Hirsutism: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment Options

Hirsutism: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment Options

What is Hirsutism?

Hirsutism (HUR-soot-iz-um) is a medical condition characterized by excessive hair growth in areas of the body where hair is typically not found, such as the face, chest, abdomen, and back. It’s caused by an excess of androgen hormones, which can be due to a variety of medical conditions. Hirsutism can be embarrassing and uncomfortable, and it can also cause psychological distress.



                  Hirsutism. Excessive hair in females | DermNet


Causes of hirsutism


Hirsutism is a condition that causes excessive hair growth in women. It is usually caused by an underlying medical condition, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or an overproduction of androgens (male hormones).

1. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): PCOS is a condition in which the ovaries produce an excessive amount of androgens (male hormones) or have an imbalance of androgens. This can cause irregular menstrual cycles, weight gain, infertility, and excessive hair growth (hirsutism).

2. Cushing’s Syndrome: Cushing’s Syndrome is a hormonal disorder caused by an excess of the hormone cortisol in the body. This can lead to hirsutism, as well as other symptoms, such as weight gain and easy bruising.

3. Medications: Certain medications, such as glucocorticoids and phenytoin, can cause hirsutism.

4. Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia: Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH) is a genetic disorder that causes the body to produce an excessive amount of androgens. This can cause hirsutism.

5. Tumors: Tumors in the adrenal glands, ovaries, or pituitary gland can cause an overproduction of androgens, resulting in hirsutism.

6. Idiopathic Hirsutism: Idiopathic hirsutism is hirsutism that doesn’t have an identifiable cause. This is the most common type of hirsutism.

Symptoms of hirsutism

Hirsutism is a condition of unwanted and excessive hair growth in women. It can have many causes, including genetics, hormones, and certain medical conditions. Symptoms of hirsutism can include:

1. Abnormal and excessive hair growth on the face, chest, abdomen, and upper back.

2. Coarse, dark hair that is thicker than regular body hair.

3. Hair that grows in a pattern similar to male-pattern baldness.

4. Acne on the face, chest, and upper back.

5. Enlargement of the clitoris.

6. Thinning of the hair on the scalp.

7. Deepening of the voice.

8. Irregular menstrual cycles.

9. Weight gain and difficulty losing weight.

10. High levels of male hormones (androgens) in the blood.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to discuss them with your healthcare provider. Hirsutism can be treated with medications, laser treatments, and lifestyle changes.


Treatments for Hirsutism

Hirsutism is a common issue faced by many women, typically characterized by the growth of excessive, dark and coarse hair in areas where it usually isn't found, such as the face, chest, abdomen and back. Hirsutism can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, hormones, diseases, and medications.

There are several treatments available for hirsutism, depending on the severity of the condition and the underlying cause. The most common treatments are:

Hair Removal

This is a relatively simple and straightforward way to reduce the appearance of hirsutism. Hair removal can be done through a variety of methods, including shaving, waxing, depilatory creams, and laser hair removal.



Certain medications such as birth control pills, anti-androgens, and spironolactone can help reduce hirsutism by blocking the effects of male hormones like testosterone.

Hormone Therapy

Hormone therapy can help regulate hormones that may be causing hirsutism. It can be used in conjunction with other treatments, such as medications and hair removal.



In some cases, surgery is an option to treat hirsutism. Surgery may be used to remove the ovaries or adrenal glands, which produce hormones that can cause hirsutism.

Dietary Changes

Making certain dietary changes can help reduce hirsutism. This may include avoiding foods with high levels of testosterone, such as red meat and dairy products, as well as reducing your intake of processed foods, sugar, and refined carbohydrates.

These are just a few of the treatments available for hirsutism. It's important to speak with your doctor to discuss your treatment options and determine which one is best for you.



Hirsutism medication

Hirsutism is a condition in which a person has excessive amounts of dark, coarse body hair in areas where it is usually seen in men, such as on the face, chest, back, arms, and legs. It can affect both men and women, but it is more commonly seen in women. Hirsutism is caused by a number of factors, including hormonal imbalances, genetics, and certain medical conditions. Luckily, there are a number of medications that can help manage the condition.

The most common medications used to treat hirsutism are anti-androgen medications, which block the action of the male hormones (androgens) that can cause excessive hair growth. These medications can be taken orally or applied topically. Oral anti-androgens include spironolactone, flutamide, and cyproterone acetate. These medications can be used alone or in combination with other medications, such as birth control pills, to help control hirsutism.

Topical medications for hirsutism include creams and gels that contain eflornithine hydrochloride or tretinoin. These medications work by slowing down the growth of new hair. They may take several months to take effect, so it's important to be patient and stick to the treatment plan.

Hirsutism can also be treated with laser hair removal or electrolysis. These treatments can be expensive and can take several sessions to produce results.

No matter which treatment you choose, it's important to talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of each option. Medications for hirsutism can have side effects, so it's important to follow your doctor's instructions and monitor your condition closely.

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