Hirsutism is a typical condition in women that results in excess growth of coarse or dark hair resembling male-like patterns in the chest, face, and back. In the case of Hirsuitism, the dark and stiff body hair can appear in the places in the body where women normally do not have any hair. The excess hair growth may result from the excess male hormone, which is primarily testosterone.
Hirsutism can be very disturbing emotionally and some women can feel embarrassed with excess or unwanted hair growth. It can also develop depression and if excess hair growth is a serious concern, the best place to start is to see a reputable healthcare provider.
There can be various types of treatment for hirsutism and medicine is one of the treatments that can balance the level of hormone and reduce the number of androgens. A doctor may prescribe anti-androgens that may take around 3 to 6 months to work, but it may cause birth defects. You should avoid taking it when you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
Birth control pills can be effective to decrease the level of androgens and maybe a good option for women who don’t wish to become pregnant within a short time. Birth control pills in combination with anti-androgen medication may be a good option to contain the level of androgen. Use of topical creams is another option for removing unwanted hairs from the face or chin, and the side effects may include a rash, or skin irritation or stinging feeling.
However, the above procedures may not be a solution to remove the unwanted hair permanently. If you want to remove unwanted hair permanently, there are two types of procedures that your doctor may recommend. These two procedures are electrolysis and laser therapy that a doctor may advise for removing the unwanted hair permanently.
In the case of electrolysis, the doctor will insert thin needles into the follicles of the unwanted hair and the needles will release electrical charges that destroy the follicles. It may be an expensive and painful procedure and you need to undergo the treatment more than once. In Laser therapy, the doctor will use targeted lasers to damage the follicles and it will cause unwanted hair to fall out and can be a very effective treatment for hirsutism.
The use of a low-energy laser beam adjusted to the color of the skin and the thickness, color, and location of the hair is the most popular hair removal technique. It will pass through the skin and absorbed by the pigment of a percentage of the actively growing hair follicles.
If the result of the test proves correct, the doctor directs the low-energy laser beam systematically to the area of treatment spot-by-spot. The laser treatment can instantly and permanently disable the active-growth hair follicles and it does not affect the follicles in the dominant phase.
Preparation for electrolysis and laser treatment
Before six or seven days before the electrolysis treatment, you can shave or do other temporary hair removal treatments. Once the doctor starts the electrolysis treatment, you need to discontinue all other treatments. You should drink enough water the whole week before the treatment as well-hydrated skin can be more effective for the treatment.
You should not use any deodorant or lotion or cream on the areas of treatment on the day of your appointment. You may take painkillers one hour before the procedure starts in case you worry about pain. Wear freshly laundered bikini bottoms and underwear, if you do not like to wear the disposable knickers of the clinic.
You can prepare for the laser hair removal with the steps recommended by your doctor that can improve your comfort and the outcome. You need to answer all the questions asked to you by the doctor about medications and your medical history. You should carry the latest list of medications, medical conditions, and allergies so that you can produce these to the doctor when needed.
Avoid lotion, sun, sunless tanning products, creams, plucking, and other hair removal procedures. You also need to shave the area only as per the recommendation of the doctor before the date of the procedure.
Both electrolysis and laser treatment for hirsutism have advantages and disadvantages. For electrolysis, very little aftercare may be necessary though there will be irritation of the skin and it may appear red, and the problems may resolve after a few hours. You will need several treatments and follow up sessions to have permanent hair removal as dormant hair follicles may start growing between sessions.
Laser removal procedure can be very fast, precise and can produce a long-term result after 3 to 8 sessions. It may be necessary to apply icepacks after the procedure and in case of severe pain, you can consult your doctor for suitable medication. There can be around 8 follow-up treatments scheduled 4 to 6 weeks apart and after restraining the unwanted hair growth sufficiently, you may require once or twice maintenance session yearly.
The cost of electrolysis treatment will depend on the type of hair and the area of the treatment. Generally, the cost per session may be around Rs 2,500 to Rs 4000 per session in India. The price for laser treatment for hirsutism may vary between Rs 15,000 to Rs 30,000.
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It is a condition that can cause the growth of unwanted hair in the face, chin, back or other areas of women.
The treatment requires a multi-disciplinary approach and physicians, gynecologists, and other specialists may form a team to treat it.
It will depend on the type of treatment you choose and normally it takes between 3 to 6 months, however, depending on the situation it can extend up to 8 months.
Medical treatments or laser or electrolysis treatments can be very effective to permanently cure cases of hirsutism.
Estrogen can help to reduce the growth of excess hair and they can produce a long-term solution for hirsutism.
If there are irregular periods coupled with hirsutism, the treatment for it can inhibit fertility, and it can cause birth defects.
If the menstrual periods are regular it is most likely that the cause of hirsutism is genetic. However, if menstruation is irregular, the cause may be polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS.
Though hirsutism occurs to women mainly, the condition can occur in men too though it is less obvious in males.
Though not all cases of hirsutism are reversible, there can be symptoms of fresh growth of unwanted hair that can be manageable.
If you experience a sudden increase in the body or the facial hair or if periods become irregular or voice becomes deeper, you should consult a doctor.