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Hirsutism - Life Through A Lens

Published : Friday March 27, 2015 | Posted in : Women's Health
Vanity Mirror

Excessive facial has made it into the headlines again. According to the Daily Mail, a reality show being aired in the US, will show the plight of house wife, Annalisa Hackleman, who is debating whether or not to remove her facial hair, a feature which she has had since the age of 13. Although the article does highlight hirsutism- I can't help but think that titles such as 'bearded women' do little to address the seriousness that such a condition can have on a woman. So little is really talked about hirsutism, that understanding the causes of the condition and implications have on some women would better serve the public's knowledge and awareness. So what causes excess facial hair in women? The below health conditions have been linked with hirsutism.

What is hirsutism?

Hirsutism is when a woman, experiences excessive hair growth that is noticeably darker, thicker and coarser rather then fine, and fair. This excess hair can occur on the face, lower back, genital area, buttocks, and the face. Excessive female facial hair, known as facial hirsutism, often occurs alongside acne or seborrhoea. Although hirsutism cannot be treated, there are several treatment methods that may help to manage the condition.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Figures show that poly cystic ovary syndrome or PCOS, is the cause of hirsutism in around 7% of cases. PCOS is a condition which women have a number of minor cysts develop around their ovaries. As a result the balance of hormones produced is altered, making more of the male hormone testosterone then normal. Ovulation is reduced as a result. Symptoms of PCOS can include; acne, an increased sex drive, period problems, fertility problems, and weight gain. Due to the increased levels of testosterone, excessive hair growth such as facial hair can occur.

Menopausal women

During the menopause, several of the hormones in the body change. This is because the ovaries stop producing an egg. These changes occur because the body reduces the amount of hormones produced. Initially the levels of oestrogen decrease during peri-menopause, but eventually progesterone and testosterone levels also become affected. For some women, these hormone changes may result in higher levels of testosterone (the male hormone) produced, resulting in hirsutism.

Premenopausal women

Hirsutism can occur in women who have not yet started the menopause, otherwise known as premenopausal. This can by caused by a number of health conditions such as: Cushing's syndrome, being overweight, medicines, congenital adrenal, hyperplasia, certain medications such as anabolic steroids, tumors, and acromegaly – a condition that causes the body to produce too much hormone.

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