Hirsutism is a condition of unwanted, male-pattern hair growth in women. Hirsutism results in excessive amounts of dark, course hair on body areas where men typically grow hair — face, chest and back.
The amount of body hair you have is largely determined by your genetic makeup. There's a wide range of normal hair distribution, thickness and color due to differences in heredity. However, hirsutism is a medical condition that can arise from excess male hormones called androgens, primarily testosterone. It can also be due to a family trait.
A combination of self-care and medical therapies provides treatment for many women with hirsutism.
- Deepening voice
- Decreased breast size
- Increased muscle mass
- Enlargement of the clitoris
CAUSES OF HIRSUTISM
At puberty, a girl's ovaries begin to produce a mix of female and male sex hormones, causing hair to grow in the armpits and pubic area. Hirsutism can occur if the mix becomes unbalanced with too high a proportion of male sex hormones (androgens).
Hirsutism can be caused by:
- Polycystic ovary syndrome. This most common cause of hirsutism is caused by an imbalance of sex hormones that can result in irregular periods, obesity, infertility and sometimes multiple cysts on your ovaries.
- Cushing's syndrome. This occurs when your body is exposed to high levels of the hormone cortisol. It can develop from your adrenal glands making too much cortisol or from taking medications such as prednisone over a long period.
- Congenital adrenal hyperplasia. This inherited condition is characterized by abnormal production of steroid hormones, including cortisol and androgen, by your adrenal glands.
- Tumors. Rarely, an androgen-secreting tumor in the ovaries or adrenal glands can cause hirsutism.
- Medications. Some medications can cause hirsutism. These include danazol, which is used to treat women with endometriosis; systemic corticosteroids and fluoxetine (Prozac) for depression.
Sometimes, hirsutism can occur with no identifiable cause. This happens more frequently in certain populations, such as in women of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and South Asian ancestry.
SYMPTOMS OF HIRSUTISM
Hirsutism is stiff and dark body hair, appearing on the body where women don't commonly have hair — primarily the face, chest and back. What's considered excessive can vary depending on ethnicity and culture.
When excessively high androgen levels cause hirsutism, other signs might develop over time, a process called virilization.
Several factors can influence your likelihood of developing hirsutism, including:
- Family history. Several conditions that cause hirsutism, including congenital adrenal hyperplasia and polycystic ovary syndrome, run in families.
- Ancestry. Women of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and South Asian ancestry are more likely to develop hirsutism with no identifiable cause than are other women.
- Obesity. Being obese causes increased androgen production, which can worsen hirsutism.
COMPLICATION OF HIRSUTISM
Hirsutism can be emotionally distressing. Some women feel self-conscious about having unwanted body hair. Some develop depression. Also, although hirsutism doesn't cause physical complications, the underlying cause of a hormonal imbalance can.
If you have hirsutism and irregular periods, you might have polycystic ovary syndrome, which can inhibit fertility. Women who take certain medications to treat hirsutism should avoid pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects.
PREVENTION OF HIRSUTISM
Hirsutism generally isn't preventable. But losing weight if you're overweight might help reduce hirsutism, particularly if you have polycystic ovary syndrome.
HOMOEOPATHIC MEDICINE FOR HIRSUTISM
Oleum Jecoris Aselli
Useful for abnormal growth of hair on the face of a woman, particularly on the chin and upper lips. The hair on the face could be short, dark & thick. It is used to treat amenorrhoea and oligomenorrhoea, both of which develop as a result of hormonal imbalance in a female’s body. There can be soreness of both ovaries along with dysmenorrhea.
Usefull for unwanted facial hair which usually occurs due to a hormonal imbalance. Useful where PCOS or disturbed menses are the causes for the facial hair to occur. Usually, the menses are late, scanty with pain in the abdomen. It is also used to treat cases of induration of the ovaries.
Useful for hirsutism with unwanted facial hair that occur due to ovarian cysts or tumors. It primarily acts upon the female genitalia and the skin.Given to the patient who tends to feel worse during menses, which are too early, profuse, clotted and of brief duration.
Useful for unwanted facial hair that grows on the upper lip. Acne on the face may also be present. Menses may be too early, too profuse, and the flow is usually observed at night. The patient can be thin and anemic, with an excessive dryness of the skin and mouth. This medicine is also used to treat female sterility also.
Useful for unwanted facial hair in females who have a tendency to grow fat. Usually, the patients who require this remedy have a slow metabolism, resulting in deposition of fat over the body. There is hormonal irregularities which lead to menstrual disturbances. The menses may occur too early, and be profuse. They also last for a longer duration. These disturbances further initiate the growth of unwanted facial hair.