What Causes Excessive Hair Growth On Women | Myth Vs Facts

Hirsutism, characterized by excessive, unwanted hair growth in women, often mirrors male-pattern hair distribution. It’s also commonly referred to as hirsutism.

It’s a condition that’s not only misunderstood but also shrouded in myths, affecting approximately 5-10% of women worldwide. This article seeks to shed light on hirsutism, moving beyond its cosmetic perception to highlight its medical implications.

By debunking common misconceptions, it aims to provide a clearer, fact-based understanding of this condition. Ultimately, it emphasizes the need for informed discussions and professional medical advice.


Hirsutism | Cosmetic, PCOS Issues, Older Women

Myth 1: Hirsutism is purely a cosmetic issue

Fact Explanation: Hirsutism is more than a cosmetic concern. It’s often a symptom of underlying health issues. Hormonal imbalances, particularly involving androgens, are a common cause.

Expert Opinion: An article on the National Library of Medicine website written by Wissem Hafsi (Faculty of Medicine of Tunis, Tunisia) and Jasleen Kaur (HealthPartners, Minneapolis), states:

“Irrespective of the cause, hirsutism can cause significant emotional stress and mental anguish. The key is to find the cause and address the cosmetic issue.”

Myth 2: Only women with PCOS experience hirsutism

Fact Explanation: While PCOS is a leading cause of hirsutism, it’s not the sole culprit. Other causes include adrenal gland disorders, certain medications, and genetics.

Statistical Data: Moreover, research indicates that 20-25% of hirsutism cases are not linked to PCOS.

Expert Opinion:

‘PCOS isn’t the only cause of hirsutism. However, 70% to 80% of all people with PCOS develop hirsutism.’ – Cleveland Clinic

Myth 3: Only older women are affected by hirsutism

Fact Explanation: Hirsutism can affect women of all ages, including adolescents and young adults. Factors such as the following can influence the onset and severity of hirsutism:

  • Hormonal balance.
  • Also, genetic predisposition.
  • And, underlying health conditions, not just age.

High Testosterone and Shaving | Hair Growth

Myth 4: Excessive Hair Growth is always due to high testosterone levels

Fact Explanation:

Excessive hair growth can also result from increased sensitivity of hair follicles to androgens. Furthermore, this may occur even with normal testosterone levels.

Case Studies: For instance, some women with normal hormone levels still develop hirsutism due to their genetic predisposition.

Myth 5: Shaving makes hair grow back thicker and darker

Fact Explanation: In addition, shaving does not change hair thickness or color. It only trims hair to a blunt tip, giving a false impression of thickness.

Dermatologist Insight: Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D. at MayoClinic.org, states:

“Shaving facial or body hair gives the hair a blunt tip. The tip might feel coarse or “stubbly” for a time as it grows out. During this phase, the hair might be more noticeable and perhaps appear darker or thicker.”

Lifestyle, Cure, and OTC | Managing Hirsutism

Myth 6: Diet and lifestyle changes have no impact on hirsutism

Fact Explanation: Moreover, lifestyle factors like diet and weight can influence hormonal balance and hair growth.

Research Evidence: Studies show that a healthy diet and regular exercise can mitigate symptoms of hirsutism, particularly in PCOS-related cases.

Expert Opinion:

“Lifestyle modifications including weight loss have been suggested in the treatment of hirsutism. A meta-analysis by Moran et al. (2011) identified four studies addressing the effect of lifestyle modifications on hirsutism in women with PCOS.” -National Library of Medicine

Myth 7: Hirsutism can be completely cured

Fact Explanation: While manageable, hirsutism is often a long-term condition.

Treatment Options: Treatments like hormonal therapy, laser hair removal, and lifestyle changes can effectively manage symptoms but may not cure the condition.

Expert Opinion:

“Hirsutism generally isn’t preventable. But losing weight if you’re overweight might help reduce hirsutism, particularly if you have polycystic ovary syndrome.” – Mayo Clinic Staff

Myth 8: OTC products are always safe and effective for hirsutism

Fact Explanation: On the contrary, some OTC products lack proven efficacy and may pose risks.

Expert Opinion:

“It is important to know that hypertrichosis could also be caused by certain medications.” – National Library of Medicine.

Regulatory Perspective: The FDA advises caution with hair removal products, emphasizing that not all are suitable for hirsutism management.


Conclusion | Excessive Hair Growth Facts

Dispelling myths surrounding hirsutism, otherwise known as excessive hair growth, is crucial for a proper understanding and management of the condition.

It is important to view hirsutism not just as a cosmetic issue but as a potential indicator of underlying health problems.

Awareness and education are key in encouraging those affected to seek professional medical advice rather than relying on misconceptions or unverified treatments.

Individuals can better navigate their treatment options and find the support they need by approaching hirsutism with a fact-based understanding.

Please share your experience with us in the comments section below if any of the following questions resonate with you.

  1. Have you or someone you know been affected by hirsutism? What challenges have you faced in understanding and managing this condition?
  2. Were there any myths about hirsutism that you believed to be true before reading this article? How has your perspective changed?
  3. If you’ve sought treatment for hirsutism, what approaches have you found most effective? Are there any particular therapies or lifestyle changes that have helped you?
  4. How can we better raise awareness about hirsutism and support those who are affected by it? Do you have any suggestions for improving the conversation around this condition?
  5. What is one key piece of information you learned from this article that you think more people should be aware of?

I hope “What Causes Excessive Hair Growth On Women | Myth Vs Facts” has answered some of your concerns.

This article provides information about hirsutism, backed by expert opinions and research. It aims to educate and empower individuals affected by hirsutism to seek appropriate care and support.

Please feel free to leave your questions or comments below. I will do my best to address them.

Veron | Business Owner | The Way 4Word Enterprises

Additional Resources

  1. Hirsutism Information Page, nih.gov – National Institute of Health
  2. PCOS Awareness Association, pcosaa.org – Resources and support for PCOS-related hirsutism
  3. Office on Women’s Health, womenshealth.gov – Information on hormonal imbalances and hair growth


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