Excess Hair Removal
Hirsutism is a condition of excess hair growth in women which can be manifested on various areas of the body such as the face, chest and lower back. We see this condition in a large number of women who have not yet reached the menopause. Excess hair growth is also a common condition for post-menopausal women.
Is there medication to deal with excess hair?
Fortunately there is a facial hair removal cream that can be prescribed for women with excess facial hair. If there is excess hair on other parts of the body then a hormonal pill can sometimes be prescribed. Please complete an online consultation form.
What are the causes of excess hair?
There are a few reasons why women can have Hirsutism, and they differ depending on whether the woman is pre-menopausal or post-menopausal.
A key finding in most cases has been related to male sex hormones called androgens, which all women have to a certain degree. However, women with Hirsutism have either an excess of androgens or sensitivity towards androgens.
In pre-menopausal women the most common underlying reason for the excess of these hormones is a result of having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). There are also pre-menopausal women that do not have increased levels of androgens, but their sensitivity to them leads to the excess hair growth.
Some medications (such as anabolic steroids) and medical conditions may also cause Hirsutism. Ten per cent of all pre-menopausal Hirsutism cases are categorised as Idiopathic Hirsutism for which there is no known cause.
In post-menopausal women the menopause causes a change in balance of hormones, which in turn can cause an increase in hair growth, particularly in the facial area.
What are the treatment options for hair removal?
Hirsutism cannot be cured through medication, however there are some ways to manage it and minimise its negative impact on an individual's well-being.
Vaniqa is a hair removal cream that is used in cases of excess facial hair. The active ingredient (Eflornithine) blocks a chemical responsible for hair growth. If an individual stops their treatment, then the excess hair growth goes back to its previous state within about two months.
Vaniqa is not suitable for everyone, for instance individuals who have liver or kidney problems or for individuals who may have allergies to the ingredients in the medication. It is therefore important that the doctor prescribing it is aware of the patient's full medical history.
It is recommended that pregnant women do not use this medication during their pregnancy as it can affect the unborn baby in various ways depending on what stage in the pregnancy the medication is used. It is also recommended that the medication not be used if the woman is breastfeeding as the medication may be passed to the baby through breast milk.
The most common side effect of Vaniqa is irritation on the site of the application.
Dianette is the brand name for tablets that are used to treat acne and hirsutism in women. The active ingredient (co-cyprindiol) both prevents the production of and blocks the action of the hormone testosterone.
Dianette may take some time before its results start to show and this will vary from person to person. However, once the Hirsutism has been resolved the treatment can be stopped. Should the symptoms return, then the treatment can be started again.
Dianette is not suitable for everyone, for instance individuals who are using certain medicines, have high blood pressure or have had liver problems. It also increases the chances of developing breast or cervical cancer as well as blood clots. Conversely it appears to provide some protection against endometrial and ovarian cancer. It also interacts with St Johns Wort, a complementary medicine often used for anxiety and depression. Given all of the aforementioned, it is important that the practitioner prescribing the medication is aware of the patient's full medical history as well as any complementary treatments the person is taking.
Dianette can also be used as an oral contraceptive for individuals who have Hirsutism or acne. It is recommended to start the treatment on the first day of your menstrual period and that it is taken on a daily basis at the same time each day for 21 days. After that, there is need for a seven day period when the medication is not taken. During this time it is likely that a withdrawal bleed occurs. If there is no withdrawal bleed and the medication has been taken as recommended then it is important to contact the prescribing practitioner.