Hirsutism: What You Need To Know
Life would be a lot easier for women if we didn’t have to spend so much time and effort removing unwanted hair. Whether it’s tweezing a stray hair, shaving our legs, or waxing our eyebrows, hair removal is an expensive and time-consuming task. This can become even more expensive and time consuming if you have hirsutism. Hirsutism is a condition that causes excessive growth of thick, dark hair in a male-like pattern on the face, chest, neck, and back. While all women have a certain amount of hair growing in these locations, with hirsutism the hair is much more pronounced. This can cause psychological distress and issues with self-confidence. There are several ways to treat hirsutism, including medications, traditional hair removal methods, and more permanent forms of hair removal. Which treatment works best for you will depend on the underlying condition causing excessive hair growth.
What Causes Hirsutism?
One of the most common causes of hirsutism is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). PCOS causes hormonal imbalances, typically creating more male sex hormones than female sex hormones. The condition starts at puberty and can cause symptoms like ovarian cysts, irregular periods, difficulty conceiving, acne, and excessive hair growth.
Other causes of hirsutism include:
Some ethnic groups have more hair growth than others and this hair is often darker. You’re also more likely to have more hair if there’s a family history of hirsutism.
Taking medications that have anabolic steroids or testosterone in them may have hirsutism as a side effect. If you’re worried about side effects caused by your medications, speak to your GP or prescriber before stopping them.
Cortisol is a hormone that your body produces naturally. Sometimes called the ‘stress hormone,’ cortisol also helps with blood pressure and blood sugar regulation. If your body produces too much cortisol, you may have Cushing’s Syndrome. One of the symptoms of this condition is hirsutism.
When women reach the menopause, their hormone levels start to fluctuate. This leads to symptoms like hot flushes, insomnia, mood swings, and hair loss on the scalp. Another common menopausal symptom is excessive hair growth in a male-like pattern, usually caused by an increased production of male sex hormones (androgens).
Like during the menopause, hormonal shifts during pregnancy can impact hair growth. The hair on your scalp may temporarily thin out while you start growing hair in places like your chin and chest.
One common way to treat hirsutism is by using hormonal birth control. Hormonal birth control is also frequently used as PCOS treatment. Combined hormonal birth control can help balance your hormones, especially if your hirsutism is caused by excessive production of androgens. Pills that have a higher amount of oestrogen in them may be more effective at treating hirsutism. Another effective method of treating hirsutism is with Vaniqa Cream. Vaniqa is a prescription-only topical cream that is applied directly to areas of the face experiencing excessive hair growth. It contains the active ingredient eflornithine that works by blocking an enzyme that’s found in the base of hair follicles. This causes hair to grow back more slowly and, in some cases, thinner and lighter in appearance.
Vaniqa Cream isn’t a permanent form of hair removal, but it can provide long lasting results. The hairs will be growing back slower and at different rates, so you won’t need to deal with hair removal as often. You’ll still need to occasionally use another form of hair removal like tweezing and shaving. Results should start to appear within 2-4 months of starting treatment. The longer you use Vaniqa, the more noticeable the results will be. Some women using Vaniqa may experience side effects, although these should subside once your skin gets used to the cream.
Side effects of Vaniqa include:
- Skin irritation
- Tingling skin
Natural Hirsutism Treatment
As any woman can tell you, there are several ways to remove unwanted hair naturally, with some easier and more cost-effective than others. Tweezing, shaving, epilating and waxing are some of the most common methods but they are short term and require frequent top-ups and maintenance. They also run the risk of skin irritation, ingrown hairs, and unsightly razor burn. The evidence is still limited, but women with hirsutism may be able to reduce the severity of their symptoms by adopting a few healthy nutrition habits. These habits will also help you sustain a healthier body weight, another factor that can reduce excessive hair growth.
- Eat foods high in antioxidants like blueberries, cherries, and squash.
- Cut back on trans fats and refined carbs and sugars.
- Swap out cooking oils with healthier fats like olive oil.
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day.
Some herbs may also help with treating hirsutism, although the science backing this up is limited. Before you start taking any herbs or supplements, check with your GP to ensure that they don’t have any contraindications with your current medical treatments.
- Tea Tree and Lavender Oils: For women with hirsutism without a known cause, topical use of these essential oils may reduce excessive hair growth.
- Saw Palmetto: Saw Palmetto may reduce the number of androgens in the body, but isn’t suitable for those on hormonal birth control or who take blood thinners.
- Spearmint Tea: Drinking 1 cup twice a day may reduce the amount of free testosterone in your blood. It can also lower the amount of androgen levels.
A final natural method of treating hirsutism is acupuncture. Often hailed as a cure-all for countless conditions, acupuncture is a well-studied form of eastern medicine. A recent, albeit small study, recently found that acupuncture can reduce hair growth, hair density, and testosterone levels.
Buy Hirsutism Medication Online in the UK
Vaniqa Cream is usually not available through the NHS and needs to be purchased privately through pharmacies like us. To boost your confidence and to reduce excessive female hair growth, fill out this questionnaire & buy effective hirsutism treatment online in the UK.