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Q.

How do birth control pills treat acne, hirsutism (excess hair), and alopecia (hair loss)?

 

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A.

All birth control pills can improve acne and hair growth in the midline of the body (hirsutism) by reducing the levels of male hormones (androgens) produced by the ovary. All women make small amounts of androgens in the ovaries and adrenal glands. When these hormones are made in higher than normal amounts, or if a woman is sensitive to the androgens produced, she may start to grow hair above the lip, below the chin, between the breasts, between the belly button and pubic bone, or down the inner thigh. Birth control pills reduce production of male hormones and increase the production of the substances in the body that bind the androgens circulating in the bloodstream. Within six months of use, there is usually a reduction in the abnormal hair growth. However, when a woman has more excessive male hormone symptoms, she should see a gynecologist or primary care doctor. These symptoms may include male pattern baldness, smaller breast size, increased muscle mass, growth of the clitoris, or lowering of the pitch of the voice.

You can find more information from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine on this topic here:

http://www.reproductivefacts.org/uploadedFiles/ASRM_Content/Resources/Patient_Resources/Fact_Sheets_and_Info_Booklets/Noncontraceptive%20benefits%20of%20BCP-final_1-5-12.pdf

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Read the Original Article: Noncontraceptive Benefits of Birth Control Pills