A comment we received from one of our readers a while back had to do with her body hair, which she said was coarse, and rather excessive. As our reader was planning to get married shortly, her condition was naturally some cause of concern for her.
Hirsutism is a name given to the growth of excessive hair in areas where women generally have none. This is hair growth similar to patterns found in men, in areas such as the chin or the chest.
This male pattern of body hair, also known as androgenic hair, can be distressing for cosmetic and psychological reasons; that goes without saying.
The Bearded Lady has long been the subject of curiosity and ridicule. However, Hirsutism may also be the symptom of another underlying problem.
Hirsutism is usually characterized by coarse or thick body hair on the chest, back or beard area. Apart from this, some women may also display other male characteristics such as a deepening voice, male pattern baldness, acne, decreased breast size and increased clitoris size, acne as well as increased muscle mass. Causes of Hirsutism could be:
- It is thought that high levels of insulin can cause Hirsutism.
- Insulin resistance is also a cause for it.
- Obese (and therefore insulin resistant women) are also at increased risk. It is also thought that among obese women there is also a conversion of estrogen to androgen and it is this hormonal imbalance that also could be the cause of Hirsutism.
- Hirsutism could be a symptom of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome which is a hormonal disorder where there could be excessive production of male hormones by the body.
- Cushing’s disease, which is another hormonal imbalance, could also be the cause.
- Sometimes it could be tumors that are the underlying cause; tumors in the ovaries or the adrenal glands could cause these organs to produce more hormones than required resulting in Hirsutism.
- Certain medications could also cause excessive growth of hair.
- Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (caused by genetic mutation) could be the cause for the Hirsutism.
While Hirsutism could primarily raise psychological issues based upon the cosmetic impact of thick and unwanted hair on the female body, many women would seek to concentrate on methods of hair removal.
However, this would be a mistake and a short sighted approach. It is more important to find out why the Hirsutism is caused and deal with the root cause.