Hirsutism is characterized by excessive hair growth in areas where women typically have little or no hair, resembling male-like hair growth.
This condition affects approximately 5 to 10 percent of women of reproductive age. For some women, particularly those with mild symptoms, hirsutism may be accepted without significant embarrassment.
However, in other cases, the noticeable increase in hairiness – which can appear on the face, breasts, and back – can lead to considerable psychological distress. This can have a negative impact on social interactions and relationships, thus requiring more comprehensive treatment approaches.
Why Does Facial Hair Increase in Women?
The primary cause of hirsutism in women of childbearing age is commonly attributed to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). However, if hirsutism occurs during premenopause or menopause, it is typically associated with a decline in estrogen levels. This decrease in estrogen prompts an increase in luteinizing hormone (LH) production, which, in turn, stimulates the production of androgens—male hormones such as testosterone.
The hormone responsible for regulating facial hair, as well as the quantity and quality of hair, is dihydrotestosterone (DHT). As menopause approaches and estrogen levels decline, there is an elevation in DHT levels within the hair follicles. Consequently, this leads to the growth of hair on:
- Upper lip
- Around the nipple area
Conversely, hair on the arms, legs, and armpits tends to diminish.
Aside from hormonal imbalances during menopause, hirsutism can serve as an initial and sometimes sole indication of an underlying androgenic disorder. Skin manifestations of such conditions may include:
- Adult acne
- Late-onset acne
- Male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia)
Hirsutism can also be a sign of underlying conditions like:
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Cushing’s disease
- Disorders of the female reproductive system
- Adrenal gland dysfunction
Additionally, it can be a result of certain medications, such as:
- Contraceptive pills
- Cortisone drugs
Regardless of the cause, it is important to seek evaluation from an endocrinologist, who will conduct endocrinological examinations and specific tests to determine the underlying cause of hirsutism and establish an appropriate treatment plan.
Therapies for Facial and Body Hair During Menopause
Many women use traditional methods such as waxing and depilatory creams to manage hair growth. However, there needs to be a solution.
Instead, it is crucial to seek guidance from a specialist who can recommend a personalized and effective solution based on factors such as:
- Hair type
- Underlying causes
- Specific treatment areas
One efficient and accessible method is the Alexandrite epilating laser, considered one of the most advanced medical devices for hair removal. It is important to note that the Alexandrite laser should only be used in specialized medical centers following a dermatological examination. This allows for using higher power settings, resulting in better outcomes.
With just a few sessions conducted with utmost patient safety, the Alexandrite laser offers a long-term or even permanent solution to the aesthetic concern of facial and body hair.
Furthermore, laser hair removal treatment, combined with potential drug therapy tailored to the underlying cause of hirsutism, can contribute significantly to restoring not only aesthetic but also psychological well-being in women, ultimately improving their overall quality of life.