Hirsutism is a condition characterized by the excessive growth of body or facial hair in women, much like hair growth patterns seen in men.
SYMPTOMS OF HIRSUTISM
The hair grows thick and dark on the face, chest, back, upper arms, lower stomach, around the nipples and legs. Hirsutism may be related to menstrual disorders.
Polycystic ovary syndrome
Cushing’s syndrome (high levels of cortisol, a steroid hormone)
Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (an inherited condition characterized by abnormal levels of cortisol and androgen)
Tumour (tumor in adrenal gland or ovaries)
Other symptoms include:
Reduced breast size
Enlargement of clitoris
DIAGNOSIS OF HIRSUTISM
Dr Cook will collect your medical history to understand the reason behind your condition. You may be ordered blood tests to evaluate the variation in the levels of hormone.
A high level of the male hormone testosterone in the blood confirms hirsutism.
An ultrasound examination or CT scan may be ordered to examine the presence of cysts, fibroids or tumours in your ovaries. Laparoscopic examination and biopsy may be performed to diagnose cancer.
TREATMENTS FOR HIRSUTISM
Dr Cook may prescribe hormone therapy or oral contraceptive pills to treat hirsutism.
Surgical procedures may include the removal of fibroids, cysts or tumours.
Other cosmetic procedures, such as electrolysis (mild current targeted at hair follicles) and laser therapy (laser beam targeted over the skin to destroy hair follicles), and temporary hair removal procedures (waxing, shaving, etc.) may help to control the excessive growth of hair.