Unwanted Hair Growth Linked to Medical Condition
Women in their child-bearing years who have even minimal amounts of hair in male-type patterns may have an underlying medical condition, according to a new study.
It is known that excess hair growth in the male pattern in women, called hirsutism, is generally indicative of a hormonal imbalance. Researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the University of Alabama, Birmingham, found this is linked to an androgen-excess-related disorder, primarily polycystic ovary syndrome.
Researchers studied 188 women complaining of minimal unwanted hair growth. Of that group, 102 had excessive levels of androgen, “male” hormones that normally exist in women in lesser amounts. Nearly all of these 102 women suffered from PCOS — a disorder characterized by numerous small cysts on the periphery of the ovaries. Women with PCOS often struggle with menstrual irregularities, skin problems, and excess weight.
Researchers conclude, “Electrologists need to be the front line for patients with hirsutism. When electrologists recognize that the symptom is part of a larger disorder, they are able to give appropriate referrals, which enables patients to find the diagnostic and treatment help they need. Women with only minimal unwanted hair growth, however, often have an underlying hormonal imbalance that goes undetected altogether. We find that there is a great need for more education of physicians, related practitioners, and the public regarding prevalence, signs, morbidity, and the treatments available for these disorders.”