Struggling with lots of facial hair? Perhaps, the hair which once never existed before is now in its full glory, thick and coarse? Well, if that is so, then you are not alone. Many women are struggling with excessive growth of facial hair these days. The hair appears to be very thick and coarse probably just like a male beard. If that is the case, chances are you could be having a condition called hirsutism.
Don’t be scared if you think you have hirsutism. It is a treatable condition. This article covered every piece of information you need to know if you have a sudden appearance of facial and hair and you believe that it is hirsutism.
What Is Hirsutism?
Hirsutism is a condition in women that causes excessive growth of unwanted hair on the face, chest and back in a male-like pattern. The condition usually occurs when the male hormone androgens, particular testosterone rises in the female body. This rise causes male-like hair in females.
According to research, Hirsutism is defined as the presence of terminal coarse hairs in females in a male-like distribution. It affects around 5-10% of women and is a very common condition. Self-care methods and effective treatment options are available for women who wish to treat hirsutism.
Causes of Hirsutism
The studies suggest that there can be many causes of hirsutism. Hirsutism may be caused by:
1. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is a common cause of hirsutism. In this condition, your ovaries produce unusually high levels of hormones called androgens. This causes an imbalance in the sex hormones of the female. This condition usually develops at puberty. Irregularities in the period, acne, obesity, insulin resistance, infertility and cysts in the ovaries are some of the characteristics of PCOS.
The exact cause of PCOS is unknown.
2. Cushing Syndrome
Cushing syndrome occurs when there are very high levels of cortisol present in the body. It can be linked with hirsutism because according to a study, the stimulating nature of ACTH on the reticulated area can cause excessive androgen secretion.
3. Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia
Congenital adrenal hyperplasia is a collective term for a genetic disorder that affects the adrenal glands. It is an inherited condition in which abnormal production of stereos hormones, particularly cortisol and androgen is noticed in the adrenal glands. This is an inherited condition.
Tumours can cause hirsutism but it is often considered to be very rare. A tumour which secretes androgens in the ovaries or adrenal glands of the female body can be a cause of hirsutism.
Other Symptoms You Should Be Looking Out For
The main symptom of hirsutism is thick, coarse, dark hair that grows on parts of the body where it would normally grow as fine, thin hair. For example, hair may grow thicker and coarser on the face, chest, back, lower abdomen, upper arms, or upper legs of women.
Hirsutism is stiff or dark body hair, that appears on the body where women don’t commonly have hair — primarily on the face, chest, lower abdomen, inner thighs and back. People have widely varying opinions on what’s considered excessive.
When high androgen levels cause hirsutism, other signs might develop over time, a process called virilization. Signs of virilization might include:
- Deepening voice
- Decreased breast size
- Increased muscle mass.
When To See A Doctor?
If you think you have too much coarse hair on your face or body consider that they are growing rapidly then take your doctor’s opinion. If you notice any sign of virilization consult your doctor right away. Excess facial or body hair is often a symptom of an underlying medical problem. Only the doctor could find out the actual reason behind the cause and provide the right treatment options.
You may be referred to a doctor who specializes in hormone disorders (endocrinologist) or skin problems (dermatologist).
Several factors can influence your likelihood of developing hirsutism, some including:
1. Family history
Sometimes it is observed that family history plays a crucial role in hirsutism. Conditions like congenital adrenal hyperplasia and polycystic ovary syndrome are genetic and run in families.
It is observed that hirsutism affects women of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and South Asian ancestry more.
Obesity is also a risk factor because being overweight could cause increased production of androgens, thus leading to hirsutism.
Temporary treatment for excessive hair growth.
Hirsutism can be emotionally distressing. Some women feel self-conscious about having unwanted hair. There are some temporary ways you can get rid of the hair.
Shaving is one such method. It is painless and although it doesn’t remove the hair from the root, it gives temporary relief from the excessive growth. You might have to shave often depending on how faster your grows.
You can wax your face too in order to get rid of this hair. It is slightly painful and can cause redness of the skin. Some people might be sensitive to waxing so be sure whether waxing suits you or not before getting into it. It removes the hair from the root hence the results last longer but they are not permanent. The hair grows back again.
Threading should be done by professionals. In this, you use a thread that pulls out the hair from the follicle. It is slightly painful but least damaging. The hair removed comes back after a long time.
1. Laser hair removal
The laser hair removal technique is a good way of getting rid of excessive hair growth. It is a long process in which you have to take 6-8 sessions depending on how many your technician recommended. It is slightly pricey but the results are worth it. You can be hair-free for 3-4 years or even more. The treatment is effective and works for most skin tones. Furthermore, it is not a very painful process. Some people don’t even experience any kind of pain at all.
In electrolysis, a tiny needle and a mild electrical zap are used to destroy hair roots one by one. It is a very expensive treatment. It can be time-consuming because each root is targeted one by one and it can be slightly painful as well.
Our Final Thoughts
Hirsutism is treatable. It can cause a lot of stress and self-consciousness but it can be cured with the right medications. Various methods of hair removal should be adopted if you think you need them along with the medications prescribed by the doctor.