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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Adult Acne - if due to polycystic ovary syndrome then what should I do?

    I've been battling acne for a while now and was recently told by a doctor I might have polycystic ovary syndrome (but the reason it is a 'might' is that I have to wait for the diagnosis period of 3 months for the pill to wear off). I was told even if I do have it, there is no medication but the ones I'm on now.

    How can I control this acne when the medication I'm on isn't even working? I've been on a plant-based diet since last year in June to control the hormone imbalance issue but my acne is very stubborn and comes back every month. I really need help from an expert! No laser clinic's or normal doctors can help, I need a skin expert advice.

    What should I do if I do have polycystic ovary syndrome? Is there maybe a stronger medication?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 2


    Dr Rosie Worsley


    I have been a doctor for 15 years and for most of the last decade I have focused on women's hormones. I completed specialist training … View Profile

    I see a lot of women with PCOS and hear similar stories a lot. The frustration in coming to a diagnosis and the difficulty managing symptoms. PCOS diagnosis is based on having 2 of 3 criteria - 1) irregular cycles 2)high testosterone level or symptoms of high testosterone such as acne 3)lots of "cysts" on US - which are not really cysts but follicles. Two out of 3 criteria sounds simple but can actually be very tricky to tease out.

    Whether or not you have PCOS, I think the best way for you to get help for your skin is to see a dermatologist. I strongly suggest women consider trying Roaccutane treatment (which must be prescribed by a dermatologist). It's not for everyone, and a lot of people feel reluctant to try it. However, Roaccutane is really the only treatment that gives most people long lasting benefit. Other medications such as the pill and anti-androgens only really work when you are taking them.

    If you do have PCOS then there are other health issues to consider as well such as weight, blood pressure, future fertility, periods etc. Your GP, an endocrinologist or gynaecologist can help with these aspects of PCOS.

  • Dr John Frew

    Dermatologist (Skin Specialist)

    Dr Worsley's comments are spot on-

    With a condition like PCOS that impacts multiple parts of your body- it's important to address the hormone imbalances with an endocrinologist as well as talking about the variety of effective treatment options with a dermatologist. 
    there often isn't a simple fix- and no one treatment is right for everyone - but speaking to a dermatologist about the best option for you would be one important part of moving forward.

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