Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition wherein women witness an imbalance of hormones. This is known to occur during childbearing time of a woman’s life. It is also likely to affect your fertility (scope to give birth to a child). You may witness a few other discomforts – chief among them are excessive growth of hair, erratic menstrual periods, incidence of autoimmune conditions such as diabetes as well as a high level of blood pressure (i.e., hypertension). Can spironolactone help treat PCOS? It is important to know of this drug’s use prior to start taking it.

When your ovaries develop problems, they may start affecting your menstrual periods. Some women report inability to experience proper menstrual cycles, and a few may have unpredictable periods. When your hormonal wellbeing is not right, you are likely to encounter polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). In some remote cases, women may develop ovarian cysts; but, not all women who are living with PCOS may have such cysts. Hence, it is a misnomer – because many people (women) do not develop cysts. So, what happens to women during the onset of PCOS?

The most important change is the build-up of male hormones – especially, androgens – among women. In many instances, women living with PCOS see a pronounced level of these hormones in them. Also, your system may be deprived of needful amounts of progesterone. This hormone is needed for the timely occurrence of menstrual periods. When this hormone turns insufficient, you are more likely to see periods related problems – for example, absence of periods or erratic periods.

What is spironolactone?

Spironolactone is used for the case management of blood pressure. It works as a diuretic (also known as water pill); this drug belongs to a genre of meds known as potassium-sparing diuretics. Spironolactone is consumed orally. It may be taken either along with a meal or with liquids like milk. This drug works by eliminating fluids from your system; owing to this, it is a safe practice to take it during daytime. Intake of this drug during the evening or nights may make you sit up sleepless – and experience frequent urges to pee, all through the night.

Spironolactone is not likely to cause many acute side effects or very adverse reactions. However, in some users, the drug has triggered several acute discomforts such as weakness, tiredness, being depressed or excessively anxious. In a small percentage of users, it has caused kidney problems. These problems can be detected by signs like change in urine output or discharge of yellow colored urine. In stray cases, this diuretic med may also cause allergic reactions such as drowsiness, feeling dizzy, being lightheaded and also a few abdominal conditions (vomiting, indigestion, diarrhea or nausea).

Can spironolactone treat PCOS?

The main function of this drug is to prevent cardiac conditions such as heart failure or cardiac arrests. As an extended use, this med is used to treat a few adverse symptoms of PCOS – especially, growth of hair. Hair growth is a common signs witnessed in more than 75% of women living with PCOS. Mostly, women with PCOS may encounter hyper-androgen conditions – wherein testosterone (a sex hormone) builds up abundantly. Though it is a male hormone, it is present in women at a minimal level. However, this male hormone hits a new-high among women due to the hyper-androgen condition.

The drug’s androgen-inhibiting property plays an important part in this milieu. This effect blocks such male hormones; mainly the treatment action occurs at the hair-follicles level. As a result, testosterone is not bound to the root of the hair. Once unbound, you may find relief from excessive growth of hair as well as skin problems such as acne. Growth of facial hair – especially hair formation on the chin, sideburns and lower part of a woman’s face can be quite embarrassing to women. It is also used for along with hormone-based birth control measures; the key ingredients play a vital role in avoiding unplanned pregnancies. Hormone-based birth control however remains the first-line treatment for PCOS. You are advised to consult with your treating doctor about the likely outcomes / risks of side effects associated with hormone-based birth control measures.

The added benefit of using birth control techniques to treat PCOS is – they can regulate your periods as well as help treat skin problems (especially, acne). However, you may need to wait for the treatment plan to take effect. Often times, it may take as high as six (6) to nine (9) months for hair to go off. It is for this reason women may opt for other approaches such as tweezing, waxing or removal of hair by laser-based techniques.

The only limitation here is – not all women respond well to a birth control based approach to treat PCOS. If hair growth continues – after having taken birth control pills or trying out skin patches – your treating physician may administer spironolactone to treat growth caused by PCOS. In case of spironolactone, you are advised to stay aware of the likely side effects. These include itchiness, drowsiness and inflammation of tongue or other oral organs. Some users reported a few respiratory conditions such as gasping for breath or wheezing. This drug may cause an imbalance of potassium in your system; so, if you already have an imbalance of salts such as sodium or potassium, it is strongly recommended to tell your caregiving team of such effects.

Upon experiencing one or more of these side effects, residents of US are advised to reach out to 911 on an urgent mode. As an alternative, you can also call the helpdesk of food and drug administration (FDA). FDA maintains helplines to record side effects, allergies and adverse reactions meds (it has approved for use) trigger. People who are residents of Canada may reach out to Health Canada or rush to a poison control center on an emergency basis.

In sum, spironolactone helps treat adverse symptoms of PCOS – especially, growth of hair. Growth of hair – especially on your chin or side burns is an undesired sign. Women living with PCOS are likely to see a hyper-androgen condition. Spironolactone effectively blocks male hormones and makes testosterone to remain unattached to your hair. You are advised to talk to your caregiver about the likely risks of side effects associated with the intake of spironolactone as a treatment option for PCOS.

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