Men often take pride in their ability to grow facial hair and body hair. While some grow it better than others, it’s a trait that most men look forward to as they grow older. For women, excess facial and body hair is a nightmare and can lead to a great deal of distress and embarrassment.
If you’re a female that’s noticing excess hair growth on the chin, upper lip, back, or chest, don’t panic — you’re not alone. In fact, it’s more common than you’d think and there’s actually a medical name for this phenomenon — hirsutism. It affects almost 10% of all women in the US.
The term hirsutism refers to excess hair growth on women’s bodies where it normally doesn’t grow. It often leads to a loss of self-esteem, feeling self-conscious about your appearance, and a lack of confidence in social situations — almost like everyone’s silently making fun of it.
What Causes Excessive Hair Growth on a Woman’s Body?
There are plenty of factors that play a role in hirsutism, but it’s almost always caused by an excess of androgens, which are male hormones that contribute to ‘male’ characteristics. While women produce androgens in small amounts, high levels of androgens can be troublesome.
This hormonal imbalance is usually linked to high testosterone activity — which is sometimes due to an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone. Hirsutism can also be caused by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or issues with the pituitary gland, adrenal glands, or thyroid gland.
In some more rare cases, the cause of hirsutism in women is unknown — called idiopathic hirsutism. Most women with excess body hair growth or visible facial hair respond by shaving or waxing it, which can be a nuisance to your daily routine and won’t solve the underlying cause.
Supplements to Help Treat Excessive or Unwanted Hair Growth
While hirsutism can be a nightmare to experience, it’s not the end of the world and there are ways to treat it naturally. You don’t have to live in fear of people noticing or making fun of your excess hair growth. Instead, you can start to reduce and slow hair growth with supplements.
There are a number of different supplements that can help treat hirsutism, but you’ll want to meet with a functional medicine doctor to determine which supplement(s) are best — especially since everyone’s body is unique and everyone’s condition is going to be a little bit different.
You’re also going to want to combine your supplements with healthy lifestyle changes, which will complement your treatment well. This includes eating a healthier and well-balanced diet, exercising on a regular basis, getting enough quality sleep, controlling your sugar levels, and managing your cortisol levels.
Progesterone is an essential hormone to a woman’s health. In regards to treating excess facial or body hair growth in women, it works in three major ways — it inhibits the 5-a reductase enzyme, it reduces levels of luteinizing hormone, and it blocks androgen receptors in the body.
The 5-a reductase enzyme converts testosterone into the more potent DHT. Luteinizing hormone (LH) tells the body to produce more testosterone. By reducing both, you can slow testosterone production and balance your progesterone and estrogen levels.
Zinc deficiency is more common in women than in men. It not only plays a role in regulating thyroid function, but it maintains balanced levels of sex hormones. It not only affects the 5-a reductase enzyme, which we mentioned above, but it can normalize progesterone levels.
In addition to supplements, there are a number of food sources that contain zinc — including meat, legumes, seeds, nuts, dairy, eggs, whole grains, and potatoes to name a few.
Reishi mushroom falls under the category of functional mushrooms — those that provide functional benefits, in addition to nutritional benefits. Not only does Reishi boost immune function and digestion, but it can also help regulate and balance hormone levels in the female body.
It does this through its effects on the 5-a reductase enzyme and the hypothalamic-pituitary axis — which is a system that’s often damaged by high levels of stress and abnormal cortisol levels.
Diindolylmethane is commonly found in cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli. It plays an important role in estrogen metabolism. Not only can it help eliminate harmful estrogens from the body, but it can increase healthy estrogens.
By improving and balancing estrogen levels, you can reduce the amount of testosterone activity. Of course, this will result in less hair on the face or body — something most women want.
Melatonin is usually referred to as the sleep hormone. It plays an important role in your circadian rhythm and sleep-wake cycle. In fact, melatonin can also help reduce symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome. For these reasons, melatonin is sometimes recommended for hirsutism.
Of course, you should only consider supplementing with melatonin if you’re having difficulty sleeping. If this doesn’t sound like you, then you should focus on the supplements listed above.
Inositol is a vitamin-like substance that can help those living with hirsutism in two major ways. By improving liver function, inositol can help with female hormonal balance — including estrogen and progesterone. Not only that, but inositol can help improve sleep quality and brain wellness.
In addition to supplements, you can find inositol in a number of foods — including cantaloupe, citrus fruits, beans, peas, peanut butter, whole grain bread, and other fiber-rich foods.
Contact Dr. Hagmeyer Today!
When the female body produces excess hair it places it shouldn’t, such as the face, chest, or back, it can become a nightmare for many women. Don’t worry, that’s where I come in. By diagnosing hirsutism and treating it naturally, you can start to regain self-consciousness.
If you feel like you’re suffering from hirsutism and want to find the best course of action moving forward, contact me today. I’ve helped plenty of women in the same shoes and would love the opportunity to help you make the necessary changes in your life to combat this condition.