What should a woman do if she disturbed by abnormal and excessive facial hair but wants to live by Gurmat?
Everyone, irrespective of gender, has facial hair. Men have more longer and visible hair, and females have a smaller amount facial hair which is less visible. Therefore, contrary to what the media and fashion driven propaganda, women do have facial hair and it is perfectly normal. However, if a woman has ‘health concern’ of having excessive hair or abnormal amount of hair growing in places where females don’t grow hair then there is nothing wrong in feeling concerned and seeking medical advice. Like any other health concern, it is a genuine concern and should not be ignored if it is causing distress. Just as one would feel concern if they were suddenly excessively putting on weight or suffering excessive hair loss, one would not just sit at home and say ‘It’s God’s Will’ but rather go and seek advice from a medical expert or doctor.
According to the Sikh Rehat Maryada it is a ‘Bajjar Kurehat’, cardinal prohibition, to dishonour the hair (anywhere on the body, from the head to toe). For this reason laser surgery, bleaching, shaving, plucking or waxing should be not used and instead follow medical advice and treatments which remain within the principals of Gurmat (the Guru’s teachings). Shaving or removing facial hair would not only be a Bajjar Kurehat, which would cause one to become a Patit and the need to go Pesh in front of the Panj Pyaare, but it would also result in the facial hair growing back thicker and darker. It is not a solution to the problem.
The female anatomy runs a delicate balance of hormones. Androgens, male hormones that include testosterone, are found in both men and women. If there are too many androgens, women will begin to grow excessive coarse, dark facial hair. Other symptoms of hirsutism include decreased breast size, irregular menstruation, a deepening voice and other areas of male-pattern hair growth throughout the body.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Excessive facial hair on women might be caused by cysts on the ovaries. Women who have polycystic ovary syndrome also suffer from high levels of androgens and irregular menstruation. Other symptoms include acne, weight gain, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and infertility. Women who have polycystic ovary syndrome are usually treated through birth control pills, anti-androgen hormones and surgery.
The over-production of androgen hormones and/or their increased activity in women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) could mean masculinising effects including development of facial hair.
Cushing’s syndrome, a condition caused by having too much cortisol in the bloodstream, also causes excessive facial hair. Cushing’s syndrome may also be caused by a tumor in the body, which would be treated through surgery and radiation. This condition might also be a side effect of corticosteroid medications. Other symptoms of this condition are headaches, bruising, weight gain and fatigue.
Obesity and Genetics
Women who are overweight may also see an increase in facial hair. Fat traps androgens, creating a hormonal imbalance. Because weight gain and facial hair are a sign of other conditions and disorders, women should be thoroughly examined by a doctor to make certain that there are no other underlying medical issues. Along with other physical characteristics, ancestry and genetics plays a role in whether women have facial hair.
Menopause and Perimenopause
Menopausal and perimenopausal hormonal imbalances can also increase facial hair. Loss of estrogen and an increase in testosterone can also create hot flashes. Women in their late 30s to their mid-50s might also experience depression, irregular periods, mood swings and night sweats.
You’re not going to solve this on your own. Ask your doctor for a referral for blood tests to check your hormone levels. Sometimes this cannot show accurate results. If this is the case, ask for a referral for bloods to be taken on the 21st day from the start of your cycle – this is to check your Luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and bloods to be taken between days 2-5 of your cycle. This is to check if the ovaries are releasing the egg. This way you can gage how everything is working internally.
Estrogen hormone pills (also used for birth-control) works when a woman needs oestrogen. Spironolactone, a water pill, can counter the influence of male hormones and is often useful. Metformin (Glucophage) is often prescribed for women with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). It is commonly used to treat elevated blood glucose levels in people with Type 2 Diabetes and often employed as an off-label prescription for PCOS. This means that it was originally used only for individuals with Type 2 Diabetes but is now prescribed for PCOS patients because it has similar actions in both groups. However, before taking any medicines you should seek medical advice. Not all of these are suitable for everyone, so research the options and work with you GP to find what works for you. Sometimes it is a case of trial and error.
The solution for most females – and there is a solution, with this diagnosis is to be prescribed a combination of medication to regulate the body hormones. But before trying these, work with your GP or an alternative medicine doctor (e.g. ayurvedic treatment etc) to come up with a program to help you tackle this naturally first. Weight gain and becoming insulin resistant plays a huge factor into this condition. One needs to do the following:
1. Stop eating any meat, fish or eggs – as animal hormones can affect the balance within our body.
2. Drink only dairy free milk or organic milk, where you have to. A lot of cows are injected with hormones to make them produce more milk which can be seen to have an affect on hair growth. Women in the West tend to have more facial hair growth because of the unnatural milk production.
3. Introduce a healthy diet with no sugar unless natural sugars (e.g. from fruits etc). You can buy alternative or natural sugars from health food shops or any major food stores. Eat a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables.
4. Keeping a Vegan diet.
5. Sometimes unwanted hair is caused by high levels of testosterone, especially in women. Spearmint tea can help lower the testosterone levels. Drinking one to two cups daily can help reduce and remove unwanted facial hair.
6. Turmeric powder (haldi) reduces facial hair and makes it grow slower and finer. People claim that if you use it constantly over months, the hair gradually stops growing back. Just mix some haldi into a little bit of milk or honey to make a *thick* paste (so it doesn’t drip as it stains clothes really badly – you should do this before you shower maybe). Add some sugar crystals as a mild exfoliant and rub the mixture over your face and any other problem areas. Leave it on for about 15 mins. and then wash it all off. You may not have to use a moisturizer after this as it conditions the skin on its own.
7.Exercise regularly and keep fit.
Over time you will start to see hair thinning or stop growing, weight loss, you will feel energized, healthy, and have a more regular cycle.
Remain positive, love yourself, smile and keep faith in Guru Ji. Remember to follow through the health and medical advice that the doctor gives and keep healthy.