Hirsutism is a condition that features with increased growth of hair in women. The whole body is affected and the hair is long, thick and coarse. It may be genetically inherited or present one of the symptoms of some other diseases. To fully understand the condition it is important to explain the difference between two types of hair. The first one is vellus hair which is a soft hair without color short in length and present in women in specific body areas such as face, chest and beck. It is present but not visible so it does not make any cosmetic problems. On the other hand so called terminal hair is much longer, dark brown or black and curly and it grows on the scull in pubic area, and armpits. Both genders normally present growth of this type of hair in previously mentioned body areas. Still in hirsuitism in women terminal hair tends to grow in those regions where it is normally not present. This leads to significant problems mainly esthetic.
The condition is caused by increased level of male hormones (androgens) in blood. This is present in following conditions: genetically predisposed patients, polycystic ovarian syndrome, ovarian tumors, and disorders of adrenal gland.
Before initialization of any treatment the very cause of hirsutism has to be established. The levels of androgen hormones in blood are measured. Additional examinations such as specific X ray studies of ultrasonography of pelvis or renal area are conducted. The function of ovaries and adrenal gland are checked as their malfunctioning may be a primary cause of hirsutism.
The goal of the treatment is to take care of the underlying cause. Then all the excessive hair needs to be removed. If there is hormonal imbalance the hormones need to be brought under control. In case there are no ovulations induction of ovulation will be the first and most important objective. In case of increased activity of adrenal gland one is prescribed low doses of corticosteroids. All of the mentioned may be helpful to stop the process of villous hair transformation into terminal hair. Still there is another challenge and it includes eradication of the terminal hair. Cosmetic therapy mainly includes waxing of the affected region. Shaving is the easiest method but the terminal hair tends to become thicker and strong if one is shaving regularly. Depilation or epilation are better options. Electrolysis is the only way to permanently remove unwanted hair. A needle is placed into the follicle and the electric currency is then released. This way the follicle is permanently damaged and the hair stops growing. Lasers have been used successfully in hair removal. This process is rather speed and painless. It is potentially permanent and is of course advisable to all those those body are largely covered in hair.