In many parts of the body, women have so-called vellus hair instead of terminal hair, which covers the body like a soft down. If, due to a hormone disorder, terminal hair (long hair) grows instead, the result is a lady’s beard and moustache, hairy arms and legs and sideburns.
Unlike hypertrichosis, which is a hormone-independent and usually genetically determined proliferation of hair, hirsutism is usually caused by an overproduction of androgenic hormones. About 5-10% of all women suffer from hirsutism. The prevailing ideal of beauty, one’s own perception of beauty and ethnic factors determine when body hair is perceived as too strong and unpleasant or unattractive. For the affected women, hirsutism creates a pressure of suffering that should not be underestimated, which makes the desire for targeted and lasting hair removal grow.
Causes of hirsutism
Although the trigger for increased hair growth is almost always an excessive production of androgenic hormones, this can have various causes:
- Familial idiopathic hirsutism
We all know the cliché of the southern woman of advanced age who wears her lady’s beard with dignity. But this cliché is based on the reality of a familial idiopathic predisposition. The increased production of male hormones during and after menopause, coupled with a dark hair colour, leads to this well-known and widespread phenomenon of hormonally predisposed, masculine hair growth in older women.
- Stein-Leventhal syndrome.
When ovarian cycle disorders increase with advancing age, the ovaries tend to form so-called polycystic ovaries. These usually harmless changes in the cell structures of the ovaries lead to an increased production of male hormones.
A metabolic disorder in the female body leads to stronger hair growth and other forms of masculinisation. Hirsutism is then often only part of a more complex transformation process in the female body.
- Androgen-producing tumour.
Even if the ovaries are affected by a tumour, the production of female hormones is disturbed. The production of the male counterparts, the androgenic hormones, increases as a result and regularly leads to hirsutism in women.
- *Pituitary adenoma
If the pituitary gland (hormone gland) is altered by benign growths (adenomas), the endocrine production of hormones also changes. One possible consequence can lead to hirsutism in women.
Various diagnostic procedures are used to determine whether increased hair is really hirsutism. Often, however, regardless of the clinical diagnosis, it is above all the personal feeling that is decisive in determining whether the excessive hair growth can be tolerated or is a burden on the psyche of the woman affected.
Many women suffer from a lady’s beard and excessive hair on the arms and legs. Sooner or later one wishes to get rid of the annoying hair and to have permanently smooth and youthfully fresh skin again.
Treatment of hirsutism
There are several ways to treat excessive hair growth. You can get to the root of the problem and treat it with hormone preparations such as anti-androgens. You can also bleach the unwanted hair or remove it with mechanical and electric epilators. Or you can choose a relatively new procedure that is offered in the medical-cosmetic field by specialised institutes:
Hair removal with IPL in Berlin
. IPL stands for “Intense Pulsed Light” and describes a light-energy procedure that is precisely adapted to the characteristics of the hair root. Through multiple treatments of the body region with a flash of energy, the hair roots are sclerosed painlessly and the hair is permanently removed.