Hirsutism and Quality of Life

  • S. Davies
Reference work entry


Hirsutism in women results in significant psychological and social problems. It impacts negatively upon the quality of life of women and is the cause of stress, anxiety and depression, particularly in cultures where hairlessness is viewed as the norm for women. Facially hirsute women perceive themselves to be in poorer health than non-hirsute women, and there are fewer in employment despite having similar educational experiences and levels of attainment.

Hirsute women spend much time and effort in removing excess facial: and can feel overwhelmed and frustrated by their efforts. All currently available treatments have limited effectiveness and can have serious side-effects. It is therefore a testament to the levels of distress caused by the problem that women persist with treatment despite the difficulties encountered.

There is very limited evidence as to the cost-effectiveness of the various treatments for hirsutism but the evidence that does exist indicates that the use eflornithine cream results in a small gain in Quality Adjusted Life Years ( QALYs) for patients and provides acceptable value for money.

When women and their partners were asked to consider what they would be willing to pay for an effective treatment for hirsutism, the average amounts were £40 and £47 per month respectively which is more than is currently spent on alternatives by women with the condition.

It is essential that research continues to be undertaken into this distressing problem and that clinicians who treat women with hirsutism deal with them sensitively, acknowledging the major psychological and emotional difficulties these women are facing.


Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Hair Growth Hair Removal Facial Hair Hirsute Woman 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

List of Abbreviations:


British Association of Dermatologists


confidence interval


Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin


EuroQol 5d


Food and Drugs Administration


general practitioner


health related quality of life


primary care dermatology society


polycystic ovary syndrome


quality adjusted life year


standard deviation


visual analogue scale


willingness to pay


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  • S. Davies

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