Symptoms Of Hirsutism: What Are Its Causes And Treatment Options?

Hirsutism is a condition in women where there is excessive hair growth on face and other parts of the body. In a normal woman it is not so. The hair in these areas is fine, thin and less visible. In other words in hirsutism, there is male pattern hair growth on face and in certain areas of body. Often you may see woman suffering from hirsutism having dark and coarse hair on cheeks, upper lips, chest, back and inner thighs. At least 5 to 10 percent of women in their childbearing age are known to get affected with hirsutism.

There are several reasons noted, but genetic predisposition and increase in secretion of male hormone called testosterone is mainly responsible for it. For a woman, having dark and coarse hair growth on face may be embarrassing and annoying. She may feel depressed all the time. Having said that, she should not worry as there is effective treatment for it.

What Are The Causes Of Hirsutism?

The main reason is excessive production of male hormone androgen in women, especially the testosterone. To a certain extent, androgen is also secreted in normal women. But when this level of androgen reaches higher than normal, it manifests symptoms of hirsutism.

Let us know in which condition there is excess growth of androgen in women:

  • Polycystic ovarian disease: it is a condition in women where there is excess production of androgen hormone. Women suffering from PCOD also have other symptoms such as excess gain of weight, absence of menses or irregular menses, and associated infertility problems.
  • Cushing’s syndrome is another condition responsible for hirsutism. In this disease there is excess production of cortisol, a type of steroid hormone. An abnormality in adrenal gland may result in excess secretion of the hormone.
  • Menopause: changes in hormone level during menopause may also cause coarse hair growth on upper lip, cheek and chin.
  • A tumor in ovary or in adrenal gland.
  • Intake of certain medicine is also known to cause facial hair growth in women. This may include, anabolic steroids, glucocorticoids, Danazol, phenytoin etc.
  • Family history of PCOS and certain ethnic women are at a greater risk of suffering from hirsutism.

Signs And Symptoms Of Hirsutism

  • Increased hair growth on face, upper lip, chin, cheek, chest, back, around the nipples etc.
  • Menstrual irregularity or even complete absence of menses.
  • Deepening of voice and male pattern voice.
  • Recession of hair on forehead. Also early male pattern baldness.
  • Acne.
  • Increase in the size of clitoris.
  • Depression.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Small breast size. Hair around the nipple and between the breasts.
  • Increased muscle mass.

Treatment For Hirsutism

In hirsutism, various hair removal techniques can be successfully used. These techniques generally address the cosmetic side of the problem without treating the underlying reason. If specific cause is diagnosed, then physicians suggest appropriate treatment, but in its absence other hair removal techniques are effective.

  • These techniques include waxing, shaving, bleaching, plucking, laser and electrolysis. Laser hair removal is effective as it destroys the ability of hair growth from its root.
  • Birth control pills can effectively balance the hormones and counter the effect of androgen hormones which are high in women suffering from hirsutism.
  • Natural remedies such as turmeric are found to be effective in making the coarse hair less visible. Mix pinch of turmeric powder in milk and apply it on face. Let it remain for 30 minutes and wash your face after that.

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