All women desire a head full of thick lustrous hair, but are always looking for some way of hair removal from the rest of their body. Most women want some permanent method of hair removal from their face, hands, legs, underarms and at times, even the genital area.
Mostly women have few, really fine hair on their face, but certain women have a lot of dark coarse hair on their face as well as other parts of the body. The condition is known as hirsutism and is actually much more common than most people might think.
Here are some of the most common causes of hirsutism:
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The actual cause of hirsutism is still unknown, but studies have shown that the condition does tend to run in the family. Normally, men are supposed to produce androgens, while women produce estrogen; however when women start producing more androgen, they face the problem of extra and often unwanted hair.
One cause that is often considered to be the reason for hirsutism happens to be PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome. PCOS and certain other hormonal conditions could lead to acne, diabetes, irregular menstruation, in addition to the unwanted hair growth.
In certain situations, the release of male hormones could be because of a tumor in the adrenal gland. If there is a tumor or cancer in the ovaries, that too could lead to hirsutism. Some of the other conditions that could contribute to excessive hair include hyperthecosis, Cushing syndrome and congenital adrenal hyperplasia.
There are also certain medications that could lead to unwanted hair growth, such as Minoxidil, testosterone, glucocorticoids, phenytoin, danazol, cyclosporine, anabolic steroids and DHEA.
It is important to remember that hirsutism is not a dangerous condition, just an embarrassing one for most women.
These are the symptoms that could indicate to hirsutism:
While the most obvious symptoms include the presence or growth of coarse hair in certain parts of the body, there are more specific symptoms you can look for. These include dense hair growth in:
- Upper lip and chin
- Abdomen and chest
- Buttocks and inner thighs
You might notice that even when you shave or apply hair removal cream, the hair will grow back with the same density, really soon.
When a doctor’s help will become important:
If the hair growth is not out of control, there is no need to worry and you can simply use hair removal methods. However, there are certain situations wherein you will need to meet a doctor, including:
- Sudden increase in hair growth, especially over face.
- Noticing distinctively male features such as deeper voice, decrease in breast size and an increase in muscle mass
- Irregularity of periods or increase of weight
What you can expect on your first doctor’s visit:
Should the need arise for you to meet a doctor for your hirsutism, there are certain things you need to be prepared for. Here is what you can expect:
- You might have to undergo a physical examination, which could include a pelvic exam
- You will have to discuss your entire medical history and the symptoms that you have been noticing and heir duration.
- You will be asked whether other members in your family have had similar problems
- The medications which you are currently taking on will have to be examined
- You might be asked about your periods, their regularity and even whether you are pregnant
- You will also be asked about whether you have noticed a decrease in your breast size or an increase in muscle mass
You could also be asked to undergo a range of blood tests, such as:
- Dihydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S)
- Luteinizing hormone (LH)
- Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)
Your doctor might also ask you questions regarding your consumption of birth control pills or anti androgen medications. You might also be asked whether you have had laser hair removal procedures done before.
What you can do at home:
It is important to understand and accept the fact that hirsutism is a long term condition, but controlling the same can be done at home too. Here are some of the common methods of removing excessive hair:
- You can shave your hair, and even though there are several people who think that this leads to more hair growth, it does not.
- You can bleach or lighten your hair, which will make the hair a little less noticeable.
- Although a little painful, there is also the option of waxing or hair plucking. The possible side effects include darkening of skin, itching, appearance of reddish bumps and even scarring.
- You could also try chemical hair removers, which are often effective, although they might have a foul smell and also can cause rashes.
- This is the best idea to remove unwanted hair with this home remedy easily. You can get rid from raw papaya glue and turmeric powder. Take 1 teaspoon papaya glue and add ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder, massage your face for 15 minutes with this paste. Wash your face with warm water and you can do it once or twice in week.
You could also look at more long term solutions such as electrolysis and laser hair removal, which will allow you to remain hair free for a longer time.
What are the possible methods of treatment:
Now that we have looked at some of the methods of hair removal that can be done at home or without much medical intervention, let’s look at some methods that do need medical advice:
- Medication – Certain birth control pills and anti-androgen medicines are known to help reduce unwanted hair, but which will suit you is something only a doctor will be able to tell you.
- Electrolysis and laser hair removal – You first need to know whether you are an eligible candidate for the same or not. If you are, then you need to make sure that you are getting the procedures completed only through a reputed clinic. Laser hair removal if done right, is a relatively painless procedure which can give you much relief from the hassles of shaving or waxing.