What Is the Treatment for Hair Growth Caused by PCOS?

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Ask the experts

I would like to know more on how you can help yourself with the excessive hair growth on the face and body associated with polycystic ovary disease (PCO). Is having treatment on the actual hairs themselves going to make any difference at all? Or is it the hormones that have to be treated?

Doctor's response

You have asked very astute questions. The actual hairs are not the problem, they are only the end result of the abnormally high testosterone levels that women with PCO so often experience. The hairs do not need to be treated at all, but they are treated if women are disturbed by them. After the physician evaluates the woman for other causes of excessive hair growth besides PCO, any routine hair removal technique is satisfactory. Examples of these techniques include laser hair removal, waxing, and others. Although several months are required for optimal effect, by helping to restore the hormonal imbalance, oral contraceptive pills will decrease excessive hair growth in women with PCO. Other medications are also available for controlling excessive hair growth.

See our full medical article on polycystic ovarian disease for further information.

Medical author: Carolyn Janet Crandall, M.D.

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Reviewed on 1/11/2018