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Dr. Devendra Patel
I have known Dr. Ashok Mehta since early 70's. He is a fine head and Neck oncosurgeon. He maintains great relationships with his patients and is ever caring. He is associated with Brahmakumaris for several years and was the pioneer in establishing their Global Hospital in Mt. Abu. His spiritual Guru is BABA of Brahmakumaris.
There are women who feel their looks are spoilt because of the presence of excessive body hair. While hair on women's body is common, excessive body hair isn't a normal condition and must be taken seriously. Women are generally unaware that the condition is known as Hirsutism.
What is Hirsutism?
Hirsutism can be defined as growth of excessive facial and body hair in women. With the world obsessed with flawless skin, such changes from feminine hair pattern (soft, fine, vellus hair) to masculine hair pattern (hard, dark, terminal hair) in a woman is generally unwelcoming and, hence, very distressing for the woman.
Why do some women develop Hirsutism?
In order to understand the reasons for such excessive growth in some women, it is important to understand the differences in the physiology of men and women. The male or female appearance of one's body is dependent on a delicate balance between male and female sex hormones. There is a predominance of the hormone estrogen in a woman's body, whereas androgens (testosterone) are the predominant sex hormones among men. However, some amount of androgens is secreted by the ovaries and adrenal glands (located next to kidneys) in women also. But, an excessive production of these hormones results in Hirsutism. Hormonal imbalance is by far the most common cause of Hirsutism.
Causes of Hirsutism
The common causes of hirsutism include:
1. Endocrine causes
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) - PCOS is a condition of hormonal imbalance in the body, which can result in an irregular menstrual cycle, enlarged ovaries with a cystic appearance on USG, infertility, obesity and hirsutism. For more information on the causes and management of PCOS.
- Cushing's syndrome - Excessive production of hormone Cortisol by the adrenal glands can lead to symptoms such as high blood pressure, abdominal obesity, skin discoloration, muscle weakness, irregular menstruation, and hirsutism etc. This syndrome is known as Cushing's syndrome.
- Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH) - CAH is a condition of excessive production of hormones Androgens and Cortisol by the adrenal glands and generally manifests in childhood in the form of virilization. In such cases, CAH can present with symptoms such as ambiguous genitals, obesity, hypertension etc. However, sometimes the manifestation of CAH is deferred to early adulthood and results in milder symptoms, hirsutism being one of them.
2. Tumors - Tumors in ovary or adrenal glands can again cause hirsutism due to excessive production of androgens
- Long term steroid consumption (commonly used for immunosuppression, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis)
- Performance enhancing drugs (often used by athletes)
4. Idiopathic - the woman may be having hirsutism despite normal hormone levels
There are essentially two lines of treatment for hirsutism - one is medical management and the other is a cosmetic treatment.
Medical treatments for hirsutism -
A. Birth control pills - It's possible to reduce the severity and intensity of hair growth using birth control pills- the most commonly prescribed medical intervention! The birth control pills help by decreasing the production of androgens by ovaries. Besides this, estrogen present in the pills also helps the liver to produce more of sex hormone binding protein- these proteins bind to circulating androgens, thereby reducing their action on the body. Both these actions help in reducing the growth of hair on the body.
B. Anti-androgen medications - There are three categories of anti-androgen medications, which are commonly used for the treatment of hirsutism.
- I. Spironolactone - Spironolactone is a diuretic medicine, which blocks the effects of androgens on the hair follicles, thus controlling hair growth.
- II. Finasteride - Finasteride works by blocking the conversion of body testosterone into its more potent chemical entity, thereby limiting the effect of testosterone on hair growth.
- III. Flutamide - Flutamide is a potent anti-androgen, which blocks the actions of androgens and helps in controlling the hair growth.
However, we have to ensure that the woman is not pregnant when taking any of these three medications. These medicines are often combined with oral contraceptives, which also have a synergistic effect in reducing the severity of hirsutism. One should also seek an expert opinion before starting these medications as there can be serious side effects, especially on liver.
C. Steroids - Low dose dexamethasone can be used to control the overactive adrenal glands when used carefully. However, long-term steroid therapy has got its own side effects and this therapy should only be considered under expert care and guidance.
D. Insulin sensitizing medicines - Medicines such as Metformin and Pioglitazone (Basically these are anti-diabetic medications) help in reducing insulin resistance in the body, which, in turn, helps in controlling the effects of excessive circulating androgens.
Cosmetic treatment for hirsutism -
One very important aspect of cosmetic management of hirsutism is self-care. This can include shaving, waxing, use of depilators and bleaching creams. All these measures help to reduce the amount of visible hair in undesired parts of the body. But, this needs to be done very frequently for a sustained visible effect.
Permanent hair removal is also possible using electrolysis or LASER treatment. In electrolysis treatment, electric current is passed into the hair follicle using a needle, which damages the root of the hair permanently. Similarly, LASER treatment uses LASER to destroy the hair follicle. Both these are effective methods to get rid of the undesired hair. However, we do not yet know if there are any long-term complications or side effects of these methods and these methods are not yet approved by the US FDA.
Related Tip: How Safe is Laser Surgery for Facial Hair Removal??
I had a fungal infection on my face and read on Internet that to cure it I have to apply garlic paste on the infected region. I did so and my face started burning and I was feeling immense pain but I beard it and didn't remove the paste. The next day I saw my face and it was burnt. The region was black and small alsars immersed. The next day the dark alsars changed into black cloths. When I removed the cloths pink skin emerged from it. What should I do to prevent permanent spots on my face? Please tell me. Thank you.
I am having melasma on both cheekbone from last 2 year and is increasing upwards please tell me remedies for its treatment. And the diet I should intake to reduce it and get my face rid of it.
I am working from past 6 months so total 8 Hours and tattoo I have to be seated in front of computer onlu. So, niw am facing severe back pain unable ti bear the pain kindly suggest to reduce the pain and help me out of this back pain.
In spite of existing multi-million dollar market of fairness products in the country, the question of how impactful these products are? keep dwindling in consumer's mind. Our skin color is determined by our race and genetic lineage which in turn decides the amount and structure of melanin. Fairness creams can only work to a certain extent. As per dermatology studies, achieving fairness up to 20% is possible, but not more than that. The fairness creams only block sun rays and prevent secretion of melanin. Thus, help in reducing tan and restoring natural skin.
Side effects of fairness creams
Extreme use of fairness creams can rather lead to severe skin damage. Fairness creams contain harmful bleaching agent such as hydroquinone, mercury, lead, nickel, chromium and high levels of steroids that cause following problems:
- thinning of the skin
- discoloration of the face
- capillaries become prominently visible
- severe acne
- hypersensitivity to the sun
- rebound paradoxical pigmentation
- unwanted facial hair growth
- skin allergy
- skin cancer thus these creams should always be used judiciously only under the supervision of a certified dermatologist.
Do's and don't
What to do
- apply moisturizer daily during the day and before going to bed
- wash your skin with clean water at least thrice a day
- use sunscreen lotion to prevent tanning and harsh UV rays damaging skin
- use fairness cream preferably aloe based. It works well for inflammation and tanned skin for Asian weather.
- usage external barriers like umbrella and shades while going out.
- drink 6-8 glasses of water every day
- have anti-oxidant rich fruits
- increase the intake of vitamin c. It increases cell turnover, helps protect against sun damage, and boosts the production of collagen and elastin, the two vital component of healthy and glowing skin.
- exfoliation is one of the most important steps in maintaining your youthful glow. We recommend weekly exfoliation to brighten the skin tone. Regular use of an exfoliation removes the oldest dead skin cells that cling to the skin's outermost surface or epidermis. It is an important part of both facials and body treatments.
What not to do
- do not support the common trend of fair skin and the stigma of being dark
- avoid excessive bleaching in alternate weeks. Comprising of ammonia and hydrochloric acid primarily these ingredients can cause both minor and severe burn.
Avoid products that encourage acne breakouts
The truth is we don't need white skin to show our beauty, if you have healthy, beautiful, dark complexion, learn to love yourself. Your healthy and shiny skin is everything to impress whosoever will notice you. Do not trust every advertisement blindly, stay happy.