common types of treatment includes birth control pills, which is beneficial for treating many of the problems associated with PCOS, including:
- Regulating menstrual cycle-birth control pills that contain both estrogen and progestin may help with regulation. If you are unable to take combination birth control pills, your doctor may prescribe progesterone as an alternative, which will help to regulate your periods.
- Reduce excessive hair growth-your OBGYN may recommend birth control pills to help decrease androgen production, which in turn will help to prevent excessive hair growth.
- Preventing and reducing acne-combination birth control pills may help to give you clearer skin.
If you suspect you may have PCOS it is essential that you schedule an appointment with your OBGYN as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment can help to control the symptoms as well as prevent long-term problems. It is also important to talk with your doctor about lifestyle changes that may help to reduce the symptoms of PCOS as well as reduce the risk of some of the side effects that may be associated with taking birth control pills, such as weight gain.