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Hirsutism: All You Need to Know

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Hirsutism: All You Need to Know

Dermatology | by Dr. Poonam Jalan | Published on 28/07/2023



Introduction

We live in a world dominated by delineating unreal beauty standards, it is important to acknowledge and celebrate the distinction present within every individual. Hirsutism, a condition determined by needless hair growth in females, is one instance of the different experiences that people have to experience in their journey of life. 

The condition is surrounded by stigma, taboos, and delusions even after being a common condition. Several females experiencing hirsutism often cope with issues like self-esteem, isolation, etc. as societal criteria have accustomed us to believe that extra body hair is not desirable and doesn’t look attractive. 

In this blog, we aim to share information about hirsutism and want to educate people that it is like any other disease that can be treated after consulting a healthcare professional. Kindly note that this write-up only is for informational purposes and recommend booking an appointment with The Calcutta Medical Research Institute for diagnosis and treatment options.

What is hirsutism?

Hirsutism is among the common conditions causing additional hair growth in females. It is more common in women than men. The patient might grow coarse, dark hair on their chest, abdomen, lip, cheek, chin, upper lip, and back. It is also referred to as peach fuzz sometimes as it develops in these areas commonly. This condition can lead to distress, but it is important to know that it is curable. 

What are hirsutism symptoms?

Hirsutism is primarily known for dark and stiff body hair whereas in general, females don’t have hairs such as the face, chest, abdomen, neck, and thighs. When the levels of androgen are excessively high, some signs and symptoms might develop over time and this process is called virilization. Here are some of the hirsutism symptoms:

  • Reduced breast size 
  • Muscle mass is increasing 
  • Acne 
  • Balding 
  • Acne
  • Clitoris enlargement 
  • Deepening voice

What are hirsutism causes?

There are several hirsutism causes which include: 

  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome- In this condition, females experience an imbalance in their sex hormones. As a result, it causes needless hair growth, obesity, multiple cysts on the ovaries, infertility, etc over the years. 
  • Cushing syndrome- This condition occurs when an individual is exposed to cortisol hormone high levels. It grows from the adrenal glands producing excessive cortisol or due to medications like prednisone. 
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia- It is a genetic condition determined by the unusual growth of steroid hormones involving cortisol and androgen. 
  • Tumors- Hirsutism is also caused by androgen-secreting tumors in the ovaries or adrenal glands. 
  • Medications- There are medications causing hirsutism which include minoxidil, danazol used for the treatment of endometriosis, testosterone, and dehydroepiandrosterone. If the partner involves using topical products comprising androgens, the person is automatic affects because of skin-to-skin contact.

How is hirsutism diagnosed?

Hirsutism diagnosis is initiated by a healthcare professional and starts by evaluating the physical examination of a patient. The doctor would want to gain information related to their past, clinical, and family history. Depending on the information, here are some of the usually recommended tests such as:

  • Blood tests: To check the hormonal levels 
  • Ultrasound for examining the uterus and ovaries by creating the images 
  • X-rays for assessing the ovaries and adrenal glands to avert the risk of any underlying conditions

What are the options for hirsutism treatment?

If there is no sign of endocrine disorder, then there is no need for hirsutism treatment. Here are some of the most common hirsutism treatments recommended by a doctor:

  • Medications: When self-care or cosmetic methods are not working for hair removal, it is important to consult a doctor for hirsutism treatment. It might take around six months to experience a huge change in hair growth. Some of the common medications option include oral contraceptives as it has estrogen and progestin. 

Oral contraceptives are recommended as they are for women who aren’t planning pregnancy. Second, recommended medication is anti-androgens as it helps in blocking androgens from linking to their receptors in the body. Spironolactone is the common anti-androgen drug recommended for hirsutism treatment. Lastly, the recommended option is topical cream like eflornithine for extra hair development in females. It can be directly applied to the affected area ensuring visible results of reduction in the hair growth. 

  • Procedures- Certain methods are used for longer results which are hair removal techniques combined with clinical therapy. Laser therapy is one of the surgeries recommended by the doctor. It involves the beam of laser to damage hair follicles and avert hair from growing. There might be a requirement for various treatments. Get in touch with your doctor to know the risks and benefits of laser therapy. 
  • Electrolysis- This treatment involves the insertion of a tiny needle into every hair follicle. The needle inserted emits an electric current for damaging and destroying the hair follicle. There might be a need for multiple treatments. Electrolysis is the best option than laser therapy.

Conclusion

Hirsutism is among the conditions that often affect females. This condition can be a symptom of underlying conditions such as PCOD, Cushing’s syndrome, an ovary disorder, etc. One must understand that unwanted hair can cause embarrassment and affect mental health. If you are diagnosed with this condition and have started to feel a sense of insecurity or developing symptoms like anxiety or stress, then make sure to book your appointment with The Calcutta Medical Research Institute in Kolkata. You will find the best diagnosis and hirsutism treatment in this multispecialty healthcare service. 

FAQs

 

How can I cure my hirsutism?

You can seek medical treatment like electrolysis and laser therapy. These are two surgical interventions that help to get rid of unwanted hair. 

Does laser hair removal work for hirsutism?

Yes, laser hair removal helps in managing overgrown hair without regular upkeep.