Hirsutism creates a tendency to have lifelong excessive hair growth. However, many women have a satisfactory response to medical treatment if they continue the therapy for long.
Excess body hair (hirsutism) may be distressing for any lady and this may be particularly worrying for a teenager who is just becoming aware of her sexuality. Hirsutism is excessive hair growth in certain areas of a woman's face and body, such as the moustache and beard area, that creates a "male pattern" of hair.
Women normally can have fine, pale, faintly visible hair in these areas, but heavy hair growth in a male pattern with coarse or coloured hair is not expected.
Expected Duration of Hirsutism
Most causes of hirsutism create a tendency to have lifelong excessive hair growth. However, many women will have a satisfactory response to medical treatment if they continue the therapy for several months or longer. A few causes of hirsutism (such as tumours that produce androgen hormones or tumours in the pituitary gland) can be cured with surgical treatment, radiation or both.
Cosmetic treatments can remove unwanted hair temporarily, and may limit hair re-growth in treated areas.
Most causes of hirsutism are beyond a woman's control. You should avoid unnecessary medicines that are known to cause hirsutism.
When to Call a Doctor for Hirsutism
If you have excessive, male-pattern hair growth or unusually rapid growth of male-pattern hair in a short period of time, you should see a medical professional. Also discuss hirsutism with a doctor if you have any symptoms of overproduction of androgens:
- Menstrual periods those are infrequent, irregular or absent
- Acne that is difficult to manage
- Deepening of the voice
- A receding scalp line or thinning hair in your head's crown area
- Decreased breast size or enlargement the clitoris
- Discuss hirsutism with your doctor if you have other symptoms that may suggest an underlying problem in the ovaries, adrenal glands or pituitary gland, including:
- Obesity (commonly seen in the most common cause of androgen excess, polycystic ovarian syndrome)
- Darkened, thickened skin ("velvet-like") in your armpits, groin or neck area
- Easy bruising, weight gain in your midsection or muscle weakness
- Leakage of milk or other fluid from your nipples when you are not breast-feeding
- High blood pressure, high blood sugar or a cholesterol problem
- Hirsutism prior to puberty or hirsutism that occurs suddenly
Because some medical problems resulting in hirsutism run in families, talk to your doctor if you have these symptoms, even if your hirsutism is typical for your female relatives.
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