January 24, 2011

Causes, Symptoms and Treatment For Hirsutism

Posted in Category : Common Ailments

It is a well known fact that almost all humans have some amount of hair on the body, including women and children. The amount of hair that each person has is determined by the genetic makeup to a great extent. However, in case a woman seems to have developed excessive or abnormally large amounts of coarse and pigment hair, especially around the face, chest and back, then she may be suffering from a condition known as Hirsutism.

What is hirsutism?

Hirsutism can be described as unwanted, male pattern growth of hair, seen in women. This problem usually arises from the excess of a male hormone in the body, which is known as androgens. However, at times a woman may have hirsutism if it runs in the family. There are usually no physical complications that are a result of hirsutism; however, women who have an excess of hair, especially on the face and the neck, are bound to go through a lot of emotional distress and embarrassment. In fact, many women who suffer from hirsutism claim that they feel less feminine, because of all the hair on their body.

Although women of all races and nationalities can get hirsutism, this condition is more likely to occur in women who are of Mediterranean, South Asian or Middle Eastern ancestry. Studies indicate that around 10% of all the women in the United States suffer from some degree of hirutism.


One of the most common causes of hirsutism in women is the excess of androgen hormone in the body. There are several factors that could lead to the increase in this hormone. Some of the most common causes of hirsutism in females are:

  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
  • Cushing’s Syndrome
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
  • The use of certain medication
  • Tumors

Hirsutism only becomes evident after a woman reaches puberty and therefore in case a young child seems to suffer from this condition, it is essential to bring to the to notice of a doctor and to check with a doctor about the causes of hirsutism in children.


This condition is mainly characterized by the excessive growth of hair on those parts of the body, when men typically have hair. However, in case the levels of androgen in a woman go very high, it is quite possible to see other symptoms too, such as:

  • Acne
  • Deepening of the voice
  • Increase in muscle mass
  • Loss of hair only on the scalp
  • Reduction in the size of the breast

In case symptoms like irregular period also become evident in a woman, it is absolutely essential to consult a doctor and undergo treatment for hirsutism.


Most women who suffer from hormonal problems that lead to hirsutism are apprehensive about using medication and therefore, they are more interested in opting for a natural cure for hirsutism. However, in most cases, the treatment of hirsutism is mainly aimed at managing the growth of hair. Some of the most common ways of doing so are plucking, shaving, electrolysis, waxing, threading, bleaching and laser therapy. Some doctors may also ask women to take oral contraceptives of anti-androgen drugs to balance their hormone. Common remedies for hirsutism problems are weight loss and preventing insulin resistance.

Women who have hirsutism are quite likely to have a condition known as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) too. Moreover, women who are undergoing treatment for this condition and are taking medication are usually advised to refrain from getting pregnant. In order to avoid any complicated during the pregnancy, it is best for a woman to complete the treatment for hirsutism and PCOS, before planning a baby. Thereafter, it is also important to get a go ahead from the doctors, before getting pregnant.