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Health Topic:  EXCESSIVE HAIR GROWTH (HIRSUTISM) - Health Advisor [CRS]

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  Excessive hair growth, also called hirsutism, causes growth of dark, course body hair that may appear on the face, chest, abdomen, and back. It can occur in both men and women, but is usually a problem only for women. Excessive facial hair is the most troublesome to women.
Having a lot of body hair is more common for some races, ethnic backgrounds, and  families. The cause of excessive hair growth varies. Common causes include genetics, endocrine disorders, polycystic ovary syndrome, and certain medicines like hormones or steroids. Some rare causes include menopause, puberty, pregnancy, ovarian tumor or cancer, and drugs like minoxidil.
Symptoms associated with excessive hair growth may include:
  increased muscle mass
{     }signs of masculinization (such as deepening of the voice)
{     }excessive facial hair growth
{     }menstrual changes
{     }decreased breast size and
{     }increased size of genitals.
  Treatment of excessive hair growth depends on the cause of this problem. If the excessive hair growth is due to a medical disorder or disease, treatment will be prescribed by a healthcare provider and may involve medicine. If the excessive hair growth is due to a life-cycle change or medicine such as birth control pills, an adjustment or change in medicine may be necessary.
If excessive hair growth is a racial, ethnic, or family trait, no medical treatment may be necessary. Instead, the person may choose to see a professional, or to use home methods to remove unwanted hair.
Women can control excess hair growth by tweezing, shaving, or using bleaches and special hair removal products, such as depilatory creams. Tweezing is good for removing a few hairs, such as around the eyebrows. Shaving works well on legs and underarms. Bleaching works well on the arms, thighs, and just below the nose.  Depilatory creams work almost anywhere, but may cause skin irritation and should not be used around the eyes..
Professional hair removal techniques include hot wax treatments (which are temporary) and permanent procedures, like electrolysis and laser hair removal. All professional procedures should be performed by a licensed healthcare specialist, such as a licensed cosmetologist, esthetician, or electrologist. These professionals may be found in cosmetic surgery or skin care clinics, full-service beauty salons, or practicing on their own.
Complications can result from any hair removal procedure. Follow all directions listed for any hair removal product and ask about the risks involved with any professional hair removal procedure.
Developed by McKesson Health Solutions
Published by McKesson Provider Technologies.
Copyright 2005 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All Rights Reserved.
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.

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