Hair growth is a natural process in humans, but when it occurs excessively or in places where it is not desirable, it can be a cause for concern. In women, excessive or hard hair growth can be a symptom of a medical condition called hirsutism. Hirsutism is when women develop excess hair growth in areas where men typically grow hair, such as the face, chest, and back.
Causes of hard hair growth in women.
Hirsutism is often caused by hormonal imbalances, particularly an excess of androgen hormones. Androgens are male hormones normally present in women in small amounts, but if they are produced in excess, they can cause hard hair growth. This hormonal imbalance can be caused by medical disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), adrenal gland disorders, or ovarian tumors.
Some women may be genetically predisposed to hirsutism. If other women in your home have experienced hard hair growth, you may also be more likely to experience it.
Certain medications can cause hard hair growth in women. For example, some medications used to treat epilepsy, migraines, and high blood pressure can cause hirsutism as a side effect. Steroids, such as those used for asthma, can also cause hirsutism.
Obesity has been linked to a raised risk of hirsutism.
This is because obesity can cause hormonal imbalances, particularly insulin resistance, which can contribute to excess androgen hormones in the body.
As women age, their hormone levels naturally change, which can cause hard hair growth. In particular, menopause can cause a decrease in estrogen levels and an increase in androgen levels, leading to hirsutism.
How to treat this condition?
Hirsutism, or excess hair growth in women, can have several underlying causes, such as hormonal imbalances, genetics, medication side effects, and certain medical conditions. The best way to treat hirsutism depends on the underlying cause. Here are some general tips:
Consult with a healthcare provider:
Your healthcare provider can diagnose the underlying cause of your hirsutism and suggest the best treatment plan for you. They may recommend blood tests to check your hormone levels or refer you to an endocrinologist, dermatologist, or gynecologist, depending on the underlying cause of your hirsutism.
Your healthcare provider may prescribe medicines to regulate your hormone levels or reduce hair growth, such as birth control pills, anti-androgen drugs, or topical creams like eflornithine.
Hair removal methods:
Several hair removal methods can be used to manage hirsutism, such as shaving, waxing, threading, and laser hair removal. These methods vary in effectiveness, duration, and potential side effects, so discuss the options with your healthcare provider.
Sometimes, making lifestyle changes can help manage hirsutism. Maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and reducing stress can help regulate hormone levels and improve symptoms.
It’s important to note that treating hirsutism can take time, and you may need to try a combination of methods to find what works best for you.
While hirsutism can be difficult to live with, treatments are available. Hormone therapy, such as birth control pills or anti-androgen medications, can help to regulate hormone levels and reduce hard hair growth. Additionally, cosmetic treatments, such as laser hair removal or electrolysis, can help to remove unwanted hair. It is necessary to talk to your healthcare provider if you are experiencing hard hair growth to resolve the underlying cause and develop a treatment plan.