According to the physician’s Merck Manual, the most common cause of excess hair growth in women is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrom, or PCOS. Excess female hair growth in traditionally male areas, such as the face, chest, and back, is called hirsutism and is often caused by hormonal imbalances.
Hirsutism is the growth of thick coarse hair in areas that women typically have fine hair or no hair, such as the upper lip, chin, chest, abdomen, and back. Most women will seek treatments to remove the hair, but that will not get to the root of the problem. The cause for the excess hair growth is due to a higher than normal level of androgens (male hormones). This could be from a problem in the ovaries or adrenal glands; hormonal changes from menopause; or certain medications. The most common cause of hirsutism is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Treatment options consist of weight loss, birth control, and/or spironolactone. These medications can help decrease androgen levels, but it may take 6 months to 1 year to see changes. Most important is to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the cause and appropriate treatment. For patients interested in hair removal, the preferred choice is laser hair removal.
Women who experience excessive hair growth may be producing too much androgen or not enough estrogen. Androgens cause the body to grow hair, and they can also cause acne, deepening of the voice, increased muscle mass, and interruption of menses in women. Estrogens suppress hair growth and tend to make hair lighter and finer.
Even if the body is producing hormones in the correct amounts, the hair follicles may be overly sensitive to androgens, causing them to produce heavier, darker hair than they otherwise would.
Laser hair removal permanently reduces hair growth, and it is most effective on dark hair. However, new, untreated hair will grow if the underlying medical cause for the hair growth is not addressed.
For hirsutism, treatments can include hormonal birth control, antiandrogenic therapy, or insulin sensitizers.
In addition to hirsutism, PCOS can cause infertility, depression, weight gain, and other symptoms. PCOS has also been linked to increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. Anyone who suspects she may have PCOS should see a doctor who specializes in the condition.
To schedule a free consultation for laser hair removal at Amerejuve MedSpa, call Houston (713) 960-6262 / Atlanta 770-509-0000 .