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Tracking down the cause of women's facial hair


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  • Chief Cushie

From Yuma Sun - Yuma, AZ, USA


Tracking down the cause of women's facial hair



Feb 9, 2005


DEAR DR. DONOHUE: You recently wrote about a woman concerned with losing her hair. I have the opposite problem. I am 43 and have a mustache and goatee, and I must shave daily. The hair on my legs also grows rapidly. What are the treatments for this condition? -- D.S.


ANSWER: Some of what I say applies only to premenstrual women, but most can be applied to women of all ages.


Many women experience hair growth in places where it is a male feature -- the face, chin, neck or chest. Hair growth in those areas (and often robust leg-hair growth) depends on the influence of male hormones or on hair follicles that are extremely sensitive to low levels of male hormones. Tracking down the cause of the overly abundant supply of the hormone determines the proper treatment.


One common condition is polycystic ovary syndrome, which, in its full expression, features large, cystic ovaries, menstrual irregularities, acne, infertility and the failure to ovulate. Male-pattern hair growth is another feature.


Tumors of the ovary or adrenal gland that produce male hormones are a rare but other possible cause. So are thyroid gland disorders and a condition called the metabolic syndrome, in which blood pressure is elevated and blood sugar is high, as are blood triglycerides. However, the greatest number of women with the problem fall into the "idiopathic" category, meaning no cause can be found.


Shaving is one solution. It doesn't make hair grow faster or thicker. Creme bleaches, chemical hair removers, electrolysis and laser treatments are other answers. Weight loss, when applicable, can lower male-hormone levels. Birth control pills are another way to blunt male-hormone action. So is the blood pressure medicine spironolactone. Vaniqa cream doesn't get rid of existing hair, but it prevents new hair growth.

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  • 10 months later...
  • Member of the 1000 Post Club

This is a little late in coming......Thank you for this article MaryO. I think someone just recently asked a question about hair growth on women. I went for my yearly pap last week and told my GP about how bad my hair grows and for the second time he proceded to tell me a story about when he was in medical school and how there was a waitress that had a full mustache and how he was very discuseted by it, It really makes me mad because I was obveously telling him how self concous I am about it......Go figure :rolleyes:





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God, this one really hits home. Good post Mary. Detestable spiky black hair, it's a very distressing problem.


Sherry, that GP deserves for every hair on his head to fall out for that! How insensitive are some of these medics ......


Have any of you gals tried vaniqa? Does it work?

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I wish I knew a cure for it...its one of the things I hate the most and I have suffered since I was in my late teens. Thanks for posting this Mary.

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