Excessive Hair (Hirsutism)

Excessive hair is also called hirsutism can be a distressing condition for women. It is caused by an excess of male hormones, androgens in your body, or by your body being more hyperreactive to these hormones. Sometime the exact mechanism is unknown. Some women seem to develop extra hair growth as they get older, particularly after the menopause. The excessive hair in hirsutism is usually thick and dark, rather than fine and fair. It develops in areas where men often have hair, such as the face, neck, chest, abdomen, lower back, thighs and legs.

Common causes of hirsutism:

• polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition that can cause irregular menses and fluid-filled sacs (cysts) on the ovaries

• Cushing's syndrome, a hormonal disorder that causes sudden weight gain and bloating around the face and neck

• Obesity – losing weight may help improve the symptoms in these cases

• Acromegaly, a condition in which the body produces too much growth hormone causing excessive hair

• Certain medicine such as anabolic steroids, used by some people to build muscle and improve athletic performance

• a tumour (growth) that increases the production of androgens and usually affects the ovaries or adrenal gland

Treatments for hirsutism

Treatment for hirsutism usually involves techniques to remove the excess hair and prevent it from growing back.

The main treatments are:

a) Home hair removal methods – such as shaving, plucking or waxing which is usally associated with a lot of complications such as ingrowing hair, infection, folliculitis, scarring and hyperpigmentation

b) Specialist hair removal treatments – such as laser permanent hair removal

c) Eflornithine cream – a prescription cream that can help slow down the growth of facial hair but it will sometime cause allergy reaction, hyperpigmentation.

d) Oral contraceptives that can help prevent excess hair growth

It may take a few months to notice the effects of treatment, you are advice to follow the treatment interval suggested by the doctor to get the best results.


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