Hirsutism is a common problem for women and associated with considerable psychological distress. Although it may indicate a significant metabolic disorder, it is often idiopathic. Cosmetic management is sufficient for most affected women but medical treatment may be needed when hair growth is severe.
The removal of facial and body hair has been intertwined with social and cultural practices for millennia. Cleopatra is reported to have ‘threaded’ her eyebrows, while classic nudes were generally lacking in any body hair. Hairiness is still often viewed as a masculine characteristic while hairlessness may be linked with various ideas of femininity, attractiveness and sexuality. Little wonder then that hirsutism can be associated with considerable psychological distress.