If you are one of the many women who suffer from excess facial hair – otherwise known as hirsutism – you’ve likely asked yourself many a question in regards to this annoying condition, namely: “Why in the heck am I sprouting whiskers on my chin?!”
While, luckily, hirsutism is a condition that a good wax job can easily conceal, it’s important to acknowledge that its causes are not always benign.
Here are 5 reasons why you may be plucking more often than your other girlfriends…
Changes in hormone production
Whether it’s due to puberty, pregnancy, or menopause, it’s no surprise that changing hormones can wreak havoc on a person’s appearance. Most frequently, hirsutism caused by hormonal changes is not permanent, but in some cases, especially those of menopausal women, a doctor may prescribe Hormone Replacement Therapy to help alleviate symptoms.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Women who suffer from PCOS – a syndrome that, among other things, effects the balance of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone – have also been known to battle with excess facial hair. To combat this, experts suggest following a specialized low-dairy diet geared towards PCOS patients.
This condition is caused when cortisol, the blood pressure regulating hormone found in your adrenal glands, is being produced at very high levels. In the case of Cushing patients, excess body hair is one of the more minor symptoms of an otherwise potentially serious condition.
Fortunately, in many cases, high cortisol levels that causes hirsutism can be regulated by either medication, surgery, or radiation treatments.
MedicationsMonik Markus via Flickr
Believe it or not, even something as widely-used as the birth control pill can produce excess body hair, particularly chin hair, in women. Aside from some oral contraceptives, steroids have also been known to cause this problem.
Generally speaking, if patients are not found to have hormonal imbalances (i.e. they get regular menstrual cycles), and they have not been diagnosed with Cushing syndrome or PCOS, genetics is most likely to be to blame for excess facial hair.
As it turns out, race also may play a factor in whether or not a woman’s hirsutism is inherited. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, women of European, Middle Eastern, and South Asian ancestry are more likely to develop the condition.
If your unwanted hair is due to genetics, then it may be time to seek advice from your other female family members. Chances are, they have some great tips for ditching those whiskers!
Talk to your doctor
Surprising stuff, huh? Although extra chin hair doesn’t necessarily point to health problems in most cases, it’s important to let your doctor know about it, especially if it’s severe or has developed quickly (over the course of 1-2 years). Better to be safe than sorry!
Now that you’ve been introduced to some of the causes of hirsutism, we’d like to hear from you! Do you suffer from this condition? If so, has your or your doctor been able to pinpoint a root cause? How do you get rid of unwanted body hair?