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What causes facial hair in women?

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Practicing since : 1999
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Im a 24 y/o female growing facial hair down my neck sideburns and a few strays on my cheeks. Could my hormones be unbalanced? What could tests could i ask for or what otc meds could i get to stop this growth. Im tired of waxing my entire face. The neck hair and sideburns come in dark and course like a mans beard. Its embarassing.
Posted Sat, 15 Feb 2014 in Thyroid Problem and Hormonal Problems
Answered by Dr. Timothy Raichle 1 hour later
Brief Answer: Hello, I would be happy to help... Detailed Answer: Yes, this is likely a hormonal problem related to something called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Here is a summary that I recently wrote: Polycystic ovary syndrome affects affects almost 10% of women! It is classified as a “syndrome” which means that it is a group of associated symptoms (not really a specific disease). The basic features of the syndrome include: 1. Menstrual cycle irregularity – This is related to irregular or absent ovulation. Normally, women start a cycle (day#1) and ovulate around day#14. After ovulation, the timing of the next cycle is usually very predictable. When ovulation is delayed or absent, the timing of the next cycle is very unpredictable. Women will often complain of irregular bleeding that is confusing (is this my period?) or absent cycles (often skipping whole months). 2. Excess Androgens (“male-like” hormones) – This is also very common with PCOS. The typical symptoms include acne, excess growth of coarse hair on the upper lip, under the chin and on the lower belly (called “hirsutism”) and even male pattern hair loss. 3. Polycystic ovaries – As I stated above, the ovaries have a very typical appearance in women who are not ovulating. In the early part of your cycle, you normally recruit eggs which produce estrogen and grow the uterine lining in anticipation of pregnancy. When ovulation does not occur, the eggs remain visible on the ovary. Think of it as a state of “suspended animation”. 4. About 75% of women with PCOS are overweight. You can easily see if you fall into this category by calculating your BMI, or body-mass-index. It is based on your height and weight. There are multiple places on line to perform this calculation. Here is one link: WWW.WWWW.WW 5. Women with PCOS often have “insulin-resistance” which is a pre-diabetic state. It goes without saying that PCOS is associated with insulin resistance, but also an increased risk for diabetes, cholesterol problems and heart disease The typical workup, besides consulting with an OB/GYN and having a thorough exam, might include: a. Total testosterone (androgenic hormone) b. Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate = DHEA-s (adrenal function) c. 17-hydroxyprogesterone (adrenal function) d. TSH (thyroid function) e. FSH (ovarian reserve) f. Prolactin (pituitary hormone, elevation leads to absent ovulation) g. HCG (rule out pregnancy) Treatment is often just by giving you birth control pills. This will regulate your cycle and lower androgen levels. It is difficult to reverse the effect of coarse hair growth, but it is worth trying to stop it from getting worse with treatment. I hope that this helps! Let me know.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What causes facial hair in women? 9 hours later
Thank you and i have cysts on my ovaries for about two years now and this is when it started. Ive had a gyn that threw out the idea of probably endometriosis and pcos. So i will go ask my md to run my labs and tx this. I am a little overweight but have been steadily losing weight with excercise and due to being a night shift nurse i have a hard time with a diet because i cant eat at normal times like 9-5 normal jobs ha. Well thank you i had my suspicions that it was pcos i am happy to have probably confirmed it. Ill wait for labs to come in and i appreciate your help with the details. I had no idea even as a nurse that it could lead to diabetes and heart disease (which runs in my family as it is). Thanks again .
Answered by Dr. Timothy Raichle 2 hours later
Brief Answer: I appreciate the followup... Detailed Answer: You are definitely on the right track!! Any efforts at weight loss over time are going to be the single most effective way to treat this problem. In the meantime, use my answer above to guide questions you might have when you see your doctor. Good luck!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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