Hirsutism

Hirsutism is a condition of unwanted, male-pattern hair growth in female. Hirsutism results in excessive unwanted hair growth on face, chest and back, where hair usually develops in men. This illness affects around 5-10% of women and is more often seen in women between 30-50 years old.

Women with hirsutism have high level of androgens (i.e testosterone), which is male sex hormone. The increase of androgen level can be due to adrenals, ovary disease or medication.

For examples:

  1. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) which could cause irregular menstrual period and infertility.
  2. Tumors in the suprarenal glands and ovaries.
  3. Adrenal Gland disorder — Cushing’s syndrome.
  4. Medications that could cause hair growth. (i.e: Danazol or Danocrine)
  5. Anabolic steroids.

In addition, there are unavoidable factors that could increase one’s risk of hirsutism, such as hirsutism can be inherited genetically under some condition. Ethnic origin, studies shows that women from Europe, the Middle East, and south Asia have higher risk in getting hirsutism.

Hirsutism is one of the symptoms of increasing in androgens level. The excess androgen also contributes in decreasing of breast size, enlarging clitoris, increasing muscle mass, acne, irregular menstrual period, and deepening of voice.

Instead of plucking, shaving, waxing and keep struggling on the ways to remove excessive hair on the body, there is actually a better way to cure the root cause — ACUPUNCTURE.

Acupuncture is well known as a safe and natural way to treat the excessive hair growth and can balance the internal environment and restore the health in the body. It is a technique in which practitioners stimulate points on the body by inserting fine needles through the skin.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (“TCM”) believes that illness or pain is caused by a blockage in the flow of vital energy or “qi” in human body. Practitioners will apply acupuncture on the specific acupuncture points in order to unblock the flow of “qi” and restore balance in the body.

Acupuncture helps in solving the underlying causes instead of temporary relief. Research has also demonstrated that acupuncture is effective in decreasing circulating testosterone as seen in Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (“PCOS”), an ovary disease which can cause hirsutism. Hence, hirsutism is just a symptom associated with PCOS. When the androgen level is lowered, the growth of hair can be controlled as well.

In TCM treatment of hirsutism, the symptom of unwanted hair growth in women is seen as part of a greater energetic imbalance in the body and may involve multiple organs and meridians. Normally, the points on liver meridian and kidney meridian will be chosen as they play significant part in balancing hormone. In TCM theory, kidney is understood as the source of life in the body, it stores essence and contribute in reproduction, growth and development. Whereas liver stores and holds blood and even governs a woman’s menstrual cycle. Therefore, these are the corresponding points to be emphasized on in treating the symptoms of irregular menstrual and abnormal hair growth in hirsutism.

Each individual needs to be diagnosed through a TCM diagnosis procedure individually and individualized treatment will be applied. In some case of of hirsutism, the liver may be the organ that needs to be emphasized, but it could be the spleen for the others. Similarly, acupuncture points in the arms may be used in one person and for another person points in the legs may be chosen.

However, women suffering from hirsutism need more care than what people expect. They need emotional support aside from effective treatment as they tend to receive peculiar eye sight from the others. A healthy lifestyle, including balanced diet, regular exercise, and treatments plays an important role in coping with hirsutism.