Hirsutism

Hirsutism is a male pattern of secondary or post-pubertal hair growth occurring in women. It arises in the moustache and beard areas at puberty.

Hirsutism is usually first noted in the late teenage years and tends to gradually get more severe as the woman gets older. Hirsutism can involve a single site or multiple sites.

  • Facial hair: moustache, beard, eyebrows
  • Abdomen: the diamond shape of pubic hair extending to the umbilicus
  • Chest: around nipples or more extensive growth
  • Upper back
  • Inner thighs
  • People affected by excessive hair may suffer from great embarrassment with consequent psychosocial effects.

Genetically determined Increase in circulating androgens including testosterone. Mild hirsutism can develop in pregnancy. It is not yet possible to prevent genetically predetermined excessive hair growth. Insulin resistance associated with obesity can be reduced by weight loss and dietary control.

Polycystic ovaries, insulin resistance and obesity.

How is it diagnosed?

Hirsutism is diagnosed clinically.

How is it treated?

  • Physical methods of hair removal
  • Bleaching
  • Depilatory creams
  • Shaving
  • Waxing
  • Electric hair removers
  • Electrolysis/thermolysis
  • Laser therapy
  • Medical treatment of hirsutism
  • Hormonal treatment Hair removal creams
  • Women with the polycystic ovarian syndrome, particularly if they are overweight or have metabolic syndrome, may be prescribed metformin or rosiglitazone (more commonly used in type 2 diabetes).

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