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Excessive Body and Facial Hair in Women

An additional feature of PCOS is that many tissues of the body do not show the expected metabolic or biochemical response to insulin. This is called insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is associated with increased androgen production by the ovaries, an increase in the LDL (so-called "bad") cholesterol, and an increase in another fat called triglyceride.

Insulin resistance has long-term consequences, including obesity and high risk for type 2 diabetes. Maintaining a healthy weight and daily exercise are a must.

Medications commonly used for women with PCOS :

- Metformin (Glucophage). This medication can improve insulin sensitivity. Although androgen levels don't fall very much, women who take metformin tend to have more regular menstrual periods. The drug may also help treat hirsutism.

- Estrogen-containing oral contraceptives. They reduce androgen levels significantly, thus reducing hair growth. They also help regularize periods.

- Spironolactone (Aldactone). Spironolactone partially blocks the action of testosterone on hair follicles and can be an excellent adjunct to oral contraceptives.

Meanwhile you may want to consider cosmetic approaches to excessive hair growth.

Learn more about hair removal.

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