August 30, 2022 - Parul Saini, Webmedy Team
Excessive growth of male-like dark or coarse hair on a woman's face, chest, or back is due to a condition called Hirsutism. In this condition, excessive male hormones (androgens), primarily testosterone, are responsible for extra hair growth.
Hirsutism is a common condition, affecting between 5 and 10 percent of women. It tends to run in families, so you may be more likely to have this hair growth if your mother, sister, or another female relative also has it.
The presence of excess body hair can lead to feelings of self-consciousness, but the condition itself isn't necessarily dangerous. However, the hormonal imbalance that can lead to it may complicate a person's health.
Because of abnormally high levels of androgen hormones, women may grow excessive body or facial hair. Testosterone is one of the hormone. All people produce androgens, however, females usually have lower levels. But a woman can get hirsutism if her body starts producing too many androgens or if her skin suddenly becomes sensitive to them.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is one common cause of hirsutism. It accounts for 85 percent of cases. PCOS causes benign cysts to form on the ovaries, which can affect hormone production. This can also lead to irregular menstrual cycles and decreased fertility.
If you have obesity, losing weight might lessen the signs of hirsutism. Maintaining a moderate weight may help you balance your androgens naturally because obesity can alter how your body makes hormones.
If excessive hair growth is a symptom of PCOS or adrenal disorders, you may need additional pharmacological treatment. Drug therapy in the form of birth control pills and anti-androgen medications can help balance your hormone levels.
Steroidal androgens and nonsteroidal (or pure) anti-androgens can block androgen receptors and lower androgen production from the adrenal glands, ovaries, and pituitary glands.
These pills, which have both estrogen and progesterone, may help shrink the cysts from PCOS. The estrogen can also help reduce excess hair.
Hair removal techniques are a non-medical way to manage excessive hair. These are the same hair removal methods that some people use to keep their legs, and underarms free of hair.
Waxing, shaving, and using depilatories (chemical foams) are some common methods to remove hair. These methods are affordable and take effect immediately, but they require continual treatment.
Laser hair removal involves using concentrated light rays to damage your hair follicles. Damaged follicles can't produce hair, and the hair that's present falls out. With sufficient treatments, laser hair removal can provide permanent or near-permanent results.
Electrolysis is the removal of hair using an electric current. It treats each hair follicle individually, so the sessions can take longer.
Your doctor may prescribe the cream eflornithine to reduce the growth of facial hair. This cream works by interfering with a chemical in hair follicles under the skin, slowing hair growth. Your facial hair growth should slow after 1 or 2 months. Side effects of eflornithine include skin rash and irritation.
It is difficult to manage excessive body and facial hair due to hirsutism for a long time. In most cases, women with diagnosed hormonal imbalances respond well to treatment, though the hair can grow back if their hormone levels fall out of sync again. To live with hirsutism, you must manage your hormone levels, manage your weight, plan a nutrient-rich diet, and seek support if the symptoms are distressing.