Laser Hair Removal and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Go Together Like PB&J

Laser Hair Removal and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Go Together Like PB&J

Could Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Be Responsible for My Unwanted Hair?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a disorder that occurs when there are abnormal hormonal levels.  This results in excessive hair growth, irregular or absent menstrual periods, and infertility. Other common symptoms include weight gain, acne and thinning of scalp hair.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is very common.

  • It is not fully understood.
  • It occurs in up to 10% of women.
  • Abnormal hormonal changes are always present
  • It often begins early in the teen years.
  • There is a wide range of symptoms so the diagnosis is not clear-cut with some patients.
  • Approximately 50% of women with PCOS who come to our office are aware that they have it.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) results from a hormonal imbalance

Often doctors make the diagnosis when someone has abnormal growth of hair on her face (hirsuitism). One of the most common symptoms is the excessive hair growth in women with this condition.

Nothing makes you feel more unfeminine than abnormal hair growth on your face. Heartache and depression may result. We can help you feel better about yourself by removing your unwanted hair.

One young woman with PCOS decided to stop shaving and just let her beard grow.  She was tired of shaving twice a day.  Unlike most women, she has decided to accept her unwanted facial hair rather than fight it anymore. 

All of our patients with PCOS love laser hair removal.

They understand more frequent maintenance is required. 

Often the unwanted hair growth occurs on the face (chin and upper lip), between the breasts, in the lower part of the abdomen, arms, inner thighs abdomen, fingers or toes.

Diagnosis is by an ultrasound exam and with blood tests.  Hormones tested for include testosterone and luteinizing hormone. These tests can also help to rule out alternative hormone problems. That might cause periods to stop or be irregular.

What are the Other Symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?

  1. Weight gain is common. Weight loss is difficult.
  2. Dry skin on the neck and elbows sometimes occurs.
  3. Irregular periods or no periods at all can be a symptom. Sometimes there is heavy or irregular bleeding.
  4. Oily facial skin, acne or breakouts can occur.
  5. Too much insulin may be produced and result in weight gain which may occur more in the upper body.
  6. Depression and moodiness from the hormonal changes is not uncommon.
  7. Infertility problems can occur.
  8. Miscarriages are more common.
  9. There is an increased risk of uterine cancer.
  10. Depression and moodiness can result.

Please remember that you don’t have to get every symptom to have PCOS. Women with this syndrome often produce too much insulin or not enough effective insulin. The excess insulin production produces androgen (a male hormone) by the ovaries. That accounts for the majority of these symptoms.

How is PCOS Diagnosed and Treated?

Blood work includes:

  • Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)
  • Testosterone
  • Prolactin
  • Cholesterol
  • Triglycerides
  • Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)
  • Adrenal glandhormones ( DHEA-S or 17-hydroxyprogesterone)
  • Glucose tolerance and insulin levels
  • Blood sugar

Endocrinologists specialize in this disorder. An ultrasound of the ovaries will detect cysts or any enlargement of the ovaries.

What are the Treatment Options?

Treatment includes weight control, exercise, a balanced diet, and sometimes medication to control the abnormal hormone levels. Various medications include birth control pills, progestin, spironolactone, metformin (to control the blood sugar) and clomiphene or gonadotropin injections.

Surgery on the ovary may be necessary for women who do not respond to the conservative treatments and medications.

Vaniqa cream applied to the hair follicles is useful to help control excess hair growth. Laser hair removal may need to be done more frequently compared to women who do not have PCOS.

Laser hair removal can result in complications and burns in the wrong hands. The complications and risks are reduced by having your treatment performed in a reputable medical office. The physician’s office must be experienced to obtain optimal results. For your safety, a physician must be in the building supervising your treatment. We strongly recommend that you choose a doctor’s office rather than a med spa that fills all of these important criteria. The best choice may not always be the place that is closest to you or offers the lowest cost.


In summary, your excess hair could be a result of high insulin levels causing increased testosterone and hair production.

Do you know anyone who is struggling with these issues?

Please take a minute and share this blog with them.

Laser hair removal is an ideal method of removing unwanted facial hair in women with PCOS.

Watchful waiting if you have these symptoms is not a good idea.  Most women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) lead normal lives without serious complications.

We can remove your unwanted hair with the laser and restore your self-confidence.

Regular maintenance is required.

After an evaluation in our office, we can provide answers to your specific medical questions.

We can help you!

If you have similar patterns of abnormal hair growth associated with any of the previously mentioned symptoms, please call our medical office at 724-969-0600. You can contact us here.

About The Author

Dr. John Happel

Dr. John Happel has been in practice as a surgeon since 1986 in the Pittsburgh region. He specializes in vascular surgery and has subspecialized in the treatment of varicose and spider veins since 1999. Dr. Happel is board certified in vascular surgery and recertified in vascular surgery in 2012. He was chosen in 1985 to fulfill the position for the vascular surgical fellowship at the world renowned Mayo Clinic.

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