Excessive hair growth is a challenge that many women face. According to Dr. Paul Burcher, as many as 10% of all women have hirsutism, which is the medical term for excessive hair growth. Out of those women, 75-80% have a medical condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which is the most common cause of hirsutism. However, most women do not seek medical help for their excessive hair growth until they are overwhelmed by it.

Unfortunately, PCOS isn't the only cause of excessive hair growth in women. There are several other medical causes, some of which may be quite serious. While there are methods to remove unwanted hair, it's important to figure out what's causing it. Here's what you need to know if you are a female and have excessive hair growth.

When Male Hormones Rage in a Woman's Body

The main reason for excessive hair growth is when there is a hormonal imbalance and the body is producing too many male hormones. As was said earlier, PCOS is the most common reason for hirsutism, due to excessive male hormones.

Women with PCOS are insulin resistant, which means they are more likely to develop diabetes. Fortunately, if PCOS is caught soon enough, lifestyle changes and medication can keep women from developing diabetes. This is another reason why it is important to seek medical care for evaluation when you have excessive hair growth.

Sometimes, hirsutism is hereditary or due to medication usage. Sometimes, however, a female produces too many male hormones when there is a tumor or cancer in the adrenal glands or ovaries. For this reason, it is extremely important to seek medical care when faced with excessive hair growth, especially when it comes on suddenly.

Other medical conditions that may cause male hormones in women include ovarian hyperthecosis and Cushing syndrome. If you have excessive hair growth and it's come on suddenly, it's a good idea to seek medical attention.

Ferriman Gallway Evaluation of Hirsutism & Other Tests

One of the first things a medical professional will do is to evaluate your hair growth based on the Ferriman Gallway evaluation chart for hirsutism. The chart, along with your family and medical history, may give the doctor a starting point on which types of tests to give you to narrow down what can be causing your excessive hair growth.

Given that the majority of those who have hirsutism do have PCOS, you likely will undergo a few tests to confirm or deny PCOS as a diagnosis. If the test results are negative for PCOS, your doctor may look for tumors or cancer to be on the safe side.

However, even if you do test negative for PCOS, it doesn't necessarily mean there is something else medical wrong with you. You could just be someone who was lucky enough to get handed down hairy genes from your ancestors.

Medical Treatment & Hair Removal Options

Of course, you'll want to treat your medical condition, if one is found. And, you're probably interested in getting rid of the excessive hair growth. Thankfully, there are several options, including laser hair removal, shaving and waxing. Many women with hirsutism get professional hair removal treatments.

Depending on where you are in the hirsutism evaluation chart, you may need several treatments before you can achieve smooth, stubble-free, hair-free skin. If your unwanted hair is thick, your skin may become sensitive if too much hair is removed at once.

Be sure to check with your doctor first before starting a hair removal treatment regimen. That way, you won't choose one that will adversely affect your medication or medical care. Also, make sure your treatment provider is someone who is reputable and licensed. For more information, contact local professionals like Drs. Young & Wouters