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Everyone has facial hair. It’s the amount, where it grows and the thickness of the hair that determines if it’s related to a hormonal imbalance. When women grow facial hair that’s dark, thick and coarse, the condition is known as hirsutism.
While the label defines the unusual hair growth, it doesn’t tell you the underlying cause of it. There can be several reasons why you grow facial hair, but each reason is related to either hormones or genetics – and even then, genetics can have a hormonal foundation as the underlying cause.
By nature, women have facial hair that’s usually very fine. When they grow hair that’s noticeable above the upper lip, dark enough or thick enough to be considered a mustache or facial hair longer than a quarter of an inch, this is hormone related.
Women who have hormone imbalances can also grow long, dark hair on their jaw line, chin, arms, chest, stomach and back. The reason that the hair grows in this distinctive way is because something has gotten out of whack with either the estrogen or the testosterone a woman has.
If you’re growing hair the way that a man would grow hair, that’s one of the first clues that something is wrong with your hormone levels and this can cause some health problems.
When testosterone is off balance in a woman’s body, it means that her body has a problem with the over production of androgens, known as male hormones. This may or may not be related to polycystic ovarian syndrome – also known as PCOS.
This common hormonal imbalance can affect women as young as their early teens. While the hair growth itself isn’t dangerous, the cause of it can leave a woman battling things like infertility, voice changes and masculine traits.
When a woman has PCOS due to a hormone imbalance, it can cause problems with the menstrual cycle – including excessive amounts of bleeding, severe cramping and fibroids.
It can also cause acne – even for women who are older or considered out of the acne prone stage of life. Although the male hormones are one cause of PCOS, another key factor in this condition that leads to hormone imbalance is the amount of insulin your body produces.
This hormone is found in greater levels in women with a PCOS hormone imbalance. Signs that your facial hair growth is caused by a hormonal imbalance include irritability, crying, anxiety, anger, extreme fatigue, inability to conceive, headaches, low levels of aldosterone or problems with the cortisol hormone.
Having bloodwork done to test your hormone levels can let you pinpoint the hormone that’s causing your facial hair growth. The good news is that excessive facial hair growth caused by a hormone imbalance can be treated with medication to restore the levels to their proper numbers.