Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Approximately 8 percent of women have a condition called hirsutism, which is the excessive growth of hair on the face, lips, arms, chest and legs. The condition is related to the overproduction of the male sex hormone androgen. It can also be related to certain medications, including anabolic steroids and oral contraceptives. Various herbs and natural remedies can be used to treat the condition. But always talk to your health-care provider before using alternative treatments for medicinal purposes.

Dietary Supplements


Taking calcium-D-glucarate twice daily may promote the detoxification of hormones and diminish symptoms of hirsutism. A natural supplement derived from cauliflower and broccoli called diindolylmethane has anti-androgenic effects and may help the body adjust hormone levels. Talk to your health-care provider, though, before taking dietary supplements that may influence hormones.

Herbal Remedies


Certain herbs have anti-androgenic properties and may relieve symptoms of hirsutism. Taking a twice daily dose of saw palmetto, black cohosh and/or chaste tree is a possible remedy for excess facial hair. Spearmint appears to be an alternative to anti-androgenic treatment. A study published in May 2007 in "Phytotherapy Research" concluded that drinking 2 cups of spearmint tea daily may decrease symptoms of mild hirsutism. The study involved 21 women and was conducted at the Suleyman Demirel University School of Medicine in Turkey.
Check with your doctor before using any herbal remedy to treat unwanted hair growth.

Natural Hair Removal Methods


Plucking and shaving are quick and inexpensive but temporary solutions for unwanted facial hair.
Plucking hair with tweezers is the most common way to remove undesired hair facial hair. 
Caution : Plucking can be painful and cause localized swelling. Shaving may cause new hair to appear thicker.

Eliminate Unnecessary Medications


Whenever possible, avoiding or eliminating drugs that are known to cause hirsutism may help reduce excess facial hair. Some oral contraceptives with progestin and bodybuilding steroids may contain androgens or have comparable effects.
In addition, some drugs used to treat migraines, nausea, high-blood pressure and mental illness such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia may indirectly cause the body to produce extra androgen hormones.

Hair removal and lightening 

Several methods can be used to physically remove or lighten excess hair so that it less noticeable. These methods can be used in conjunction with medication. However, women with hirsutism who are trying to become pregnant or are already pregnant cannot take medications for hirsutism. Pregnant women should ask their healthcare provider about the safety of the various mechanical and chemical treatment methods during pregnancy. Electrolysis and laser are both called “permanent hair reduction” techniques. However, for women with PCOS, hair will grow back after either treatment, unless medication to suppress hair growth is also taken (a birth control pill or antiandrogen).
  • Shaving — Shaving is a safe and effective method for hair removal but may require daily sessions.
  • Chemical hair removal, waxing, and bleaching — Hair removal agents and wax can be used to remove hair, and bleaches can be used to lighten hair. Depilatories and bleaches may cause skin sensitivity in some women, so be certain to follow the directions for patch testing.
  • Electrolysis — Electrolysis damages individual hair follicles by inserting a very fine needle into the hair follicle and applying an electrical current. Electrolysis is best suited for treatment of small areas, although larger areas may be treated with multiple sessions over time. The treatment is safe and effective, but it can be painful and is often expensive. To find a qualified electrologist, inquire regarding the individual's training, experience, and licensing.
  • Laser hair removal — Although expensive, laser hair removal is effective, faster, and less painful than electrolysis. It can often permanently reduce hair growth, particularly in those who are fair-skinned with dark hair. Most people require four to six treatments spaced approximately four to six weeks apart in order to achieve satisfactory hair removal, and maintenance treatments may be needed once every six to twelve months to remove the smaller fine hairs that grow back.
  • Creams — Eflornithine hydrochloride (Vaniqua®) is a skin cream that can be used to slow the growth of unwanted facial hair in women. It does not remove hair permanently. Noticeable results take about six to eight weeks, and once the cream is discontinued, hair returns to pretreatment levels after about eight weeks.
Weight loss 


 Weight loss in overweight women can decrease levels of androgens and lessen hirsutism. Women with menstrual irregularities may also notice that their cycles become more regular after losing weight.

Medications  (Suggestions*)

Several medications are available for the treatment of hirsutism. These medications can decrease the amount of body hair, stop the growth of new hair, and decrease the growth rate and coarseness of existing hair. Most of these medications must be taken for at least six months before improvement is detectable, and not all medications are equally effective in all women.
  • Birth control pills — Birth control pills change the levels of several hormones, including androgens. They are usually the first choice for the treatment of hirsutism, and between 60 and 100 percent of women with hirsutism will notice improvement when taking these medications. Birth control pills can also help establish regular menstrual cycles in women who have irregular cycles or who do not menstruate at all.
  • Anti-androgens — Anti-androgens are medications that directly decrease androgen production or block the action of androgens on the hair follicle. Because these medications may cause birth defects, an effective form of birth control (eg, birth control pills) is required for sexually active premenopausal women who take antiandrogens.
  • The most commonly used anti-androgen is spironolactone. Spironolactone may be recommended, in addition to the birth control pill, if excess hair growth does not improve adequately after taking a birth control pill for 6 months. If the initial dose is not effective after several months of treatment, a higher dose may be recommended.
  • Finasteride (Propecia; Proscar) is another option that is effective in some women, but it is not approved for use in women in many countries and is often not covered by insurers. Cyproterone acetate is an effective antiandrogen that is unavailable in many countries. 
* consult with the doctor before taking medications !!!


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