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What is Excessive Hair Growth? PCOS Explained | Dr. Davin Lim

By Dr Davin Lim
October 24, 2023
6 minutes

In this article, we’ll discuss what is excessive hair growth, and the problem of excessive hair growth caused by a condition known as PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). Further, we’ll exploit all the underlying causes of excessive hair growth and how to effectively treat it with innovative IPL at-home devices that can offer you a comfortable and highly effective means of managing excessive hair growth.

Even though excessive hair growth on your body doesn’t cause any pain, it can make you feel embarrassed and affect your mental health. But on a positive note, it’s treatable. Factors such as PCOS, Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, and ovarian tumors have been shown to cause excessive hair growth. To counter this problem, there are proven treatment methods like IPL and antiandrogens that will remove all the unwanted excessive hair on your body.

What is Excessive Hair Growth?

What is Excessive Hair Growth?

Have you ever heard of the word Hirsutism? Hirsutism is a medical condition characterized by excessive growth of hair in areas where it doesn’t typically grow. As opposed to the usual thin and light hair, this excessive hair grows dark and thick. This condition primarily affects women and can lead to the development of coarse dark hair on areas of the body where typically men grow hair such as the face, chest, back, and even the abdomen.

In summary, Hirsutism, or excessive hair growth, is where women grow thick, dark hair on their chest, face, tummy, neck, thighs, and even lower back. Dark hair in unusual areas is the main symptom of Hirsutism.

As a woman, if you start experiencing secondary sex characteristics of men (virilization) such as deeper voice, clitoromegaly, acne, and decreased breast size, it may be a sign of Hirsutism. This occurs when the androgen levels are high.

Causes of Hirsutism

According to Dr Davin Lim, excessive hair growth is caused by an underlying hormonal imbalance, particularly in the case of androgen which are basically male sex hormones. Conditions such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and certain adrenal gland disorders are the common causes of Hirsutism.

Let’s discuss Hirsutism causes in more detail;

1. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a hormonal disorder that causes the body to produce excess androgens which leads to the imbalance of androgens. This condition mostly affects women’s hormone levels and the imbalance causes skipping of menstrual periods, making it harder to get pregnant.

Besides skipping menstrual periods, PCOS is also characterized by high levels of male hormones and cysts in the ovaries.

2. Side Effects of Medications

Medications

Many medications can cause excessive hair growth. Taking drugs such as progestins, diazoxide, hormone drugs like testosterone, glucocorticosteroids, minoxidil, cyclosporine, and certain anti-seizure medications can cause unusual excessive hair growth in uncommon body parts.

3. Idiopathic Hirsutism

Idiopathic is hirsutism without known cause. In this case, a woman grows excessive hair yet the androgen levels are normal, menstrual periods are regular, and no other underlying condition can be diagnosed.

Regardless of the cause, hirsutism can be a distressing condition for those who experience it and lead to a loss of esteem and body image issues.

That’s why we recommend using an IPL hair removal device from a company called Ulike to remove all the unwanted excessive hair from your body.

How to Treat Hirsutism

Before medication, you should start with cosmetic treatments like removing the excess hair using an IPL device to prevent issues of low self-esteem and embarrassment. Next, take hormonal contraceptives or birth control pills containing estrogen and progestin to treat hirsutism.

So, the treatment for Hirsutism typically involves undressing the underlying hormonal imbalance. This may include medications to regulate hormone levels.

Let’s start with using an IPL hair removal device.

1. Cosmetic Treatment Using IPL Hair Removal

The Ulike story began about a decade ago with their innovative IPL hair removal device that empowers women to take control of their beauty routines from the comfort and convenience of their own homes. In the past 10 years, Ulike has become the industry leader when it comes to IPL and they are committed to raising awareness on PCOS.

Cosmetic treatments using devices like IPL can help manage excessive hair growth. If you’re looking for an effective, comfortable but also affordable way of managing hirsutism or excessive hair growth, Dr. Davin Lim recommends the IPL device from Ulike.

IPL stands for Intense Pulse light. This hirsutism treatment method offers long-lasting hair reduction by targeting the root of the hair follicle itself. In contrast, temporary methods like shaving and waxing may only offer short-term hair removal.

Ulike IPL Hair Removal Device

Ulike IPL Hair Removal Device

The IPL devices from Ulike are a game changer in the hair removal space because they have a rich history of innovation. They use advanced light technology to safely and effectively remove hair right from the root.

Unlike traditional in-clinic treatments, IPL carries no risk of skin irritations or discoloration and instead of pain, you’ll only feel a cruel sensation similar to a cold ring touching your skin. This is thanks to the sapphire cooling technology that Ulike has developed and is also due to the Auto Glide method.

Through seven generations of products, Ulike has consistently improved your experience. The Sapphire Ice Cooling System is the first in the industry to revolutionize at-home treatments. It works by providing real-time cooling through the sapphire Crystal Light Window. This ensures a comfortable but also effective hair removal light treatment for each patient.

Ulike IP

Another compelling reason you should use hair removal at-home systems as compared to in-clinic devices, especially in the management of PCOS-associated hirsutism is the cost-effectiveness over time.

With PCOS, there is a hormonal drive for hair growth, and hence in most cases, maintenance therapy is advocated. Having a safe and effective home-use device like the Ulike Air3 just makes sense. This will save you time and most importantly money over a period of time.

From the above reasons, you’ve seen how control, convenience, and affordability come together with Ulike. Here is more about Ulike Hair Removal Devices.

2. Using Medications to Treat Hirsutism

 Using Medications to Treat Hirsutism

Medications you may use to help reduce hair growth may be prescribed by your endocrinologist or dermatologist. However, most patients don’t go down this routine because of the fact that you need to take these medications for life.

The first medication Dr. Lim recommends is called an anti-androgen specifically Spironolactone. It’s a safe medication but it still needs monitoring because your potassium levels may go up.

Spironolactone should be taken in a dose between 50-200 milligrams a day. Blood tests need to be conducted after each dose escalation. This medicine works by decreasing the amount of androgen that actually attaches to your receptors.

The other two medications that can be used include anti-hormones found in oral contraceptive pills which include Cyproterone Acetate and Nerothisterone.

 Cyproterone Acetate and Nerothisterone.

If you’re under a pill, it takes between three to six months before you see an improvement in your hair growth reduction. The downside of taking the pill are the risk factors associated with the oral contraceptives which include coagulation disorders like blood clots and also cancer risks.

3. Topicals

Topicals exist in the form of a cream and the cream of choice is called Vaniqa. It works by decreasing the enzymes associated with hair growth. It takes about 3-6 months before you can see changes. However, once you stop using this cream, the hair grows back.

Conclusion

If you’re serious about hair removal especially that’s associated with PCOS, consider a home-use device. You can also use in-office clinic-based systems. But for most cases, of PCOS, unlike normal hair growth where there is very little in the way of Androgen excess and hormonal influx for PCOS, you do need maintenance.

Dr Davin Lim
I am Davin Lim a Board Certified Dermatologist practicing in Brisbane, Australia. My intentions? Simple! To cut out the hype & mystery of the skin care industry. I cover everything from products, DIY, & skin procedures including lasers, peel, injectables & surgery.
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