Excessive Hairiness (Hirsutism)
What is excessive hairiness?
Excessive hairiness, also known as hirsutism, is characterized by abnormal hair growth on areas of skin that are not normally hairy. Although the condition can affect both men and women, it usually only presents a problem to women.
What causes excessive hairiness?
Excessive hairiness tends to run in families, especially in families of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and South Asian descent. The excessive hairiness in children and women may be caused by pituitary or adrenal glands disorders. In addition, women may develop excessive hairiness after menopause. Anabolic steroids or corticosteroids, and certain medications, also may cause excessive hairiness.
How is excessive hairiness diagnosed?
Although diagnosis of excessive hairiness can be diagnosed with a medical history and physical examination. Finding the underlying cause for the condition may include blood tests.
Treatment for excessive hairiness
Specific treatment for excessive hairiness will be determined by your doctor based on:
Your age, overall health, and medical history
Extent of the condition
Cause of the condition
Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, and therapies
Expectation for the course of the condition
Your opinion or preference
Treatment may include:
Removing the hair by shaving, plucking, waxing, depilatories, electrolysis, bleaching, or laser surgery
Medication (to control any underlying endocrine disorder)
Eflornithine is a prescription cream specifically used to slow down the growth of facial hair. It starts to work as soon as four to eight weeks after treatment is begun. The drug's possible side effects include skin irritation, a stinging sensation, and rash.
- Jones, Niya, MD
- Ziegler, Olivia Walton, MS, PA-C