Should You Be Worried About Acanthosis Nigricans?
Acanthosis NigricansWomen with PCOS (or PCOD) often experience skin overgrowths including patches of dark, brown, velvety skin. These skin patches are properly known as acanthosis nigricans and can occur anywhere on the body. PCOS skin conditions, which are usually aesthetically displeasing and invariably troubling to women, are quite common with PCOS. The good news is, one of the influencing factors of PCOS, which is Insulin Resistance, can be managed with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and appropriate nutritional supplements.
It’s not uncommon for people to find discolorations on their skin, differences in texture from one body part to another, or new features on their body they did not notice before. Sometimes deciding whether they are new or have been there for a while can be difficult, but more often than not people forget about these changes in their skin and move on with their daily lives.
If you’re a woman who has, or suspect you have, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), these changes in your skin should not be overlooked. Any change in your body has the potential to reveal something important about your health. So if you’re a woman who has Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) you need to be especially aware of how your body is reacting to your environment, diet, and overall lifestyle.
Off-balance hormone levels can wreak havoc on the skin, and women who have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) are prone to acne, skin tags, and acanthosis nigricans. These skin conditions are not life threatening, but they can make women uncomfortable and self-conscious. They are also damaging to emotional health becasue they can cause self-esteem to plummet when they are severe.
How Does PCOS Cause Acanthosis Nigricans?
Human Cell Mitochondrion
To answer this question, another issue will first have to be addressed. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is often influenced by an underlying case of Insulin Resistance. Insulin Resistance occurs when the body’s cells become unable to respond to the hormone insulin. Insulin normally binds to the cell and allows glucose to enter and convert into energy, delivers this energy to the mitochondria (which power the cell), and ensures that blood sugar levels are even. Insulin Resistance prevents the hormone from functioning properly and causes an imbalance in the endocrine system. This can result in a variety of different health conditions, from high blood sugar and fatigue to full-blown diabetes and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).
Female Body and Organs
Acanthosis nigricans is a common symptom of Insulin Resistance, one that alerts the body to the fact that insulin is not being properly used. For many women, this is the first visible sign they have an endocrine disorder. Acanthosis nigricans is manifested as a thickening and darkening of the skin (or dark skin patches). Having been described by some people as being “velvety” in texture, this symptom usually appears in the joints and folds of the skin, especially on the thighs, behind the neck, and on the vulva.
Because this skin condition can be a sign of Insulin Resistance, it often accompanies many other health conditions. In fact, it has been correlated with several different illnesses, including endocrine disorders, inherited disorders, obesity,5 diabetes, and cancer, among others. Although acanthosis nigricans can point toward other health conditions, some of them very serious, it is not itself dangerous (although it does cause cosmetic problems that can be difficult to cope with).
How Is Acanthosis Nigricans Treated?
DermabrasionThere are cosmetic options for acanthosis nigricans that is severe or not being managed by natural means. There are three main treatments:
- Laser therapy
- Topical retinoids
Both dermabrasion and laser therapy are sensitive procedures that should be performed by a certified dermatologist. Topical retinoids are used because they increase the normal shedding of skin cells. The result can sometimes reduce the appearance of the lesions