Frankie Bridge says she’s been diagnosed with polycystic ovaries

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While many people would want a luscious mane, polycystic ovaries (unfortunately) does not lead to a full set of hair on top of your head. Instead, the hair can appear in places a woman would rather it didn’t. An excess of androgens (a type of hormone), can lead to “thick, dark hair” on seven body parts, the NHS confirmed:

  1. Face
  2. Neck
  3. Chest
  4. Tummy
  5. Lower back
  6. Buttocks
  7. Thighs.

Treatments for hirsutism can range from cosmetic, to lifestyle changes and medical intervention.

Cosmetic treatments can include shaving, waxing, plucking, hair removal creams or bleaching.

More long-term cosmetic treatments could include laser hair removal and electrolysis.

To help control hormone levels, a doctor may recommend losing weight if you’re bigger than a healthy size.

Medication might involve prescription cream (notably, eflornithine) to help slow down hair growth on the face.

Alternatively, or in addition to, a woman might be prescribed a contraceptive pill to help manage hormone levels.

“If these have not helped after six months, your GP may refer you to a specialist,” the experts at the NHS stated.

“They may recommend other medicines to control your hormone levels.”

While polycystic ovaries (PCOS) can cause unwanted body hair, it can also cause hair thinning on the head.

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This symptom of the condition is more pronounced in middle age. Other symptoms – at any age post puberty – can include:

  • Irregular periods
  • Cysts on the ovaries
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Infertility
  • Acne
  • Darkening of skin
  • Mood changes
  • Pelvic pain
  • Headaches
  • Sleep problems
  • Depression.

Elaborating on these symptoms, the PCOS Awareness Association made clear that hormonal changes are behind headaches, depression, and acne.

Androgens – considered a “male” hormone – can make the skin oilier than usual, leading to acne breakouts on the face, chest, and upper back.

In terms of mood changes, PCOS is said to increase the likelihood of anxiety.

As for sleep problems, the condition has been linked to sleep apnoea – where a person stops breathing for short periods of time while they’re asleep.

Clues of sleep apnoea, according to the NHS, include:

  • Feeling very tired during the day
  • Finding it hard to concentrate
  • Having mood swings
  • Having a headache when you wake up.

Moreover, women with PCOS might have a higher risk of suffering from insomnia.

The experts at the NHS stated that you could have insomnia if you:

  • Find it hard to go to sleep
  • Wake up several times during the night
  • Lie awake at night
  • Wake up early and cannot go back to sleep
  • Still feel tired after waking up
  • Find it hard to nap during the day even though you’re tired
  • Feel tired and irritable during the day
  • Find it difficult to concentrate during the day because you’re tired.

When it comes to “darkening of the skin”, a woman with PCOS might spot “thick, dark, velvety” patches of skin.

These velvety patches can be under the arms or breasts, or on the back of the neck.

To get a clinical diagnosis of PCOS, you must have at least two of the three following symptoms:

  • Irregular periods
  • Polycystic ovaries
  • Excess androgens.

Discuss your concerns with your doctor who can arrange further testing for PCOS.

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