The decision to treat hirsutism is sometimes a matter of personal choice. There is a wide range of “normal” amounts of body hair among women. Race and ethnicity play a major role in the growth of body hair. As an example, Asian and Native American women tend to have little body hair, whereas Middle Eastern and Mediterranean women tend to have moderate to large amounts of body hair.
Our culture also determines how much hair is cosmetically acceptable and how important it is to remove “excessive” hair. The psychological impact of hirsutism can range from annoying to severely disabling. Any woman who is troubled by hirsutism should not hesitate to ask her healthcare provider about treatment options.
Treatment expectations — The treatment of hirsutism requires patience, because hair follicles have a life cycle of about six months. Most medications must be taken for six months before a noticeable improvement occurs. In the meantime, the existing hair can be mechanically removed or bleached, and some women continue to use these methods in combination with medication.
Your provider will monitor the progress of treatment and may repeat tests if he or she is concerned about an underlying condition. If a medication is ineffective initially, the dose or type of medication may be changed.
Duration of treatment — Hirsutism is usually treated indefinitely because, in most cases, the body continues to produce excess androgens. However, hirsutism treatments must be stopped before becoming pregnant.
Some women eventually decide that the results of treatment are not worth the time, effort, and cost, or they grow more comfortable with their body hair.
Treatment for hair growth related to PCOS — The hirsutism of PCOS and idiopathic hirsutism are treated in similar ways. The treatment of PCOS may also involve treatment of infertility, diabetes, and risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
●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 , effective and inexpensive. To find a qualified electrologist, inquire regarding the individual’s training, experience, and licensing.
●Laser hair removal – Although expensive, laser hair removal can often reduce hair growth, particularly in those who are fair-skinned with dark hair. Most people require six to ten 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 — 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 lower the levels of 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 six 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,Cyproterone acetate is an effective antiandrogen that is used commonly in Europe and Canada, where it is a component of a birth control pill (Diane, Diane-35, Dianette).
For more health advice on hair removal procedures contact AbizArt today – 0794 142 934