Reasons for Unwelcome Hair Growth (Hirsutism)

A Woman Plucking facial hair

On their body, everyone grows hair normally as they reach sexual maturity. Hirsutism occurs when hormones allow hair to grow in parts of the female body that it normally exclusively does in males following puberty.

There are several underlying medical issues that might cause hirsutism. There might not always be an underlying cause. It is up to the individual to decide whether they want to continue with further treatment after having unwanted hair removed for cosmetic reasons.

Reasons for Too Much Body Hair

The development of the male reproductive system and secondary sexual traits is aided by androgens, which are sex hormones that are released after puberty. One of the most common forms of androgen is testosterone. Androgens are male hormones, despite the fact that medical professionals may refer to them as female hormones.

The pubic area and the area under the arms on both sexes begin to sprout hair after adolescence. In addition, they promote the growth of additional body hair and facial hair in men, including the beard and moustache.

Due to a number of medical disorders, people who are biologically predisposed to being female may create too many androgens and grow too much hair.

Ovarian polycyst syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal condition that causes the body to produce too many androgens, is the most common cause of excessive body hair in women. In more than 70% of cases of hirsutism, the condition is to blame.

The reasons of PCOS are not entirely understood by doctors. Contrary to popular belief, birth control pills and other hormone therapies can be used to address the symptoms.

Adrenal hyperplasia that is congenital

Congenital adrenal hyperplasia refers to a group of unusual disorders that harm the adrenal glands and can cause serious symptoms.

The body of a woman may produce an excessive amount of androgens if the adrenal glands are not functioning correctly. This may cause a variety of symptoms, including an increase in hair growth.

Doctors check for diseases that might cause adrenal hyperplasia. However, it could take till adolescence to detect minor instances.


The American Academy of Family Physicians estimates that androgen-secreting tumours are responsible for 0.3 percent of occurrences of hirsutism.

In other cases, the body hair appears fast and may be accompanied by additional symptoms, including a bump in the pelvis or the stomach.

Prescription Drugs 

Any new hair growth after beginning a new prescription drug should be reported to a doctor.

Among the medicines having hirsutism connections are:

  •       Certain antipsychotic medications
  •       Glucocorticosteroids
  •       Certain anti-seizure drugs
  •       Several immunosuppressive medicines 
  •       Hormones, including testosterone, as well as other therapies that change hormone production


The prolactin hormone is produced in excess in people with hyperprolactinemia, a condition.

Prolactin mostly contributes to the production of breast milk while a person is breastfeeding. Individuals with this illness may lactate even if they are not nursing.

Some hyperprolactinemic individuals may not be able to become pregnant or experience period problems. In addition, it can lead to hirsutism.

Thyroid conditions

The thyroid produces hormones that aid in regulating metabolism and body temperature. The two most common thyroid disorders are hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.

Rarely, a thyroid condition may cause a hormonal imbalance that encourages the growth of excessive body hair.

Other Factors

The cause of hirsutism may not always be clear, and medical professionals may not be able to see any overt symptoms of an underlying disease. Doctors refer to hirsutism that lacks a known aetiology as idiopathic hirsutism. Exclusionary diagnoses are frequently made by clinicians when they are able to eliminate all known, plausible underlying causes. Idiopathic hirsutism is thought to be the root cause of 10% of all occurrences of hirsutism and 50% of mild cases of excessive hair growth.

Genetics could come into play when there is no known cause for hirsutism. People of East Indian and Mediterranean origin who were assigned the gender of femininity at birth tend to experience these forms of hair growth more frequently.

Hair Growth That Is Normal Versus Abnormal

Determining what constitutes excessive body hair can be difficult. Females often have fine hair on their entire body, including their face. Many people could also observe larger, darker hairs on the chest, chin, and abdomen.

Ferriman-gallwey Grading Scale

The Ferriman-Gallwey scale was created by academics to assist categorise what constitutes hirsutism. Based on the amount of hair growth a person has on various body parts, this scale offers a score.

The scale considers fine hair to be “normal,” along with a few stray coarse hairs. When hair is dense on several body parts, there is a higher chance that there may be an issue. Usually, a score of more than 7 is suggestive. reputable source for hirsutism or excessive hair growth.

In 1961, the initial scale was created. It entails assessing the rate of hair growth at 11 locations on the body where androgen-related hair growth is possible. Later, this scoring system was narrowed down by researchers to concentrate on just nine regions, giving rise to the modified Ferriman-Gallwey score that is used today.

Differences between populations

Studies suggest that those who were assigned the gender “female” at birth, regardless of their ethnicity or racial background, may not be subject to the cut-off score of 8. It’s probable that some populations have a natural propensity for particular hair growth rates.

People of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, or Hispanic descent who were assigned the gender “female” at birth sometimes require a score of 9 or above for hair growth to be deemed excessive.

For South Americans who were given the gender of a girl at birth, the cutoff score is 6, but for Asians, it is 2. Both Black and White people must achieve an average cut-off score of 8, which is 8 in the US and the UK.

A step above

Generally speaking, a cut-off score of 15 or less may indicate mild hirsutism, whereas a score of 25 or more may indicate severe hirsutism. No of the severity, everyone who believes they have abnormal hair growth should consult a medical professional, according to the clinical guidelines of the Endocrine Society.

 The choice of whether to send a patient for testing or therapy should also be made by the doctor with the patient in mind, that is, depending on how the patient is feeling when they encounter the symptoms of the ailment.

A doctor should recommend testing and therapy if a patient is bothered by their symptoms while taking cosmetic steps to alleviate them.

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