Disproportionate or unwanted hair that grows on a woman’s face or body might be the result of a situation called hirsutism. All women have facial hair, but the hair is usually very light in colour and fine.
The thing that differentiates a woman’s typical hair on body and face and hirsutism hair is the texture. Excessive or unwanted hair that develops on a woman’s face, arms, chest or back is usually coarse and dark.
The growth trend of hirsutism in women is related to virilization. Women with this condition tend to have characteristics that are generally associated with male hormones.
Hirsutism is not similar to hypertrichosis, which refers to the growth of excess hair in areas that aren’t dependent on androgens that are male hormones.
Hirsutism is the presence of excess hair in areas where it’s typically seen in men, such as the lower abdomen and face. Hypertrichosis, on the other hand, can be responsible for hair growth anywhere on the body.
As per the Indian Journal of Dermatology, hirsutism affects anywhere between 5 to 10 per cent of women in the world.
It tends to run in heredity; therefore you are more likely to have unwanted hair growth if any of your female relatives are also suffering from the same.
Women of the Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and South Asian heritage are also found to be more prone to this condition.
The presence of excess hair on the body can lead to feelings of low confidence, but it isn’t harmful. However, the hormonal imbalance that leads to hirsutism may compromise a woman’s overall health.
Why do women grow excessive or unwanted hair?
1. Hormonal Imbalance
Women observe excessive body or facial hair growth due to higher levels of hormones such as androgens, including testosterone.
All females produce androgens in their body, but the levels generally remain low. Certain medical conditions can make a woman produce too many androgens.
Hormonal imbalance can cause hair growth in a male pattern and other male features, such as a deep voice.
2. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is amongst the common causes of hirsutism. It accounts for three out of four hirsutism cases.
Cysts that form in the ovaries can alter hormone production, leading to irregular menstrual cycles and reduced fertility. Additional symptoms include:
- pelvic pain
- mood changes
- sleep problems
- Adrenal gland disorders
3. Cushing’s disease
The adrenal glands which are located just above your kidneys are responsible for adrenaline hormone production.
People suffering from congenital adrenal hyperplasia are born without one of the enzymes that are necessary for hormone production.
Those going through Cushing’s disease have a higher-than-normal level of cortisol. Cortisol is sometimes referred to as the “stress hormone.”
The symptoms of adrenal gland disorders are:
- High blood pressure
- Bone and muscle weakness
- High or low blood sugar levels
- excess weight in the upper body
1. Hormone management
If you’re obese, your doctor will probably suggest you losing the extra pounds to reduce your hair growth. Obesity can alter the way your body produces hormones.
Maintaining a healthy weight might correct your level of hormones without any medication.
2. Medical treatment
You may require medical treatment if increased hair growth is a symptom of PCOS or adrenal disorders. Drug therapy such as birth control pills and antiandrogen medications can help in balancing your hormone levels.
Steroidal, as well as non-steroidal antiandrogens, can block the androgen receptors and also reduce androgen production from the adrenal glands.
Combination birth control pills, which house both the oestrogen and progesterone, might help to shrink the cysts from PCOS. The oestrogen can also help in reducing excess hair.
These drugs are a long-term solution for hirsutism. You will most likely notice betterment after three to six months of drug intake.
Your doctor might prescribe you the cream eflornithine to put a bar on the growth of your facial hair. Your facial hair growth should automatically slow after one to two months. Side effects of this medicine include skin rash and irritation.
Hair removal techniques
Waxing, shaving, and depilatories are much more proactive when it comes to chemically removing hair from the body.
Laser hair removal technique involves using a concentrated light ray to inflict damage on your hair follicles.
Damaged follicles are not able to produce hair, and the hair that is present dies out. With proper treatments, laser hair removal provides a permanent or near-permanent result.
Electrolysis is the removal of hair with the help of an electric current. It works on each hair follicle individually, so the sessions can take a lot longer.
Both electrolysis and laser hair removal can have an effect on your pocket and require multiple sessions to achieve the speculated results. Some patients find such treatments uncomfortable.
So use the methods described above to remove those excess hair present on your body and get back in the game!