Hirsutism and PCOS
Are you bedeviled by coarse, darker hairs growing on your face, chin, neck, chest, back or limbs?
If so, you have a condition called "hirsutism".
What Is It?
Abnormal hair growth affects 5-10% of all women and a much higher percentage of women with PCOS. Women of European ancestry have higher rates than women of African descent. Asian women have the lowest rate.
You may have hirsutism (excessive hair growth) if you have coarse, mature facial hair, hair on the chest, back or arms, or excessive pubic hair.
Because physical appearance has so much to do with how people relate to each other, uncontrollable hair growth can be a painful experience. Women may be chronically stressed by the amount of time and money they spend removing unwanted hair, to say nothing of the frustration of having it continually grow back.
What Causes It?
Interacting factors - hormonal, genetic, and lifestyle - combine to determine how much hair you have, and where it grows.
Hirsutism is thought to be mostly due to excessive levels of androgenic hormones. Examples of androgens are testosterone, androstenedione, and DHEA. Testosterone is the main androgen we're concerned about. It's normal for men to have a lot of testosterone and for women to have some. When women have too much testosterone, body and facial hair overgrowth may result. When men have excessive testosterone, prostate problems can occur.
But even if your androgens are normal, you may develop hair overgrowth because your body is overly sensitive to hormones. And some women who have normal androgens and don't have PCOS will develop excessive hair, sometimes for unknown reasons.
Your genes are a contributing factor. Your inherited genetic predisposition may incline your metabolism towards creating conditions favoring the growth of unwanted hair.
However, what you eat, whether you exercise, how well you sleep, how you manage stress, and the pollutants you are exposed to directly influence what your genes do. So your facial and body hair growth is partially under your control.
There are basically two ways to handle this problem. You can physically remove or destroy the unwanted hair, or you can reduce the androgen and related hormone imbalances that are causing the hair to grow.
Useful Tips for Controlling Hair Growth (and Loss too!)
Helpful Natural Treatments
How to Reduce Hirsutism with Diet
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How to Remove Unwanted Hair
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Nutritional Supplements for Better Control
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