Hirsutism or excessive hair growth is a medical disorder characterized by excessive hair development in parts of the body where hair is normally seen in men but not in women. This disorder causes coarse, black hair to develop in areas such as the face, chest, back, and abdomen. It frequently causes emotional pain and low self-esteem in people who encounter it.
This excessive hair growth is often caused by an excess in androgens, which are male sex hormones found in females in lower concentrations. Androgens can promote the growth of terminal (coarse) hair in locations where it is uncommon in women. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal condition that affects many parts of life, is the most common cause of hirsutism.
Symptoms of Hirsutism:
One can know that they might have hirsutism by checking if they have any of the symptoms listed below:
- Excessive Hair Growth: The most visible sign is the development of coarse, black hair in areas where women normally have fine or light hair. Upper lip, chin, chest, back, and abdomen can all be affected.
- Dark, Coarse hair: Hair that grows in hirsutism-affected areas is frequently thicker and darker than surrounding hair.
- Unusual hair growth patterns: Hair may grow in a male-like pattern, such as a “beard” on the face or a “treasure trail” down the abdomen.
- Acne: Elevated androgen levels can induce increased sebum production, which can lead to acne.
- Oily Skin: Androgen-related oil production can also cause oily skin.
- Irregular Menstrual Cycles: Hirsutism can sometimes be linked to irregular menstrual cycles or the absence of periods (amenorrhea).
- Male-Pattern Baldness: In some circumstances, excess hair growth is followed by male-pattern baldness or scalp hair thinning.
- Voice Changes: Another potential symptom is deepening of the voice, however this is less common and usually linked with more severe cases of androgen excess.
Causes of Hirsutism:
The main cause of hirsutism is an overabundance of androgen hormones, also known as “male hormones.” Testosterone is the most common androgen. The following are some of the most common causes of hirsutism:
- PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome): This is the most common cause of hirsutism. PCOS is a hormonal condition characterized by high androgen levels, insulin resistance, and ovarian cysts. In addition to hirsutism, it frequently causes irregular menstrual cycles, acne, and weight gain.
- Idiopathic Hirsutism: The actual cause of hirsutism cannot always be determined. This is known as idiopathic hirsutism. While androgen levels are raised, they are not as elevated as in other disorders such as PCOS.
- Adrenal Gland Disorders: Conditions such as congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) or adrenal tumors can cause the adrenal glands to produce too much androgens. These disorders may result in hirsutism.
- Cushing’s syndrome: This condition is caused by continuous exposure to excessive quantities of the hormone cortisol. Adrenal gland dysfunction or the use of corticosteroid drugs can also cause it. Cortisol excess can result in excess hair growth.
- Drugs: Certain drugs, such as anabolic steroids, anticonvulsants, and hormonal therapies, might result in hirsutism as a side effect.
- Tumours: On rare occasions, tumours in the ovaries or adrenal glands can produce androgen overproduction, resulting in hirsutism.
- Insulin resistance: Insulin resistance, which is common in disorders such as PCOS and obesity, can contribute to increased androgen production and hirsutism.
- Genetics: A person’s family history influences his or her proclivity to acquire hirsutism. Some people may be prone genetically to excessive hair growth.
How PCOS causes Hirsutism?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal condition that affects the ovaries, causing a variety of symptoms such as excessive hair growth. Hirsutism is a condition that causes excessive hair development in parts of the body where hair is generally more prominent in men, such as the face, chest, and back. PCOS can cause hirsutism via the following mechanisms:
- Hormonal imbalances: PCOS is largely characterized by a sex hormone imbalance, particularly elevated levels of androgens, which are typically referred to as “male hormones” despite the fact that they are present in both males and females. These androgens, including testosterone, can cause females to acquire male-pattern hair growth.
- Insulin Resistance: Many people with PCOS have insulin resistance, which is a condition in which the body’s cells do not respond adequately to insulin. This can result in increased insulin levels in the blood. Insulin resistance is thought to contribute to the ovaries’ overproduction of androgens, which can exacerbate hirsutism.
- Ovarian Dysfunction: Because the regular follicle formation and ovulation processes are disrupted in PCOS, the ovaries frequently produce tiny cysts. These cysts can create more androgens, which contributes to excessive hair growth.
- Increased Hair Follicle Sensitivity: Androgens encourage the growth of terminal hair (thicker and darker hair) in places that are not normally susceptible to androgens. Individuals with PCOS may have more sensitive hair follicles to the effects of androgens, leading to the development of hirsutism.
- Genetic Predisposition: Genetic predisposition can influence how people with PCOS react to hormonal fluctuations. Some persons may be predisposed genetically to developing excessive hair growth in reaction to androgen imbalances.
How to stop hair growing on body?
There are few topical treatments for preventing this excessive hair growth:
- Hair Removal Creams: These creams can remove hair momentarily, but the results are fleeting.
- Waxing and threading: It eliminates hair from the root, resulting in longer-lasting results than shaving.
- Laser Hair Removal: By targeting the hair follicles with laser radiation, a series of treatments can drastically reduce hair growth.
- Electrolysis: This procedure uses an electric current to kill hair follicles, which might result in permanent hair loss.
However, unless we treat the underlying cause of Hirsutism the hair growth will come back even after doing the above treatments. Hence treating the root cause of this hair growth i.e., PCOS alone can give the permanent solution for this problem.
Treatment of PCOS helps in treating Hirsutism ?
Yes, treating Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) can frequently aid in the management of hirsutism caused by PCOS. PCOS is a hormonal condition that can cause irregular menstrual periods, ovarian cysts, weight gain, insulin resistance, and excessive androgen (male hormone) production.
5 pillar strategy to treat PCOS naturally:
- Eat Right: Embrace living, water-rich, whole, plant-based foods that nurture our genetic potential. By opting for local and seasonal choices, we honor nature’s wisdom. Eliminating packaged and processed foods liberates us from epigenetic imprints, elevating our hormonal health.
- Move More: Embark on a journey of holistic lifestyle changes, where staying active transcends mere exercise. Embracing constant movement throughout the day optimizes epigenetic expression, igniting hormonal balance. Engage in pleasurable physical activities, dance, or even mindful walks to unlock the power of epigenetic triggers.
- Breathe Aware: As we deepen our understanding of Pranayama, the science of breath, we access a profound gateway to support gland function and harmonize hormones. Harnessing the breath’s epigenetic influence, we transcend the ordinary and elevate our hormonal well-being.
- Sleep Better: Unlock the secrets of deep sleep, a transformative practice for healing and regeneration. With the art of Yog Nidra, we embrace epigenetic potential, unearthing hormonal harmony in the realm of dreams. Rejuvenate your entire being through this exquisite dance with the epigenetic clock.
- Mind Free: Journey into the realm of emotions, thoughts, and stress resilience, where journaling, gratitude, and emotional practices become our guiding compass. Embracing epigenetic intelligence, we shift our narrative from stress to serenity, empowering our hormonal landscape.
To summarize addressing the underlying causes of any issue is the best course of action. Therefore, the best way to treat hirsutism permanently is to address pcos, which is the disorder’s underlying cause. Furthermore, by choosing the natural approach as explained above, one can avoid any side effects that would result from treatment with drugs.