What Is Hypertrichosis?
Hypertrichosis is a condition where there are excessive amounts of hairs growing on the skin. Hair follicles (or hair cells) produce the hair. These hairs grow out in all directions, covering most or all parts of your body. Some types of hair growth are less noticeable than others, but they’re always present. For example, some people may have very few hairs while other people may have many tiny hairs growing on their head.
The term “hyper” means overdeveloped and “throng” means thick. So hypertrichosis would be when you had lots of hair on your face and body.
Hair loss occurs when the hair follicle loses its supply of blood. When this happens, the hair falls out. Hair loss can happen anywhere on your body, but it’s usually most pronounced around your scalp and legs. Sometimes other areas such as arms and chest may lose hair too.
How Common Is It?
Hypertrichosis is rare. There are only a handful of cases in the world. People who have hypertrichosis may experience itching and tingling where hair growth occurs. These people may even feel pain from the extra hair.
What Is Hirsutism?
Hirsutism is similar to hypertrichosis except it’s on your face and body too. Hirsutism is caused by a hormonal imbalance. It is also considered a medical condition. The hormonal imbalance can be caused by an overactive ovary or a tumor on the adrenal glands (these sit near your kidneys).
What Else Does It Do?
Besides producing extra hair, hypertrichosis can cause issues in other parts of your body. This may be due to the extra weight of the hair. If your body is weakened, you may suffer from other medical conditions.
What Do I Do If I Have It?
If you have hypertrichosis or hirsutism, you should see your doctor immediately. These conditions can be dangerous to your health and many other factors may be involved too. Your treatment is unique to your condition and not everyone will experience the same symptoms.
How Does It Feel?
Aside from feeling different than everybody else, it’s very normal to feel self-conscious about your condition. It’s also common for you to feel worried about your health and how you look. Many people with your condition have a high self-esteem. However, this can be destroyed when people are cruel or judgmental (even if they don’t mean to be). Because of this, many people with your condition seek out a lot of support from friends and family.
You may also find that people ask questions about your condition all the time. They may even be insensitive without realizing it. If this happens a lot, it’s best to be polite but keep your distance from these people. It’s best not to dwell on how you look or feel.
Instead, focus on your skills and talents.
How Can I Cope With This?
If you have hypertrichosis or hirsutism, dealing with it will be an ongoing process. It takes time to accept yourself and to learn to feel positive about yourself.
There are many things you can do to help improve your outlook. It’s important to surround yourself with supportive friends and family. If you don’t have this support, you can seek out a therapist or join an online community where you can share your feelings.
If you’re struggling from an eating or self-esteem problem, seek help from a doctor or mental health professional. They can provide valuable advice on how to handle your condition and how to manage it.
No matter what you do, never let your condition take over your life. Keep things in perspective and focus on the things that are important in life.
Living with hypertrichosis or hirsuitism is different for everyone. You may not experience everything on this list. Everyone is different and some people have it much worse than others. Just remember you’re not alone – there are others out there just like you.
Be proud of yourself and know you are beautiful.
Sources & references used in this article:
Hairy Cobblers and Philosopher-Queens by J Batchelor – 1892 – religious tract Society
Alone with the Hairy Ainu: Or, 3800 Miles on a Pack Saddle in Yezo and a Cruise to the Kurile Islands by EV Spelman – Feminist Interpretations of Plato, 1994 – books.google.com
What, no baby?: Why women are losing the freedom to mother, and how they can get it back by AHS Landor – 2012 – books.google.com
Hairy brushes by L Cannold – 2011 – books.google.com
Hairy black holes in the ghost-free bigravity theory by M Kimmel – 1995 – Temple University Press
What, if anything, is SI? Organization of first somatosensory area of cortex by S Strassmann – ACM Siggraph Computer Graphics, 1986 – dl.acm.org
What a man’s gotta do: The masculine myth in popular culture by MS Volkov – Physical Review D, 2012 – APS