Unwanted hair growth in women – women’s health network

U nwanted hair under your chin or arms is quite distressing. Hormonal imbalance male Growing hair in places where you never had it before or developing thickening body hair is an incredibly sensitive topic because women’s perspectives can vary widely based on personal preference. What to do for hormonal imbalance Many women want to get rid of excess hair as quickly and permanently as possible while others are happy to let it grow as a natural (and yes, beautiful, thank you!) expression of themselves.

Body hair carries cultural and social associations that have transformed through the years.

Hormone imbalance in women symptoms Today’s popular style, for example, is to have no hair anywhere except on your head, with waxing salons on every corner. Symptoms of hormonal imbalance in females But during the 60s and 70s, the au naturale look was popular, with what would now be seen as “shocking” amounts of underarm, leg and pubic hair visible on many women. Can hormone imbalance cause depression Despite all these ups and downs in body hair fashion, most women have experienced the surprise of hair showing up or getting thicker in places they’d rather not have it.

Fortunately, unwanted hair growth is usually just a benign annoyance. Symptoms of female hormone imbalance But there are cases where excess hair growth can be caused by increasing insulin resistance. Do i have a hormonal imbalance There are differences between common and uncommon hair growth, as well as real reasons why you may have more body hair than you used to. How to cure acne due to hormonal imbalance And there is more to know if you choose to do — or not do — something about it. Weight gain due to hormonal imbalance Is this extra hair normal?

Women in menopause often feel the need to talk to their doctors about alopecia, or hair loss, but many don’t realize that similar hormonal imbalances can also cause unwanted hair growth. How to deal with hormonal imbalance For many of my patients, managing “extra” body hair is more than just an annoyance; it creates real frustration, anger and resentment — some even call it a “battle” they’ve fought all their adult lives.

Women want to know if excess hair is a sign of a health problem. Can hormone imbalance cause weight gain Maybe they’ve heard that hair growth is related to changes in insulin sensitivity, or that it might be a signal for PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). What is hormonal imbalance in females But the question they ask most is, “What is normal for a woman when it comes to hair growth?”

To distinguish between normal and not-so-normal hair growth, it helps to think about the types of hair the human body grows, and the stages of life when it grows, or doesn’t. Can hormone imbalance cause dizziness We actually have hair all over our bodies from the very beginning. Can hormone imbalance cause hair loss In the womb, a fine layer of hair called lanugo covers a fetus and keeps it insulated. Hormonal changes during menstrual cycle After birth, we develop very soft and light vellus hair better known as “peach fuzz” which stays on our bodies for our entire lives. How to treat hormonal imbalance to get pregnant Vellus hair can be a little thicker or darker depending on the person, but it’s usually less than 2 mm long, and can appear all over the body.

But uncommon hair growth in women is usually associated with something called terminal, or androgenic, hair. Acne due to hormonal imbalance Terminal hair begins to appear during the hormone changes of puberty, and continues to develop long after. Hormonal imbalance during pregnancy It’s darker and coarser than vellus hair, and is found on the scalp, chin region, armpits, and the pubic area in women. How to overcome hormonal imbalance Men have more terminal hair on their bodies, due to higher amounts of androgens. What is hormonal imbalance That’s why hair growth related to hormonal imbalance tends to be in a “male pattern” such as on the face or “beard” area.

Our genetic make-ups in conjunction with certain key life stages when hormone levels fluctuate are typically the root cause of unwanted hair regardless of where it grows. How to cure hormonal imbalance in menstruation For some women, unwanted body hair can also be a signal of a condition called hirsutism. Symptoms hormonal imbalance Hirsutism can be a symptom of hormonal imbalance

Hirsutism, also called hypertrichosis, is the growth of terminal hair or thickened vellus hair in places more typical for men than women. Hormonal imbalance causes It can either be genetic or caused by one of the body’s natural reactions to hormonal and biochemical imbalances, like insulin resistance and high levels of androgen hormones.

Androgens are produced by your ovaries, your adrenal glands, and also peripherally in your fat tissues. Symptoms of hormonal imbalance nhs From there, they are transported throughout the bloodstream to your hair follicles, where testosterone is converted into its more potent, follicle-active form. Drugs for hormonal imbalance More “sensitive” hair follicles can spend a longer time in the anagen, or active, phase of hair growth.

If you have higher-than-usual levels of free testosterone, or your hair follicle receptors have become hypersensitive to androgens, excess or unusual hair can grow anywhere on your body — even on the palms and soles of the feet. Hormonal imbalance and pregnancy Increased facial hair, for example, commonly develops in menopausal women, and is sometimes said to be caused by “unopposed androgen.” But for most women, hirsutism is typically identified in the moustache, beard, chest (usually between the breasts or around the nipples), and genital regions. Diet for hormone balance What causes hirsutism?

Hirsutism is a lot more common than most people think. Reasons for hormonal imbalance in females At least one in 20 women in America has this kind of hair growth, with a range of possible causes depending on the person. Side effects of hormonal imbalance Hirsutism is not a disease but rather a natural expression of a woman’s hormonal makeup, which may or may not be in its optimal state. Hormonal imbalance irregular periods Many factors influence our hormones and hair growth, some of which we can influence through diet and lifestyle. What are the symptoms of hormonal imbalance But hirsutism is usually linked to one or more of the following:

Genetics. How to cure hormonal imbalance In most cases, the specific cause for hirsutism is genetic. Home remedies for hormonal imbalance in women The underlying blueprint for how much hair we have is linked to our familial heritage. How to cure hormonal imbalance naturally It can also be caused by relatively rare, yet “normal” genetic variants called atavisms. How to treat hormonal imbalance naturally These are throwbacks to an earlier time in human evolutionary history — in this case, to a point when our ancestors were much hairier creatures than we are.

Drugs, hormones and other growth factors. Hormonal imbalance effects In some women, hirsutism may be related to past or present use of drugs or growth factors, or exposure to toxins that increase androgen production or disrupt the way hormones are metabolized. Symptoms of hormonal imbalance These are factors that we do have some control over, and include the following:

Insulin Resistance: In some women, chronically elevated levels of insulin due to diets high in sugar and fat can lead to insulin resistance. Hormonal imbalance symptoms in females The body essentially requires higher levels of insulin to absorb dietary sugars. Hormonal imbalance in females Having too much insulin in turn stimulates excess ovarian androgen hormone production. Meaning of hormonal imbalance All of these factors can trigger an excessive level of androgens in the body. Signs of hormonal imbalance in females But with androgens, just having an excess won’t necessarily mean that a woman will experience hirsutism.

As explained above, some women with hirsutism have hair follicles that are extra-sensitive to normal amounts of androgens combined with higher-than-normal circulating androgen levels, while others have decreased metabolism, or enhanced receptor bindings. Hormonal imbalance during period So both too much androgen and too little are possible causes of hirsutism. Hormone imbalance menstrual cycle There is also the idiopathic variety, meaning the medical profession can’t find a cause. Hormonal imbalance and pregnancy symptoms So why hirsutism is occurring can be a real mystery until you meet with your healthcare practitioner. Does hormone imbalance cause weight gain Am I “hirsute” or just a little hairy? Talking about hair growth with your healthcare practitioner

If you experience a marked change in your hair growth over several weeks or months, then it’s a good idea to have your hormonal profile checked. Female hormone imbalance symptoms The speed and amount of body hair growth matter. Hormone imbalance symptoms It could be just the expression of your genetic heritage, or where you are in relation to your hormonal or life cycle. What’s hormonal imbalance If it’s the latter, it’s best not to think about this hair growth as one piece of your current whole hormonal expression.

Knowing those answers will help your healthcare practitioner identify whether this unwanted hair is genetic, a symptom of hormonal imbalance, or a signal of something more serious, like PCOS or insulin resistance. Causes for hormonal imbalance It can also help to isolate exactly where you see more hair than usual, in order to know if you’re hirsute, or just a little hairy.

The body areas to look first for androgen sensitivity are the places where terminal hair usually grows on women. How to treat hormonal imbalance Here they are in descending order of sensitivity:

If hair is growing in any of the above areas and it’s coming in more heavily or earlier than normally seen, such as in puberty, it can be a sign of androgen excess. Food for hormonal imbalance If caught early enough, it can often be treated relatively easily by returning hormones to their regular healthy levels. Diet for hormonal imbalance To know whether unwanted hair growth is something you should bring up with your healthcare practitioner, you can evaluate your hair growth first with a scoring tool known as the Ferriman–Gallwey score.

This test measures the degree of hairiness or hirsutism a woman is experiencing.You can look at the images and gauge where your hair growth ranks from 0 (no terminal growth) to 4 (maximal growth). What can cause hormonal imbalance Print the chart and bring it in to your healthcare practitioner to talk about what’s normal for your own personal hair growth versus what’s been happening lately. Hormonal imbalance in females symptoms Although the results can vary women with scores higher than “3” are considered to have hair growth outside the norm.

The last step is making sure that the hair you’re seeing is truly unusual for you. How to help hormonal imbalance Dramatic events in our external lives can sometimes trigger changes in how we perceive ourselves, as well as how we think others perceive us. Hormonal imbalance in women Self-perception: emotions and our hair

Confidence about our bodies often mirrors our inner emotional lives. Can hormone imbalance cause anxiety Major transitions can cause huge emotional shifts, like a partner entering or leaving your life, that triggers an emotional “earthquake,” and, yes, menopause qualifies. Hormone imbalance women With such events, the hair on our bodies may or may not have changed much, but the way we see ourselves has. Female hormone imbalance symptoms mayo If you feel that the excess hair is needs to be “fixed,” ask yourself first whether this growth is sudden, or has happened gradually over time. Cure for hormonal imbalance And also determine if there really a difference in your hair growth, or if you are you looking at yourself differently these days.

For a woman who has had heavy hair growth much of her life, hair growth usually isn’t indicative of a serious physical problem. Hormonal imbalance male If the heavy hair growth is sudden, speak with your healthcare practitioner about your hormone status. What to do for hormonal imbalance So what can I do about it? Solutions for unwanted hair growth

Most women who deal with their extra hair on a regular basis have some sort of system in place: they shave (and No, shaving does not cause hair to grow faster or coarser), pluck, tweeze, or apply creams or wax for immediate hair removal. Hormone imbalance in women symptoms Women with sudden, rapid hair growth or other signs of hormonal imbalance can get started with these suggestions:

• Learn your hormonal profile. Symptoms of hormonal imbalance in females Remember that removing the unwanted hair is not as important as identifying if the condition is common or uncommon, and if uncommon, finding the right treatment. Can hormone imbalance cause depression This includes speaking with a practitioner about your own personal hormonal profile to see if you have insulin resistance; or seeing a specialist to check for an imbalance of androgens or androgen metabolites.

• Reverse insulin resistance. Symptoms of female hormone imbalance You can facilitate your body’s natural healing pathways with dietary and lifestyle changes that reduce insulin resistance. Do i have a hormonal imbalance Regular gentle exercise, along with meals and snacks that have a low glycemic load, can bring insulin and androgen production, regulation and metabolism back into balance.

For advanced insulin resistance you can work with a practitioner of functional medicine when using medical foods to support insulin and glucose stabilization. How to cure acne due to hormonal imbalance Studies have shown that the specific phytonutrients in these products work by modulating insulin signaling and actions. Weight gain due to hormonal imbalance The nutrients can help heal your metabolism without the unwanted side effects associated with drugs. How to deal with hormonal imbalance Best of all, healing your metabolism may not only help diminish unwanted hair growth, but will also bring you better balance on every other level.

• Drink spearmint tea regularly. Can hormone imbalance cause weight gain New studies in the journal Phytotherapy Research show that drinking spearmint tea twice a day reduces the effects of the levels of androgens that can cause hirsutism. What is hormonal imbalance in females Hot spearmint tea with a dollop of honey is very soothing and satisfying after meals, and chilled spearmint tea is delicious, too.

• Laser or electrolysis treatments. Can hormone imbalance cause dizziness Laser therapy is chosen by more and more women as an alternative to the skin irritation, scarring, messiness, re-growth, and inconvenience of older methods of hair removal. Can hormone imbalance cause hair loss Laser technology has become more available and more affordable. Hormonal changes during menstrual cycle It can leave your skin feeling smoother, with longer lasting results than electrolysis or the painful, at-home removal techniques. How to treat hormonal imbalance to get pregnant Laser hair removal has also been shown to help women who have genuine anxiety, depression, or frustration about their extra hair.

• Try a prescription medication. Acne due to hormonal imbalance While there are no FDA–approved medications for hirsutism at this time, some drugs, like spironolactone or aldactone, bind to the hormone receptors that react with androgens — and that can decrease unwanted hair growth. Hormonal imbalance during pregnancy Metformin, a treatment for PCOS and diabetes, does seem to reduce testosterone, and thus decrease hair growth. How to overcome hormonal imbalance But this is also our least favorite solution for general treatment. What is hormonal imbalance Many anti-androgen medications take a long time to work (over a year) if they work at all, and once you stop, the hair growth comes back. How to cure hormonal imbalance in menstruation They also have some undesirable side effects, like nausea and diarrhea, or sexual dysfunction.

How much hair you choose to keep and where you keep it are personal decisions. Symptoms hormonal imbalance Many studies have shown that natural hair growth ranges widely in amount and thickness, largely due to our genetic makeup, and where our ancestors came from. Hormonal imbalance causes Whether you accept your natural hair growth or if you feel more confident without it, making the choice yourself can be liberating.

If you have a rapid amount of sudden hair growth, especially alongside other health concerns, speak with your healthcare practitioner about a possible underlying hormonal and chemical imbalance. Symptoms of hormonal imbalance nhs It’s another opportunity to improve your total health — and to feel beautiful, inside and out.