Excessive Hair - KOTA Territory News

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Excessive Hair

 

Facts

  • Excess facial hair affects more than 40 million women in the United States
  • Hirsutism is a condition in which a woman grows hair in places where only a man would, such as the face or chest
  • Hirsutism is caused by the overproduction of androgens, which are the hormones responsible for masculine qualities in either sex
  • Although hirsutism can develop at any age, most patients begin experiencing symptoms during their childbearing years
  • During menopause, hirsutism is characterized by the thinning of underarm and pubic hair with gradual hair growth in other parts of the body
  • Oftentimes, women who experience unusual hair growth may dismiss the condition as hereditary and not seek medical advice if their mother or siblings have excessive body or facial hair
  • Excessive facial hair has been shown to have a major psychological impact on women, such as low self-esteem

Causes 

  • When accompanied by other symptoms, such as acne, interruption of the menstrual cycle, deepening of the voice, increased muscle mass or loss of breast tissue, hirsutism may signal a hormonal abnormality
  • In young girls who have not yet reached puberty, hirsutism is serious and could be a sign of a hormone-secreting tumor
  • In post-menopausal women, sudden or severe hirsutism could be caused by an androgen-secreting tumor
  • Excessive hair also can signal polycystic ovarian disease
  • Hereditary factors

Treatment

  • Oral contraceptives or estrogen replacement
  • Spironolactone, a medication that acts by decreasing production of and blocking the effects of androgens in areas that men typically grow body or facial hair
  • Lasers and light sources, which work by using light to generate heat, reduce the growth of hair (Anyone considering laser hair removal to treat hirsutism should consult a dermatologist first, as factors such as a person's skin type and hair color affect the success of this treatment)
  • Eflornithine (HC1 cream) 15%, a topical cream that blocks the enzyme that stimulates hair growth
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