Facts

Polycystic ovary (hormone imbalance)

polycystic pic

(Image taken from GP Olnine)

Women with PCOS typically experience symptoms associated with excess Androgen levels including excess hair growth (hirsutism) and acne.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a manageable condition experienced by some women, PCOS sufferers usually present with menstrual abnormalities together with other features arising from excessive androgens (hyperandrogenism), although Androgens are the hormones associated with Masculine features, all women have low levels of male hormones, and all men have low levels of female hormones. PCOS is associated with excess or higher than normal levels of male hormones in women.

Features of PCOS may develop at any age:

• If arising during childhood it usually causes premature puberty;

• If arising during teenage years it is usually exhibited by excess hair and/or by menstrual abnormalities;

• If arising during early adulthood or middle life it usually presents by infertility and/or by glucose intolerance and

• If arising during later life it usually presents with diabetes and cardiovascular disease. If you have symptoms, it is essential that you seek medical advice and investigation to confirm or eliminate PCOS, but Laser treatment can be useful in treating and managing the excessive hair growth that is often associated with this condition.

Symptoms – Excess and Unwanted Hair

Women with PCOS typically experience symptoms associated with excess Androgen levels including excess hair growth (hirsutism) and acne. An increased growth of coarse hair can occur on the face, nipple, chest, thighs or in the middle of the lower abdomen. For most women the appearance of excess and unwanted hair is distressing, and affects their self esteem and body image.

Women should not be embarrassed to consult professionals; our therapists are experienced, qualified and accredited to perform safe Laser hair removal. Laser Hair Removal is an appropriate treatment with results superior to home remedies for excess and unwanted hair and Laser is a safer and more effective treatment than electrolysis or IPL. Laser hair removal is the foremost and clinically proven way to manage hormonal facial hair.

As your treatment progresses you will first notice the change in texture of the hair, hair will grow back finer, lighter and less noticeable. As Laser treatments continue, after 6 – 8 treatments you will start to notice significant reduction in the amount of hair that is growing back. Up to 80% reduction can be expected, in some cases up to 95% hair loss can be achieved. On the facial areas, an ongoing maintenance treatment program is usually necessary for the management of any remaining hair.

Other Symptoms

Some women with PCOS also exhibit male-patterned hair loss (alopecia) as well as acne.  We usually associate acne with adolescence, women who continue to get acne well after this time find it frustrating and embarrassing. In addition, the moderate to severe acne usually associated with PCOS can result in unsightly scarring.

A further common symptom of PCOS is obesity, with up to 70% of women being affected to some extent. Women with PCOS tend to gain weight in the abdominal region rather than on the buttocks or thighs, the usual areas woman “put on” weight.

Often the weight gain is related to ‘insulin resistance’, a condition that is typically associated with PCOS, Medical practitioners alert us that some women with PCOS who have insulin resistance are of normal weight, so regular testing is recommended and the absence of weight gain should not be considered as cause for complacence in managing PCOS.

Insulin is a hormone that allows the conversion of glucose (sugar) into energy. When insulin resistance occurs, the body produces more of the hormone to compensate; the elevated insulin level stimulates the body’s fat cells to make fat from nutrients and to store it, causing weight gain. A high level of insulin may also cause further increase in the production of androgens by the ovaries.

Women with PCOS may also experience menstrual disturbances: very light or heavy bleeding; infrequent periods; or absence of periods. Most women with PCOS started their periods at a normal age but they are irregular and over time may disappear altogether. Irregular periods are normal during adolescence these menstrual disturbances are usually not cause for concern and consequently they are not investigated further.

Women with irregular periods and/or acne may be prescribed an oral contraceptive pill which eliminates a ‘true’ period altogether. With the menstrual-related symptoms no longer apparent, consequently PCOS may go undetected.

For some women, PCOS is only diagnosed following investigations for problems with conception.  It is estimated that PCOS is present in more than 70% of women with infertility arising from failure to ovulate.

Women with PCOS are also at risk of endometrial hyperplasia, a condition in which the lining of the uterus is overstimulated by oestrogen and becomes overgrown. Endometrial hyperplasia is strongly associated with irregular ovulation.

Medical Treatment and Diagnosis

Many of the symptoms of PCOS are cosmetic, including: obesity, acne and hirsutism.  At Lasethetics laser Clinics we occasionally identify Women who have not yet consulted their Medical Practitioner about symptoms consistent with PCOS, whilst treating excess and unwanted hair we are also able to encourage them to consult their Medical Practitioner so as to investigate the underlying causes and confirm or exclude PCOS as a cause.

If the symptoms improve with treatment of symptoms of PCOS (i.e. acne helped by oral contraceptives) the underlying condition of PCOS may not be detected until further problems present. It is important to discuss symptoms with your Medical Practitioner and investigate the possibility of PCOS rather than delaying and consequently exposing yourself to the risk of long term health problems like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Diagnosis of PCOS usually involves an ultrasound of the ovaries and blood tests to determine hormone levels, your Medical Practitioner will also take a thorough medical history (if not already recorded).

Treatment for PCOS depends on the symptoms presenting and whether you are trying to fall pregnant. For women who are diagnosed with PCOS as a result of infertility investigations, the immediate treatment is usually directed towards establishing regular ovulation to improve the chance of pregnancy. The aim of treatment for women not wishing to become pregnant in the near future is to provide relief from the symptoms.

You may also benefit from advice and support from the various PCOS support groups. Support groups provide current and specific information and allow women to share their experiences. Being able to talk to someone who has similar problems can help reduce women’s feelings of isolation.

Organisations include: The Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Association of Australia –http://www.posaa.asn.au/

 

Folliculitis

folliculitis

(Image taken from Medical Pictures Info)

Its common name is “ingrown hair condition”.

A bacterial infection can result in discomfort and an angry looking inflammation of the hair follicle. It is a common condition of the skin, and it can occur on any hair bearing part of the body at any age.

Typically it appears as an eruption of skin that surrounds a hair or hair pore. Many red, sore bumps or pus bumps are seen. Frequently a hair is seen coming out of the centre of an individual bump. Any part of the skin can be involved except for the palms and soles.

Folliculitis is commonly caused by hair removal processes such as waxing, shaving and epilation. Additionally, Folliculitis can begin when hair follicles are damaged by friction from clothing. The damaged follicle then becomes infected with bacteria, which results in inflammation of the skin. Common areas for shaving that can result in a Folliculitis are legs, arms, armpits and pubic area. Shave bumps on the face are considered a different condition – Pseudofolliculitis but has a similar symptoms.

For the typical healthy person Folliculitis is a harmless condition, it does not involve internal organs.  However it is extremely uncomfortable and can be embarrassing if occurs in the visible areas. It is recommended to treat Folliculitis as soon as possible as it is a serious condition. Bacterial folliculitis can become more widespread or develop into a more severe infection and may scar.

Can it be cured?

This depends on the cause. Generally Laser Hair Removal treatment can clear and control the condition. The laser beam travels down to the infected follicle and destroys the bacteria that cause folliculitis. Attempt to eliminate external aggravating factors. Recurrence of Folliculitis is frequent and repeat Laser Hair Removal treatment is a must.

Folliculitis is mildly contagious. Skin to skin contact with others should be avoided until the infection has cleared.

Laser hair removal treatment will prevent the spread and will ensure smooth and clear skin.

 

Keratosis Pilaris

keratosis_pilaris_1_031125

(Image taken from Derm Atlas)

Keratosis Pilaris (KP) is a common skin condition caused when dead skin cells shed from the upper layer of skin and block the openings of hair follicles.

Keratosis Pilaris appears as small pointed pimples, usually on the upper arms, thighs, and buttocks. The condition is usually more apparent during the colder winter months and often clears up in the summer. KP has no known cause, but tends to run in families, and is believed to be hereditary and/or a deficiency in Vitamin A. It is also reported that people with atopic dermatitis are more likely to experience KP.

The pimples or bumps caused by the blocked hair follicles make the skin feel rough (like the skin of a plucked chicken) and dry. Generally the pimples or bumps do not itch or hurt and cause only cosmetic concern. Although the upper arms, thighs, and buttocks are the usual problem areas for KP, it may also arise in areas of greater cosmetic concern, including the face, particularly in children.

One of the main problems with KP is shaving. It can aggravate the condition even more. Because most people start shave using regular shaver which will cut the bumps leaving dreadful marks.

Many clients later try waxing; unfortunately it can make KP condition worse. The hair will get trapped, become ingrown causing more KP bumps to appear.

Laser hair removal is the foremost and clinically proven way to manage many skin and hair related problems.

When Laser hair removal is done properly will ultimately cauterize the hair follicle, if this is accomplished then no hair will grow back, causing KP bumps to ease up.

As your laser hair removal treatments progresses you will first notice the change in texture of the hair. Hair will grow back finer, lighter and less noticeable. As Laser treatments continue, after 6 – 8 treatments you will start to notice significant reduction in the amount of hair that is growing back.

Considerations when Managing KP:

As with many skin concerns, diet and exercise and avoidance of some beverages will help to improve skin health and minimise the likelihood of an outbreak.

In general you should avoid processed foods, fast foods and foods high in fat and saturated oils.

As much as possible eat a variety of fresh, unprocessed foods ensure that you include fish, and a variety of vegetables and fruits, as well as whole grains and nuts. Of course – avoid foods that you may be allergic to.

A daily consumption of 2 to 3 litres of water each day is desirable to help the body flush out waste products. Avoid beverages such as coffee and tea, as well as alcohol. Be careful consuming large quantities of fruit juices; consider the calorie content and other dietary issues. The juice of three oranges has all the energy and calories of those three oranges BUT none of the beneficial fibre. It is better to eat the fruit than drink the juice!

Consulting a dietician about your diet, and how to improve your health, appearance and vitality is advantageous and always recommended.

The final recommendation for managing KP regards personal care. We recommend that you avoid using the common commercial soaps, because they are too harsh on your skin and change the skin’s normal PH (Acid/Alkaline balance), destroying the protective barrier of the skin.

We always recommend that you consult your GP Doctor if skin problems persist or do not respond to treatment.

 

Alopecia

alopecia

(Image taken from Wikipedia)

Alopecia is a condition causing unintended and usually unwanted hair loss, current medical research and advice is that Alopecia is not contagious.

Alopecia may also present as more extensive with loss of all hair of the scalp and other body areas. Alopecia may also lead to the total loss of all hair on the body including pubic hair (Alopecia areata universalis).

Alopecia has been linked to several causes including environmental issues arising from exposure to infectious agents that trigger unwanted immune system responses. Alopecia has also been associated with emotional conditions, being triggered by stress, anxiety, and/or depression.

Some people with Alopecia have a family history of the condition, and an increased sensitivity to environmental situations that trigger the form of hair loss identified as Alopecia can be inherited. However, people with no known family history do also present with Alopecia.

This form of hair loss is recognised as an autoimmune disease arising from the body attacking its own hair follicles and suppressing hair growth and/or causing malformed hairs. The common presentation of Alopecia reveals hairs that are noticeably narrower near the root than in the main part of the hair shaft, this presentation is referred to as “exclamation point” hairs!

Many people with Alopecia report that their areas of hair loss tingle whilst others report mild or dull pain.  Alopecia may present at any age, but the first presentation is often during infancy or the teenage years, causing distressing social alienation and possibly worsening the condition since stress can cause Alopecia as well as exacerbating the condition.

Alopecia has been associated with Vitamin B5 (Pantothenate) deficiency, and people with Alopecia may also present with skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, and problems with the nails of the feet and hands.

Many people with Alopecia have several hair loss spots or sites; those spots or sites may be in the same area (such as the scalp) or in several locations over their body.  The affected spots of hair loss are sometimes all on one side of the body. Alopecia can lead to extensive hair loss, but most people with Alopecia do not have large areas of hair loss or total loss of body hair.

Medical Science is advancing diagnostic tools and treatment therapy for Alopecia and medical treatment for Alopecia is often successful in reversing the hair loss or at least slowing further hair loss.

Whilst many people with Alopecia do achieve real visible improvement through treatment for the environmental or organic cause of the condition, others do not respond to current available medical therapies. Some sufferers of Alopecia seek to improve their appearance and comfort by achieving total hair removal by Laser hair removal using a safe medical grade laser such as the Candela GentleLase.

Laser hair removal is a safe method for permanent hair removal and by removing the remaining hair the unsightly patches is matched and sufferers can achieve an acceptable appearance with uniform baldness, whilst others, especially women and teenagers, seek the laser hair removal because a wig fits and sits better on a clean scalp.