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Hirsutism and unwanted facial hair

Updated on April 24, 2013

Unwanted Facial Hair


Hirsutism is defined as the growth of unwanted hair in women at different places in the body. It is caused by an excess of male sex hormones called androgens or an increased sensitivity to them. It is commonly seen on the face, chest, lower back and the buttocks. If the excess hair is on the face, it can cause acute embarrassment and affect the quality of life. It can also have significant psychological effect on the person affected. It is more common after menopause due to the change in the balance of hormones. It is estimated that up to 75% of women past menopause may be having excess facial hair. Hirsutism cannot be cured, but there are ways to manage the condition effectively.

If the person is overweight, losing weight can reduce the production of androgens and help in the elimination of unwanted hair.There are a number of methods to remove excess hair like Shaving, Bleaching, Waxing, Plucking, Threading, electrolysis and Laser hair removal. In cases where removal is not possible, disguising the hair suitably may help. The method of choice depends on which method works best for a particular individual and its affordability. If the hirsutism is mild, these methods are sufficient to manage the problem.

In women who have not yet reached menopause, starting an oral contraceptive pill may help control the problem.If hirsutism is affecting the quality of life and the person`s health seems not so good, it is wise for the affected person to consult a physician who may prescribe appropriate medication. The physician would also look for underlying conditions responsible for hirsutism like thyroid disorders, excess growth hormone, diabetes etc and give suitable advice.


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