Reading Time: 10 minutes
Beauty is the strong armor that helps you face the world with confidence. Hirsutism is a condition that can affect the self-confidence and make you feel embarrassed. It is a condition that leads to male-pattern hair growth in women. So, women see unwanted hair growth in areas like face, back, chin or chest. It is typically the areas that men have hair. The condition can mar your physical appeal. Subsequently, you feel self-conscious about your appearance. Hirsutism is a condition that is not life-threatening. But, it can lead to a huge psychological impact on young women. The psychosocial issues presented by the complication can lead to depression or stress in young people. Therefore, it is necessary to take action to overcome the problem.
What Is Hirsutism?
Hirsutism is a condition that can affect many women. About 5% to 10% of the women around the world have the condition. It is the medical condition that can result in the coarse hair distribution in a male-like pattern in women. Your genetic makeup is responsible for deciding the amount of hair in the body. The hereditary factors can determine the hair color, hair distribution, and the thickness of the hair. But, hormonal issues, medications, or other issues can result in the problem. It is significant to identify the underlying cause to develop the right treatment. So, it will help create a treatment plan that will reduce the growth rate of hair. Generally, people need a combination of medical therapies and self-care methods to overcome the issue.
Symptoms Of Hirsutism
Many women visit cosmetic clinics to remove the hair in their face to enhance their visual appeal. But, most of them do not understand that it is a medical condition. It can arise due to the hormonal imbalance or due to family history. In most cases, women may see the following symptoms that indicate hirsutism:
The mild form of hirsutism causes developing of dark and stiff body hair. It appears in areas that women may not have hair. Depending on ethnicity and culture, growth can vary. So, you may see mature hair growth in several areas like:
- Upper Lip
- Sideburn area
- Lower abdomen
- Around nipples
The hair color is similar to the hair on the scalp. But, it can make you look less feminine. So, it can reduce self-confidence.
In the advanced form of hirsutism, mature hair growth is more severe. It can start during your puberty and worsens. So, the issue is mostly associated with the hormone imbalance in your body. Therefore, you need to seek medical assistance to alleviate the issue. In severe cases, you can see mature hair growth in areas like:
- Upper Back
- Upper Abdomen
You can also develop other symptoms that can make you feel stressed and depressed. It mostly leads to sleepless nights. So, you need to look out for other symptoms like:
- Oily Skin
- Receding Hairline
- Deeper Voice
If you ignore the symptoms of severe hirsutism, then it can lead to a medical condition called virilization. You can develop several signs associated with male features over the duration of time like:
- Decreased breast size
- Deepening Voice
- Increased Muscle Mass
- Clitoris Enlargement
The Common Hirsutism Causes
Hirsutism is an uncomfortable condition that can dampen your visual appeal. People who want to look enticing and alluring find it a big hurdle in achieving the perfection they desire. In most cases, the complication is not a medical abnormality. But, some symptoms like male-traits in female suggest a serious medical issue. So, check for the common causes that indicate the severity of the issue:
During the puberty phase, your body can see a lot of changes. One among them is the ovaries producing male and female sex hormones. So, it results in the hair growth in the intimate areas like armpits and pubic area. But, the unbalanced secretion of the hormones can cause hair growth in unwanted areas. The high proportion of male hormones known as androgens is associated with the complication. Androgen is regarded as male hormones. But, it does not mean that women do not have them. It is present in the women in smaller quantities. Increased Androgen levels can cause oversensitivity of hair follicles leading to hair growth.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
The balance of the sex hormone can ensure regular periods. But, the irregularity in the secretion of the sex hormones can cause irregular periods. It also causes multiple cysts in the ovary is a serious issue leading to PCOS and infertility. Subsequently, it leads to weight gain and insulin resistance.
The tumor is a serious medical issue that can cause several changes in your body. One among them is the hirsutism. The hirsutism due to the presence of a tumor is sudden and severe. You can see other symptoms like a deeper voice, male-pattern hair loss, etc. Though it is rare, tumor in ovaries or adrenal gland can cause excess hair growth.
High Testosterone Levels
The enhanced testosterone levels in the women’s body can increase body size. You may exhibit male-like traits. It also stimulates hair growth and hair pigmentation.
The high cortisol levels in the body can lead to the medical issue known as Cushing’s syndrome. Your adrenal gland can malfunction resulting in higher cortisol production. Another possibility of high levels of cortisol is taking the medication prednisone for a long period of time.
Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia
If you have the family history of abnormal steroid production in your body, then you can get hirsutism. The adrenal glands produce hormones like androgen and cortisol at high levels leading to abnormal hair growth.
The insulin is an important hormone in your body. At times, the cells in your body do not respond to the insulin. It leads to insulin resistance. It can trigger higher androgen production by the ovarian cells leading to PCOD. Subsequently, it also increases your chance to get affected by obesity and diabetes.
Side Effects Of Medications
Some medication can lead to side effects like hirsutism. The following medications can cause unwanted hair like:
The androgen therapy is adopted to increase the testosterone levels or the dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). In some cases, women may suffer from depression, low sex drive or increased fatigue. It is common among women who have surgically induced menopause. Testosterone therapy is effective in such cases. DHEA is provided as a supplement for age-related problems or osteoporosis. Therefore, androgen therapy can cause unwanted hair growth.
Some medication used to treat health issues can increase hair growth in women. It is due to the fact that the treatment can enhance testosterone levels. Some of the medication that can increase the testosterone levels are:
It is the synthetic steroid that is effective in the treatment of endometriosis. Endometriosis can cause severe discomfort in women. It can lead to irregular menstruation and heavy bleeding.
- Depression Treatment
Medications used to treat depression like fluoxetine (Prozac) and systemic corticosteroids can lead to an increase in testosterone levels.
Women with regular menstrual periods, normal androgen levels, and no other underlying health conditions can also suffer from hirsutism. With no identifiable cause, the issue can occur in the ethnic population. So, it can happen in women of the South Asian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean ancestry.
The bad lifestyle can cause obesity, diabetes, and cholesterol problems. It can result in hormone imbalance leading to hirsutism. The high levels of the hormone can trigger the androgen production resulting in unwanted hair growth.
Who Are At Risk Of Hirsutism
Your risk of getting affected by hirsutism is high for women with the following factors:
Some issues that cause the hirsutism is hereditary. The condition like congenital adrenal hyperplasia or polycystic ovary syndrome can run in the family. So, women with family members having such issues can get affected by hirsutism.
People belonging to a certain ethnic group are more prone to the issue. So, people of South Asian, Middle Eastern or Mediterranean need to maintain caution.
Overweight people produce androgen more than normal levels. So, it can cause unwanted hair growth.
Complications Due To Hirsutism
You may not take hirsutism seriously as it does not cause life-threatening situations. But, it can cause several issues in your body. You need to note the changes happening in your body to get medical help. Avoiding the problem can lead to several complications like:
- The condition is emotionally distressing as it makes you feel unattractive. Therefore, it can lead to depression.
- The hirsutism is not dangerous, but the underlying condition is risky. The hormonal imbalance can lead to irregular periods. It can cause polycystic ovary syndrome, which causes infertility.
- The hair growth in unwanted parts can also cause follicle inflammation in some women. Folliculitis is a condition caused by the inflammation of the hair follicle.
It is important to get treatment for the underlying condition to avoid issues. Make sure not to take the medications during pregnancy. It increases the risk of birth defects. Therefore, consult your doctor before taking any steps.
Diagnosis Of Hirsutism
If you suffer from hirsutism, then you need to seek medical help. Several underlying health causes can lead to the issue. Hence, you need to seek medical assistance to identify the problem. It will help your doctor adopt the right solution to your problem. Therefore, your doctor may adopt the following techniques to find a medical issue.
The first step our doctor adopt is to find medical history. The information about the menstrual cycle, the pattern of your period, the amount of flow, discomfort associated with it, etc. are gathered. Irregular period points to a serious issue, which needs further investigation. Hence, it can point towards issues like endometriosis or other issues. Your doctor can also detect if the problem is inherited or genetic.
The irregular menstruation means you have the polycystic syndrome. Ultrasound is ideal for detecting the problem. It can give a clear picture of the uterus. So, your doctor can identify serious conditions like a tumor in the reproductive organs. Problems in the adrenal glands, ovary or pituitary gland are easily identified.
The blood tests can shed light on several issues. The doctor can order the test to measure the DHEA, testosterone, blood sugar, cholesterol, etc. The results will show the following:
- The DHEA and testosterone levels that can give an idea about polycystic ovary syndrome and different types of tumors.
- The blood tests can shed light on the adrenal gland hormone deficiencies. The imbalance can cause an overgrowth of the adrenal glands.
- The blood test can also reveal the blood sugar and cholesterol levels. It is helpful in identifying issues like obesity and diabetes.
MRI and CT scans are suggested for a better evaluation of the tumors. Depending on the diagnosis, your doctor suggests a treatment plan.
Treatment Of Hirsutism
The treatment of hirsutism has two parts. One is the cosmetic approach that removes unwanted hair. The other is the medication to treat the underlying cause that triggers hirsutism. So, you can adopt the right method to overcome the issue.
Cosmetic Approaches For Hirsutism
It removes the unwanted hair from the face, chin, upper lip, sideburns, etc. to transform your appeal. The main methods opted are:
Economical Hair Removal
Shaving, plucking, waxing, depilatory creams, etc. can remove the hair. It is the most economical method that women may adopt. But, it causes irritation to some. You also need to repeat the procedure for the hair-free appeal.
Laser Hair Removal
It is expensive, but effective hair removal technique. The laser can destroy the follicle that limits hair growth. The destroyed hair follicle take a long time to grow back. You need to contact a professional plastic surgeon or dermatologist to get a good service. So, it has long-term effects compared to the other methods.
Doctor Prescribed Treatment Options
Unlike the cosmetic procedure that focuses on hair removal, the medication treats the root cause. Your doctor can prescribe the medication to cure the main issue causing the hirsutism.
Birth Control Pills
It is the most cost-effective medication for treating hirsutism. It can reduce or change the androgen hormone impact on your body. So, you take the birth control pills that have both progesterone as well as estrogen. It curbs the masculine effects caused due to the androgen hormones. The medication also reduces the testosterone secretion by your ovary. Hence, you need to take the pills for at least six months to a year to see the results.
The anti-androgen medication can reduce the androgen levels in your body. Your doctor may prescribe it alone or in combination with the birth control pills. Hence, it can effectively reduce hirsutism. The common medication prescribed is Aldactone or spironolactone.
It is an ideal treatment for people who have unwanted hair due to obesity. By dropping some pounds from your body, your body makes less male hormones. Therefore, it results in less hair in unwanted places.
Invasive surgery can remove the tumor and eliminate the symptoms.
You can successfully prevent hirsutism from affecting your life negatively. With simple changes in your daily routine, you can see good results. Try to include the following pointers to reduce the psychosocial issue.
Including a balanced diet can eliminate several issues from your life. It can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce obesity risks. With a healthy weight, you can avoid problems like PCOS. It also balances the hormone levels naturally. Try to avoid the following:
- Processed Foods
- Caffeinated Drinks
- Junk foods
- Aerated drinks
- Include Exercise
Physical activity can reduce weight. It also rejuvenates your body and mind. It will eliminate issues like obesity, cholesterol, etc. from your life.
Excess hair growth can put unwanted pressure in your life. You may feel unattractive and unfeminine. So, you will pull away from social interaction. It can lead to excess stress. Therefore, overcome the stress in your life with easy techniques that will make you feel good about yourself.
Acne can reduce the appeal of your skin. So, follow a good skin routine that will keep the acne away from affecting you. You can use facewash, moisturizer, and exfoliator to keep the skin fresh and young.
Hormonal imbalance can lead to the issue. Therefore, contact a doctor to detect the underlying problem. It will help you get the ideal treatment for overcoming the complication.
It is important to take the hirsutism problem seriously. At times, unwanted hair growth may indicate a serious issue. So, getting medical assistance can help identify the actual cause of the issue. With proper treatment, you can alleviate the health issue and enhance your physical appeal.View Article Sources