Excessive Hair

Excessive Hair

Understanding excessive hair

Excessive hair refers to unwanted hair whether on the body or face. We all have hair on almost every part of our bodies, but some people have more than others. This can be embarrassing, distressing and difficult to manage, for both men and women.

The cause of excessive hair

Excessive hair (particularly in women) can be a symptom of a hormonal condition such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Sometimes excess hair growth has no identifiable cause; this tends to be more common in skin types from a Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and South Asian background. It can also be hereditary.

Excessive Hair in women: Hirsuitism

In women, excessive hair is often referred to as hirsutism. This is defined as hair in a male pattern; hair that is thick and dark, rather than fine and fair. Hirsutism occurs when females produce an excess of male hormones called androgens, or are more sensitive to these hormones. All women produce androgens; it’s the fluctuating levels which can cause problems.

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Excessive Hair and PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is one common cause of hirsutism. Although all females produce androgens, these usually remain at low levels. When there is a hormonal imbalance, excess hair can occur. This fluctuation of hormone levels and symptoms such as excess hair can be triggered by a medical condition called PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). Certain medical conditions and the menopause can also trigger hirsutism.

PCOS are benign cysts that form on the ovaries can affect hormone production, leading to irregular menstrual cycles and decreased fertility.

Additional symptoms can include:

  • fatigue
  • mood changes
  • infertility
  • pelvic pain
  • headaches
  • sleep problems
  • acne
  • weight gain

Excessive Hair and Adrenal gland disorders

Other forms of hormonal imbalance that cause excessive hair growth include these adrenal gland disorders:

  • adrenal cancer
  • adrenal tumors
  • congenital adrenal hyperplasia
  • Cushing’s disease

The adrenal glands, located just above your kidneys, are responsible for hormone production. People with congenital adrenal hyperplasia are born without an enzyme that’s necessary for hormone production. Those with Cushing’s disease have higher-than-normal levels of cortisol. Cortisol is sometimes called the “stress hormone.” All of these conditions can affect the way your body produces androgens.

Symptoms of adrenal gland disorders include:

  • high blood pressure
  • bone and muscle weakness
  • excess weight in the upper body
  • headaches
  • high or low blood sugar levels

Excessive Hair and Medications

Excessive body or facial hair growth can also result from taking any of the following medications:

  • Minoxidil, which is used to stimulate hair growth
  • anabolic steroids, which are synthetic variations of testosterone
  • testosterone, which can be taken in case of a testosterone deficiency
  • cyclosporine, which is an immuno suppressant drug that’s often used before organ transplants

In some cases, women may experience idiopathic hirsutism, which means that there’s no detectable cause for why the hirsutism developed. It’s usually chronic and may be harder to treat.

Treatment for Excessive Hair

Electrolysis Hair Removal

Even when the hair follicle is damaged or destroyed via laser or electrolysis, hormonal changes can cause new follicles to develop, meaning hair can re-grow in that area. Laser hair removal is very effective for larger areas of hair growth as it is proven for permanent hair reduction, although electrolysis is the only proven method of permanent hair removal, it does treat the hairs individually which is more precise however more time consuming.

Having a course of treatments will maximise results and longevity.

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If you would like further information please get in touch, alternatively book a consultation online.