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Hirsutism is a condition that causes women to grow excess hair on the face and other areas of the body where men usually grow hair, reports the University of Maryland Medical Center, or UMMC 23. Approximately half of women with hirsutism have unusually high amounts of androgen, or male sex hormones 23. High levels of androgens can be caused by polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS 5. Saw palmetto is sometimes suggested as an herbal remedy for unwanted facial hair growth and other symptoms of hirsutism caused by PCOS 234. Talk to your health care provider about taking saw palmetto 4.
An estimated 8 percent of women in the US have hirsutism, according to the UMMC 23. Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS is the most widespread hormonal disorder among women of childbearing age 5. Research continues into the exact cause of PCOS. Women with insulin resistance and low-grade inflammation appear to be more susceptible to the condition. Heredity also appears to play a role.
- An estimated 8 percent of women in the US have hirsutism, according to the UMMC 2.
- Heredity also appears to play a role.
Causes of Chin Hair on Women
The most common symptoms of hirsutism is hair growth on the upper lip, breasts and abdomen, according to the UMMC 23. Women with hirsutism may also develop high blood pressure, a deepened voice, reduced breast size and enlarged ovaries 23. PCOS may be present when menstrual cycles are irregular, reports the Mayo Clinic website 1.
Effects and Dosage
Saw palmetto may reduce levels of male hormones due its anti-androgenic effects, according to the UMMC 4. Saw palmetto is sometimes recommended an an herbal remedy for PCOS, but little evidence exists to support its effectiveness 4. The recommended dosage of saw palmetto for symptoms of hirsutism is 160 mg twice daily 234. Ask your doctor about the therapeutic benefits of saw palmetto for unwanted facial hair 4.
What Causes Lip Hair Growth?
Saw palmetto is generally regarded as safe when taken as recommended 4. In rare cases saw palmetto may cause minor abdominal discomfort 4. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not take saw palmetto since it may mimic the effects of certain hormones, advises the UMMC 4.
Hirsutism and the excess facial hair it can produce is usually not preventable, according to the Mayo Clinic 123. If PCOS is the cause of hirsutism, losing excess weight and preventing insulin resistance may help reduce androgen levels 23. Getting regular exercise can help manage your weight and guard against insulin resistance.
Causes of Chin Hair on Women
What Causes Lip Hair Growth?
Will Drinking Green Tea Lower Androgen in Women?
Sudden Facial Hair Growth in Women
Prolactinoma & Acne
What Are the Dangers of Finasteride With Testosterone?
Junel Side Effects
Herbs to Decrease Testosterone
The Pituitary & Weight Loss
Herbal Testosterone Blocker
- Mayo Clinic: Hirsutism
- UMM: Hirsutism
- UPMC: Hirsutism
- UMM: Saw Palmetto
- Mayo Clinic: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
- Saw Palmetto. Penn State Hershey. Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Health Information Library
- Saw Palmetto. Natural Medicines Database. Professional Monograph.
- Saw Palmetto. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. About Herbs, Botanicals, and Other Products.
- Agbabiaka TB1, Pittler MH, Wider B, Ernst E. "Serenoa repens (saw palmetto): a systematic review of adverse events." Drug Saf. 2009;32(8):637-47.
- Gerber GS1. "Saw palmetto for the treatment of men with lower urinary tract symptoms." J Urol. 2000 May;163(5):1408-12.
- Gordon AE1, Shaughnessy AF. "Saw palmetto for prostate disorders." Am Fam Physician. 2003 Mar 15;67(6):1281-3.
- Morgia G1, Mucciardi G, Galì A, Madonia M, Marchese F, Di Benedetto A, Romano G, Bonvissuto G, Castelli T, Macchione L, Magno C. "Treatment of chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome category IIIA with Serenoa repens plus selenium and lycopene (Profluss) versus S. repens alone: an Italian randomized multicenter-controlled study." Urol Int. 2010;84(4):400-6.
- National Institutes of Health. "Saw palmetto: MedlinePlus Supplements." February 2015.
- Prager N1, Bickett K, French N, Marcovici G. "A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to determine the effectiveness of botanically derived inhibitors of 5-alpha-reductase in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia." J Altern Complement Med. 2002 Apr;8(2):143-52.
- Tacklind J1, Macdonald R, Rutks I, Stanke JU, Wilt TJ. "Serenoa repens for benign prostatic hyperplasia." Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Dec 12;12:CD001423.
Karen Hellesvig-Gaskell is a broadcast journalist who began writing professionally in 1980. Her writing focuses on parenting and health, and has appeared in “Spirituality & Health Magazine" and “Essential Wellness.” Hellesvig-Gaskell has worked with autistic children at the Fraser School in Minneapolis and as a child care assistant for toddlers and preschoolers at the International School of Minnesota, Eden Prairie.