A guy travelling in a crowded bus meets a beautiful girl. He is taken aback by her beauty and is attracted to her. He cannot resist looking at her again and he takes a second look and finds that she has lot of thick hair on her face like males. He wonders what it could be and thinks that without this hair she might have looked gorgeous and his attraction fades away.
What Is Hirsutism?
Some women get thick hair on their face, chin, abdomen, shoulders and their back. The condition is called Hirsutism. This hair is dark and of coarse growth. Usually men have such hair on their face and women do not have this thick hair. About 5% to 10% of women face this problem and it is usually seen in Africans, Indians, people of Middle East and people of Mediterranean origin. It is not a simple cosmetic condition which goes off with shaving or waxing.
What Does It Imply?
It is sometimes caused by heredity and it is a condition caused due to the presence of excess male hormones called androgens. Testosterone which is present in excess in women is primarily responsible for Hirsutism. The excessive growth may vary depending upon the ethnicity. First the hair may appear and with time the other conditions which appear in women are
- Decreased breast size
- Increase in muscle mass.
- Deeping of voice
This is also known as male pattern hair growth.
Women usually have pale and faintly visible hair and if thick hair grows then they become conscious of this and avoid social interactions as much as possible. It is observed that it may get worse after the onset of menopause. Usually it starts with puberty and in some the late onset is seen.
- High circulating levels of insulin also contributes to this condition.
- Drug induced.
- High cholesterol.
- Sometimes induced by tumor and in such cases serious medical attention is very necessary.
If a girl has a normal menstrual cycle then, the physician comes to the conclusion that this is due to heredity. Girls having irregular periods having polycystic ovaries are prone to develop Hirsutism. Though not all girls suffering from polycystic ovaries will get it as only 5-10% of the women suffer from this.
In serious cases more tests are done to rule out the possibility of tumour. The physician checks to find out whether there is a serious condition of tumour in the pituitary gland and prescribes many tests. Ultrasound scan of the ovaries will also give a clear picture to the physician.
In serious conditions a step by step approach is taken by the physician to treat the patient. In minor cases when genetic factor is zeroed in not much is done. In women who are overweight a reduction in weight is advised. With reduction in weight this condition also gets reduced largely. If insulin is found to be the cause of Hirsutism then, a reduction in insulin levels may also show reduction in growth of hair.
Waxing and shaving are done by women to get rid of excess hair. Though these offer temporary relief nothing much is achieved as hair grows easily after some time. The side effects also remain as women loose the softness of the facial skin. Waxing needs to be done after a month.
Laser treatment is more effective as it removes the growth follicles of hair and you are able to see a better result. It is done by a plastic surgeon and the effects are long lasting though expensive. Women who can afford this treatment go for this as creams and waxing could be avoided.
Birth control pills are prescribed in certain cases as it counters the growth of testosterone in the ovaries. If a patient is administered birth control pills and with daily intake effects can be seen after about six months and in some cases it may take about a month to show results. A physician decides on the severity of the case and administers a proper treatment.
This condition can be only controlled and it cannot be prevented. Maintaining a healthy weight and an active lifestyle with a lot of physical activity will help women with this problem. If high cholesterol and diabetes is brought under control the condition reduces to a great extent. It is better to avoid certain drugs as it may induce Hirsutism.