When Shaving Isn't Enough: 4 Tips For Effectively Managing Hirsutism

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Most females will experience unwanted hair at some point in their lives, but for some females, unwanted hair is excessive and can be a life-long battle. If you are plagued by hirsutism, there are ways to help manage the condition.

Manage Your Weight

Excess weight is not the cause of hirsutism, but it can be a contributing factor. Higher body masses are associated with increases in the male hormone, testosterone, which contributes to hirsutism. Your diet can be just as important in managing hirsutism, whether or not you are overweight. If you eat meat, you want to rely on hormone-free meats, especially if you eat beef.

Steroids are often used in bulls to increase muscle mass. The steroids contain androgens and are similar to those used by some competitive bodybuilders. Since you already experience elevated level of androgens, hormones in your diet can make the problem worse. You may want to consider adding soy-based products into your diet, which have plant-based estrogens.

Ask For An Ultrasound

Hirsutism is one of several symptoms also associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Without a thorough gynecological examination that includes an ultrasound of your reproductive organs, there is no way of knowing you have PCOS. The symptoms associated with PCOS include an abnormally delayed onset of menstruation and few menstrual cycles per year. The typical range for females to begin having menstrual periods is approximately nine to 16 years old. Some women with PCOS were adults when they had their first period.

Women with PCOS may have fewer than eight menstrual cycles each year, but this number can be misleading. PCOS occurs when the hormones that regulate egg production create cysts, rather than releasing an egg. In theory, an anovulatory cycle prevents you from having a period. This is not always true. You may continue to have menstrual periods, which are often heavy, even when an egg is not released from your ovary. An ultrasound is the easiest method of observing the function of your ovaries. If you have PCOS, many cysts will be visible inside your ovaries.

Consider Birth Control

Even without a diagnosis of PCOS, you may want to discuss with your doctor the use of hormonal birth control methods. The hormones in some birth control pills can help reduce the extra male hormones produced in your body, thereby reducing unwanted hair growth. The most effective birth control methods for the reduction of hirsutism are combination pills, because they contain estrogen.

Your primary care doctor or gynecologist will need to determine your risk for stroke or blood clots before prescribing combination pills. If you are overweight, smoke, have migraines or have a family history of stroke, the risk of using a combination pill is not worth any potential benefits.

Use Long-Term Hair Removal Methods

Laser hair removal is the ideal option for hirsutism because you probably have many large areas of hair to remove. Not only can permanent hair removal techniques improve your confidence, they can save you time and money since you may need to shave daily to keep hair from being noticeable. You may need several treatments on each area to prevent the hair from returning. Although it is tempting to remove obvious facial hair first, you may want to start treatments on a small, discreet area.

Each person is different and you want to have an indication of how your skin reacts to laser treatments before having treatments on an obvious area. Many women with hirsutism also deal with hormone-related acne. If you are considering laser hair removal, you will want to discuss the treatment of acne while you are undergoing hair removal, since you may experience a resurgence in acne.

Hirsutism is often an external manifestation of a hormone-based condition. Although you are unlikely to cure the underlying hormonal imbalance, there are ways to regain a proper androgen and estrogen balance, and reduce both the internal and external symptoms.