In this blog post we discuss the condition of excessive facial and body hair in females and a few natural remedies for hirsutism. We also cover the causes of this condition, what are the symptoms, what type of women it commonly affects and how we can control and combat it with dietary changes.
As a woman, it can be very difficult to begin noticing the growth of excess body hair in places where such hair does not normally grow on females. When there is an excessive growth of facial and body hair, it is usually described as a condition known as hirsutism. This is a condition that causes unwanted hair in females, and is characterized by thick, coarse black hair in areas where such hair usually appears on men. These areas include the chest, face, and back, but can include other areas of the body as well.
What causes hirsutism in women?
Hirsutism can often be the cause of unwanted hair in females, due to the presence of abnormally high levels of androgen (male sex hormones) in their systems. It is important to note that this condition can be successfully treated, and the level of androgen in your system safely and effectively lowered. Once treated, this condition will most likely not recur unless other, more serious, underlying causes are responsible for a fresh outbreak.
Most of the known causes of hirsutism, such as androgen, are not severe and will respond well to treatment. Occasionally, hirsutism is caused by a condition known as Cushing syndrome. Overall, about 8 percent of women suffer from hirsutism at some point in their lives. Most will recover soon enough from this condition after it has been correctly diagnosed and a course of treatment prescribed.
What are the symptoms of hirsutism?
The symptoms of hirsutism can be easily described. These include excessive hairiness on women, irregularity of the menstrual cycle, excessive acne, and noticeable loss of your feminine shape in certain areas of the body, such as the breasts, hips, buttocks, and thighs. The condition of hirsutism can lead to a serious crisis of sexual identity in a woman.
In addition to excess body hair, you may also began to notice symptoms that included a deepening of my voice, the onset of male pattern baldness, a sudden enlargement of the muscles in my shoulders, and an enlargement of the clitoris. These symptoms indicated that there is a definite overproduction of androgens affecting your body.
However, if the condition of excess body hair is also accompanied by such symptoms as diabetes, high blood pressure, and a noticeable weight gain (especially in the abdomen), this may indicate that you are suffering from Cushing syndrome, which is a more serious condition that may require a different course of diagnosis and treatment.
What are natural remedies for hirsutism?
There are a number of natural remedies for hirsutism that are known to be of immense help to women who are suffering from this condition. Excessive hairiness on women is a problem that can be addressed in several stages, making use of different methods of approach. Some of the most common treatments and preventative measures are described below:
What herbs can be used to prevent or fight hirsutism?
The problem of excessive hairiness on women can often be managed through the use of certain herbal remedies. Some of the most commonly used herbs include: spearmint, licorice, white peony, green tea.
According to the US National Library of Medicine, spearmint has been traditionally thought to have testosterone reducing tendencies. A study done in Turkey showed that patients who drank at least 2 cups a day of spearmint had a significant reduction of free testosterone and increase in LH, FSH and estradiol. This impact on hormone levels can help to alleviate and event treat hirsutism.
The combination of licorice and white peony is well known in the natural management of excess male hormones in females and has been said to help reduce excess hair growth in women. According to a small clinical trial published in 2004 by Armanini and colleagues, licorice helps to decrease total testosterone due to its phyto-estrogenic properties. White peony is also said to reduce production of testosterone and in addition promote the conversion of testosterone into estrogen.
Green tea may also have anti androgen properties and is said to restrict the 5-alpha reductase conversion of normal testosterone into DHT, a more powerful form of testoterone that can lead to acne, excess hair growth and baldness.
In summary, these herbs contain properties that are useful in strengthening the body’s systems in order to help them to combat the onset of excessive androgens.
Using food to combat and control hirsutism
Another of the most commonly prescribed natural remedies for hirsutism is a simple change of diet. Cutting down on the amount of red meat that you eat, as well as foods that contain refined substances such as sugar is a must. Pasta and white bread are also cited as examples of overly refined foods that may lead to an increase of hirsutism in women.
Processed carbohydrates and sugars cause a spike in insulin levels which has direct impact on the production of male hormones in our bodies. Abstention from these foods may help your symptoms lessen or disappear.
The goal is to reach for foods that are low on the glycemic index (GI), which measures how foods impacts blood sugar and insulin levels. Harvard Medical School published the glycemic load for 100 plus foods, which you can find HERE. It’s an excellent idea to eat about 35 to 45 grams of fiber per day, as well as lean protein (roughly 0.75 to 1 gram of lean protein per pound of lean body mass. You might also try taking a half teaspoon of cinnamon per day with your meals.
How can exercise help with hirsutism?
Exercise has been shown to be beneficial when it comes to managing excessive hair growth. Combined with an alteration in diet as shown above, a regular exercise routine can effectively reduce abnormal levels of androgen hormones that are produced in the female body. In the article Natural Ways to Reduce Androgen in Females, we highlight a 12-month study conducted by Anne McTiernan at the Cancer Prevention Research Program of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center which shows that loss of body fat in conjunction with moderate intensity exercise causes greater decline in androgen, testosterone and free testosterone in women. It is recommended to exercise for at least 30 minutes per day, and at least 5 times per week.
One of the beneficial side effects of adopting an exercise regimen in order to combat hirsutism is that you will get into the habit of eating carefully and exercising regularly. While the symptoms of hirsutism will eventually disappear, the healthy habits that you have learned from this experience will continue to benefit you.
Are you struggling with hirsutism? What natural remedies for hirsutism have you tried and how has it worked for you? Please share in the comment box below.
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- US National Library Of Medicine, Natural Institutes of Health, Grant Paul, Ramasamy Shamin, 2012
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Hi! I am Belle and my goal is to help women around the world to feel beautiful and live their best lives. I spearhead the team at LadiesBalance.com. I am a chartered herbalist, licensed esthetician and certified fitness trainer. I am also the formulator of ASANA by Ladies Balance, an all natural plant based blend that combines powerful women herbs and superfoods.