Dealing with Hirsutism
Hirsutism is a medical condition that results in excessive hair growth on the face or body. The condition has been
observed in both sexes, although it is much more common in females. Women who suffer from hirsutism will usually exhibit
dark and thick hair on their face, chest, stomach, and back.
There are several known conditions and situations which can be a cause of hirsutism including excessive levels of male
hormones (androgens). In addition to hirsutism, other symptoms of excessive male hormones may include acne, irregular
menstruation, deepness of the voice, and increased muscle mass. Besides excessive quantities of male hormones, some
cases of hirsutism are caused by hair follicles that overreact to the minute quantities of male hormones which naturally occur in women.
There are also some medications, notably birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, and anabolic steroids, which
can cause temporary hirsutism symptoms to appear. The symptoms usually disappear when you stop taking the medications that are causing it.
Researchers believe there is sufficient evidence to indicate that hirsutism may be hereditary as symptoms have been observed appearing in multiple
generations of females. Hirsutism should not be confused with Hypertrichosis which is a condition where excessive hair
growth occurs in areas of the body where visible hair is not normally present.
Being overweight can sometimes trigger the release of excessive male hormones. If you are overweight then your doctor can provide a
diet and exercise plan. Your hormone levels will usually drop as your weight goes down. Shaving the affected areas is also a solution,
but those areas must be shaved regularly if you want to avoid the appearance of 'stubble'.
Depilatories, or hair removal creams are another good solution. Be sure to test your skin's reaction to these chemicals by applying a
small dab to the inside of your wrist and waiting for at least 24 hours to see if you have an allergic skin reaction.
Some people prefer to use a bleaching product which makes the hair fairly invisible. Like depilatories, you could experience a reaction, so
apply a small amount as a test and wait 24 hours.
Avoid plucking or waxing the affected areas as this can actually
stimulate hair growth by increasing blood flow which is the exact opposite of what you want.
Some people opt for either electrolysis,
which works by killing the hair follicle with a small charge of electricity, or laser hair removal methods
which use a tiny laser beam to destroy the follicles causing the hair to fall out. Both of these methods can be expensive and side effects may
include rash, skin discoloration, and scaring.
Note that most home electrolysis kits are generally ineffective.
Medical remedies include having your doctor prescribe an anti-androgen medication which reduce male hormone levels and, eventually,
slow down the growth of new hair.
Regardless of the method that you choose, remember that hirsutism can be treated and you don't have to live with the embarrassment of excessive
hair growth if you don't want to.