General Practice 2022

Hirsutism: what é, main symptoms and treatment

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Hirsutism: what é, main symptoms and treatment
Hirsutism: what é, main symptoms and treatment

Hirsutism is a condition that can happen in women and is characterized by the presence of hair in regions of the body that normally do not have hair, such as the face, chest, belly and inner thigh, for example, and can be identified during puberty or menopause.

This situation is usually related to hormonal changes, with increased production of testosterone or decreased production of estrogen, which results in an increase in the amount of hair on the body.

As the presence of excess hair can be uncomfortable for some women, it is important that you follow the treatment indicated by your gynecologist, dermatologist or endocrinologist, who may indicate the use of medications to regulate hormone levels and aesthetic procedures to remove excess hair.

Main symptoms of hirsutism

The signs and symptoms indicative of hirsutism may appear during puberty or menopause, and may be noticed on the face, belly, around the breasts, inner thighs and back. Symptoms often vary with circulating hormone levels, particularly testosterone levels. The higher the level of circulating testosterone, the lower the level of estrogens, the more masculine characteristics a woman can develop.

In general, the signs and symptoms of hirsutism are:

  • Emergence of hair on the side of the face, upper lip, back, buttocks, lower abdomen, around the breasts and inner thigh;
  • Brows thick and often joined together;
  • Acne increase;
  • Dandruff and hair loss;
  • Clitoris enlargement;
  • Increase in muscle mass or weight;
  • Modification of the tone of voice;
  • Irregular menstruation;
  • Infertility.

In the presence of these signs and symptoms, it is interesting that the woman consults a gynecologist, dermatologist or endocrinologist for a general assessment, diagnosis and treatment to be completed.

The initial diagnosis is made by the doctor by evaluating the amount of hair present in the woman's regions that normally do not have hair, with the region classified from 1 to 4 according to the amount of hair. Thus, a score between 0 and 8 is considered normal, between 8 and 15 is classified as moderate hirsutism and above that it is indicated that the person has severe hirsutism.

In addition, to complement the diagnosis, the doctor may also observe the presence of male characteristics, in addition to requesting transvaginal ultrasound and laboratory tests, such as testosterone, prolactin, TSH and FSH levels circulating in the blood, so it is also possible to identify the cause related to hirsutism.

Main causes

Hirsutism is often associated with an imbalance between circulating testosterone levels, which can happen due to changes in the adrenal glands or ovaries. In addition, it is common for women with polycystic ovary syndrome to develop hirsutism, as this situation is characterized by hormonal changes. Learn more about polycystic ovary syndrome.

Other conditions that may favor the development of hirsutism are thyroid changes, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, Cushing's syndrome and the use of some medications, such as minoxidil, phenothiazines and danazol, for example. In addition, women who have a family history of hirsutism, are obese or use anabolic supplements to gain muscle mass, for example, are at greater risk of developing hirsutism.

How the treatment is done

Treatment for hirsutism aims to regulate hormone levels, which helps to reduce the amount of hair on the body. It is also important that tests are performed to identify the cause of hirsutism, because this situation is often resolved when the cause is treated.

Thus, in addition to treating the underlying disease, the doctor may indicate the use of hormonal contraceptives, which promote a decrease in testosterone production, helping to regulate the levels of circulating hormones in the blood. In some cases, the doctor may recommend the use in conjunction with the use of Spironolactone, Cyproterone Acetate or Finasteride according to the cause of hirsutism.

In addition to medication, aesthetic procedures may also be recommended to eliminate excess hair, and the use of depilatory creams or more definitive procedures that reduce the amount of hair throughout the sessions may be indicated. such as electrolysis, pulsed light treatment or laser hair removal.It is important that the method of hair removal is chosen according to the dermatologist's orientation so that lesions and inflammation on the skin can be prevented.

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