Did you know that a Sikh woman named Harnaam Kaur holds the world record as the youngest woman with a full beard? Facial hair in women is a real thing. And while some women have made their peace with it and even made it an extension of their personality a la Harnaam, most of us lesser mortals still find it difficult to tolerate the embarrassment. However, to cure yourself of hirsutism (that’s the real term for excess female body hair), you need to know the causes behind it. And trust me, being premenopausal is not the only reason. Let’s take a look at a few other causes below.
While high levels of testosterone are usually to blame for this phenomenon in women, another common cause of it among younger women is PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). This disorder is responsible for increasing your androgen levels and causing irregular periods as well as polycystic ovaries (1).
If you are obese, chances are your testosterone levels will be higher than other women, hence causing hirsutism. Excess fat in the abdominal region can also impact your insulin resistance and consequently amplify the production of androgen.
3. Hormonal Imbalance
Disorders associated with hormonal imbalances are as much responsible for hirsutism as the two mentioned above. These disorders mostly affect your pituitary or adrenal glands and cause the excess secretion of testosterone. Such disorders include:
Adrenal hyperplasia – This disorder is characterized by inflamed adrenal glands and results in the overproduction of male hormones.
Pituitary adenomas – This is a type of a non-cancerous tumor that secretes the hormone called prolactin. This hormone causes the increased production of androgens (2).
Cushing syndrome – The cause of Cushing syndrome are tumors located either in the adrenal or pituitary gland.
Not all kinds of tumors can give rise to hirsutism. Only those that affect your pituitary and adrenal glands are responsible. However, in some cases, tumors in your ovaries, digestive tract, or lungs can also cause hirsutism. This happens because these tumors can enhance the secretion of androgens in your body.
The last reason for your hirsutism might be the medications you take. Medicines like birth control pills that contain progesterone or anabolic steroids can wreak havoc on your hormone levels, thereby giving rise to that fuzz on your face, neck, chest, and stomach.
Your doctor will be able to help you determine the exact cause of your hirsutism. However, once you find out what is causing it, do not delay the treatment. Some of the ways you can combat hirsutism have been given in the section below.
Ways To Combat Hirsutism
Hirsutism is not incurable and can be treated with the right methods that are most suitable for your case. These methods can range from medication to diet changes. Read on to know about a few treatment methods for hirsutism.
1. Hormone Therapy Or Medicine
Medicines, such as eflornithine cream, or hormone therapy can be suitable treatments if your symptoms appear out of the blue (3). For example, if you suddenly feel that your voice has become grave, or you have developed excess amount of hair in certain parts of your body, or if your periods have stopped, you may want to consult a doctor and get the right medication for your symptoms.
2. Hair Removal Methods
If your facial hair growth is not out of control, you can simply use hair removal methods to get rid of it. Methods such as waxing and shaving are very easy and can be done safely at home. However, you should be careful and only use those products that are meant to remove hair from sensitive areas. If you want a permanent solution, laser hair removal is a good option.
3. Exercise And Diet
You know that obesity and PCOS are probable causes for your hirsutism. To fix this, you can shed the extra pounds with the help of the right diet and exercise. This is a very effective method.
4. Herbal Remedies
If you wish to get rid of your hirsutism naturally, herbal remedies are the way to go. According to Unani, you can try spearmint and neem to cure yourself of this disorder as they are loaded with anti-androgen properties. In fact, research backs the effectiveness of spearmint in this regard and found that a cup of spearmint twice a day can bring down testosterone levels to a great extent (4). Other studies show that nut grass and saw palmetto are highly effective options to treat hirsutism (5), (6). However, before you try these remedies out, it is vital that you consult your doctor.
If you happen to have hirsutism, do not fall into the pit of depression. Remember that with the combination of the right treatment methods, you can overcome this obstacle and be your beautiful self as always.