Hirsutism refers to excessive male pattern hair growth seen in women. Whether it's hair growth that develops in the upper lip, limbs, or chin, hirsutism is generally considered an undesirable body characteristic.
However, hirsutism is experienced by women in Singapore more often than you think. In fact, a 20-year-old DoctorxDentist reader mentioned in a post that she had been living with hirsutism for a long time (even though her menses were regular and she didn't have any acne).
She wondered what treatment options were available for hirsutism in Singapore. Endocrinologist Dr Abel Soh responded to her question regarding hirsutism as a condition and how to manage it. Here's what he shared.
Hirsutism can occur in various parts of the body
Excessive hair growth in women can be seen in many areas of the body. These include the upper lip, chin, midline chest, upper abdomen, limbs, and even back. It is often associated with acne or male pattern balding. Generally, doctors assess the severity of hirsutism using a clinical score to establish the progress of the condition. 
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can lead to hirsutism
One of the most common causes of hirsutism in premenopausal women is Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) -- a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age which involves experiencing infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods or excess male hormone levels. Aside from this (and other less common hormonal causes), certain drugs have, in some cases, also led to hirsutism. 
There are typically three steps to treating hirsutism
Dr Abel shared the three main phases of treating hirsutism once it's been diagnosed. This includes first treating the underlying cause once it has been identified. Next, cosmetic hair removal methods can be applied (such as shaving, plucking, and waxing). Finally, drug therapy may also be considered in order to reduce the condition's symptoms. 
Drug treatment involves managing hormones
When drug treatment is applied in cases of hirsutism, medication that can regulate female hormones or reduce the effects of the male hormone (testosterone) in the patient's body are implemented. In most instances, drug therapy provides a means of lasting improvement in women with moderate to severe hirsutism. 
Ultimately, medical advancement helps us enjoy many solutions to a variety of disorders and hirsutism is no exception. However, it’s important that you actively seek help and professional advice when it comes to treating the condition.
1. National University Hospital, Women's Centre. Excess facial hair in women (See: Hirsutism). National University Hospital, 2018. Accessed March 2019.
2. National University Hospital, Women's Centre. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). National University Hospital, 2018. Accessed March 2019.
3. Mayo Clinic Staff. Hirsutism. Mayo Clinic. 7 March 2018. Accessed March 2019.
4. Mayo Clinic Staff. Hirsutism. Mayo Clinic. 7 March 2018. Accessed March 2019.