Hirsutism (or hirsutes) is the term used for increased hair growth in women. It refers to a male pattern of hair, i.e. in the moustache and beard areas (chin),

or occurring more thickly than usual on the limbs. Hirsutism is very common.

There may be hairs on the chest or an extension of pubic hair on to the abdomen and thighs. What is considered normal for a woman,

and what is considered hirsute, depends on cultural factors and race.

What is the cause of hirsutism?

Hirsutism is nearly always genetic in origin. Female and male relatives may also have more hair than the average so hirsutism is normal in that family.

Unfortunately in our society, to be hirsute is thought unattractive.

The only reason that fashion models appear to have little hair, is that they spend a lot of time and energy removing it.

Although some women with hirsutism have increased amounts of male hormones or androgens (e.g. testosterone) – ie hyperandrogenism – most have normal levels.

The problem in these women is that the hairs are more sensitive than normal to small amounts of hormone. The hairs grow more quickly and thicker in response to it.

The increased hair growth is usually first noted in late teenage years and tends to gradually get more severe as the woman gets older.

The main conditions associated with excessive androgens are polycystic ovaries and less often, congenital adrenal hyperplasia.

What investigations should be done?

Blood tests may be arranged in women with hirsutism to evaluate male hormone levels, which could be due to a tumour or overactivity of the pituitary gland, the adrenal gland or the ovary.

Other causes of excessive hair and associated medical problems may also need to be evaluated.

Duquessa Skin Sanctuary offers IPL Hair Removal treatments at our Carlton North practice and on road at many of our Victorian and New South Wales regional partner clinics.

For all enquiries please call 03 9388 9500 or email info@duquessa.com.au