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Hirsutism is a condition that causes women to grow excessive hair in certain areas of the body. it can cause embarrassment and be very upsetting for some people. The hair resulting from this condition is normally thick and dark rather than fine and fair, and it can appear on the face, neck, stomach and chest, as well as the anal and genital areas and front of the thighs. It does not always affect people in the same way and may be evident in just one or several of these areas. Hirsutism is sometimes associated with other conditions like oily skin and acne, though this is not always the case and it can occur without any obvious cause.
You might have guessed already, but the main effects of hirsutism are psychological. For many women, growing excess hair is embarrassing and it can be particularly difficult for younger girls who may experience pressure to look a certain way. Over time, coping with this condition can trigger low self-esteem, anxiety or depression.
The condition itself occurs as a result of excess of male hormones, known as androgens. Often this is caused by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), however in around 10% of hirsutism cases, there are no obvious causes.
There is no reason why you should suffer in silence and, if the condition bothers you at all, there is help available. Of course, you can try various hair removal methods and see how they work for you. There are short-term options such as shaving, plucking and hair removal creams, as well as longer term solutions such as waxing and laser hair removal. All of these methods have their drawbacks, however, such as pain, cost, fast regrowth or risk of inflammation.
If you are particularly concerned about excess facial hair, there is a prescription treatment available that specifically targets this. Vaniqa has been clinically proven to work in reducing excess hair-growth. This treatment is available as a topical cream, with the advantage that it is easy to apply and proven to be effective.
There are also options for hair-growth prevention. Many women find that taking the contraceptive pill can alleviate some of the growth (although this will not work after the menopause when hirsutism becomes more common). Bear in mind that it can take up to six months for this treatment to show any results.
As with any condition that affects your appearance, how you feel about it is very important. Unless your symptoms are very severe, it is likely that nobody else will notice it as much as you do. If you are struggling to cope, however, ensure you speak with a health professional as they may be able to suggest an effective treatment.