Hormones are the leading cause of hair growth in men and women.
The two most known hormones are testosterones (also known as androgenic) and estrogen (also known as progesterone). These hormones play a big role in hair growth.
Estrogen hormones participate in hair growth by slowing down growth and prolongating the anagen phase. Androgenic hormones accelerate the hair cycle. Both men and women secrete these hormones, but in different quantities. Women produce androgens in quantities 20 times less than men.
"Male-patterned" hair growth arises from an increased presence of androgens, primarily testoterone, in the body.
What is Hirsutism?
Hirsutism is caused by an excess production of male hormones called androgens. The two most common causes of hirsutism are polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and idiopathic hirsutism.
POLYCYSTIC OVARY SYNDROME (PCOS)
The most common symptom of PCOS is irregular or infrequent menstrual periods because they are not ovulating each month. Other signs include facial or body hair, severe acne, thinning hair on the head, and obesity. The disease gets its name from many small cysts that build up inside the ovaries. The many cysts in the polycystic ovary are eggs that mattered but, due to abnormal hormone levels, were never released. All of this is triggered by abnormally high levels of androgens. PCOS is also linked with other medical problems, such as infertility (due to irregular menstrual cycles), obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, and possibly heart disease.
Idiopathic hirsutism has no identifiable cause. Could be a mild variety of PCOS. Progressive growth of coarse body hair is typically the only symptom in women with this condition. Menstrual cycles are regular in women with idiopathic hirsutism.
Many women suffer from hot flashes, mood swings, and insomnia during menopause. These symptoms are due to a dropped in estrogen (progesterone) levels. A decrease in these hormones can results in an increased production of androgens, the male hormone.
Androgens shrink hair follicles, resulting in hair loss on the head, these hormones can also cause more hair to grow on the face. Therefore, some menopausal women develop light, soft facial hair peach fuzz and small sprouts of hair on the chin.
Pregnancy also influences hair growth. Higher levels of estrogen are produced in the second or third trimester of pregnancy prolonging the growth, or anagen phase. When the anagen phase timeline is extended, less hair is shed making the hair thicker.
The body also increases the production of androgens which can lead to a faster growth rate of the body and facial hair. Since there aren't any studies that validate the safety of electrolysis on the baby, we recommend you avoid electrolysis while pregnant and during breastfeeding.
Women often lose a significant amount of hair after childbirth once estrogen levels return to normal. This will apply to unwanted facial and body hair as well so hang in there, three to six months after childbirth most of your unwanted hair will shed naturally.
Some drugs can change the hormone levels in your body triggering abnormal facial or body hair growth.
The following medications can cause hirsutism:
Anabolic steroids - boost muscle mass, performance, endurance, andshortens recovery time between workouts
Testosterone - male hormone
Glucocorticoids - fight inflammation
Cyclosporine (Sandimmune®) - treats psoriasis, severe rheumatoid arthritis, and organ rejection after a transplant
Minoxidil (Loniten®, Rogaine®) - treats hair-thinning
Danazol (Danocrine®) - treats endometriosis
Phenytoin (Dilantin®) - treats seizures/convulsions