Problem Hair On The Upper Lip
Hair on the upper lip is O.K. for a man, but a woman is likely to grab the tweezers at the first sign of a little fuzz. Tweezing is a handy and logical option for a few stray upper lip hairs. But for every girlie mustache, there’s a bevy of good friends who’ll pass along their contradictory tips—either tweezing your upper lip will make your hair thicker or repeated tweezing will cause the hair to grow thinner. The truth is that hairs on different parts of the body may not respond the same way to removal at the root. When it comes to upper lip hair, whether tweezing will cause the hair to grow back thinner or thicker is hard to predict.
Causes Of Hirsutism In Women
Some of the possible causes of hirsutism in women include:
- polycystic ovary syndrome about nine in 10 women with hirsutism have PCOS
- androgen-secreting tumour an abnormal growth on the ovary or the adrenal gland that produces androgens
- Cushings syndrome the umbrella term for a collection of hormonal disorders characterised by high levels of the hormone cortisol
- adrenal hyperplasia a group of disorders in which adrenal gland hormones are produced in the incorrect amounts
- hyperinsulinaemia the overproduction of the hormone insulin, usually linked with diabetes
- hyperprolactinaemia abnormally high levels of the hormone prolactin, which is normally associated with breastfeeding
- certain medications for example, anabolic steroids cause unwanted hair growth as a side effect
- uncommonly, anorexia nervosa, hypothyroidism and acromegaly.
Hair Loss During Menopausal Transition
Hair loss during the menopausal transition can be just as dramatic as menopausal hair loss. The two are both related to the same changes in hormone levels. The menopausal transition is the time leading up to menopause and can last several years. During the menopausal transition, fluctuating hormones can cause some of the same symptoms typically associated with menopause.
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Hirsutism Can Be A Symptom Of Hormonal Imbalance
Hirsutism, also called hypertrichosis, is the growth of terminal hair or thickened vellus hair in places more typical for men than women. It can either be genetic or caused by one of the bodys natural reactions to hormonal and biochemical imbalances, like insulin resistance and high levels of androgen hormones.
How severely or quickly hirsutism develops, and where it occurs, varies. The three main factors include:
- Production of abnormally high levels of androgens like testosterone.
- The amount of androgens being bound up by SHBG, or sex-hormonebinding globulin, versus how much is freely available in the bloodstream.
- The degree that androgen receptors around the hair follicles themselves become sensitized to androgen hormones.
Androgens are produced by your ovaries, your adrenal glands, and also peripherally in your fat tissues. From there, they are transported throughout the bloodstream to your hair follicles, where testosterone is converted into its more potent, follicle-active form. More sensitive hair follicles can spend a longer time in the anagen, or active, phase of hair growth.
Causes Of Hirsutism In Postmenopausal Women
Other than the hormonal levels being thrown out of balance, there are a couple of other causes that can lead to an excess of male hormones in the body, such as:
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
The excess production of male hormones may still occur in post-menopausal women, if they are affected by the polycystic ovary syndrome
There are some medications that alter androgen/estrogen levels, or certain supplements may also contribute to postmenopausal hirsutism.
- Tumors of the ovary or adrenal glands
In very rare cases, hirsutism may be a sign of a serious condition. A combination of history, physical exam and diagnostic tests will allow your doctor to distinguish between benign causes or something more serious.
- Adrenal hyperplasia
Depending on the ethnic background of the patient, congenital adrenal hyperplasia may be the cause of postmenopausal androgen excess
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Menopause And New Facial Hair: Oh Pluck This
Lets talk facial hair. We know you dont want to the sudden outcropping of chin foliage at menopause is one of the most taboo of subjects in an area thats pretty overrun with shame and stigma already.
So lets start with the science and ease our way in to the hairy stuff: there are two kinds of facial hair. Vellus hair is that short, soft, nearly not-there hair children and women have. Terminal hair is longer, darker, thicker, and generally worn on a mans face.
Except at menopause.
Who gets what re: facial hair is determined mostly by our hormones. More estrogen gets you the finer, softer, lighter stuff. More testosterone, the heavier kind. In perimenopause and menopause, estrogen diminishes, but the small amount of testosterone womens bodies produce may not.
Testosterone converts to dihydrotestosterone , which results in the coarser, darker hairs many menopausal women see suddenly sprouting on their upper lip, chin, and jaw line.
Menopausal Hair Growth Vs Hirsutism
Some use the term hirsutism to describe any unwanted hair growth, but the few chin hairs of menopause dont meet the definition.
Hirsutism is a medical condition characterized by terminal hair growth in lots of places common on men but not on women: face, chest, stomach, and back. Caused by polycystic ovary syndrome , Cushings syndrome, tumors in the adrenal glands or ovaries, or certain medications that change the level of hormones in the body, actual hirsutism affects about 510 percent of women.
If you need to talk with a specialist about hormonal changes or any other menopause-mystery, learn more about genneves telehealth. Answers you need, from the comfort of your own home.
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Excessive Head And Face Sweating
I am 63 and for the last 22 years have suffered with excessive sweating on my head and face, which seems to be getting worse. This is uncomfortable and embarrassing. If I do anything even slightly energetic it is worse, and it takes a long time for me to cool down. I was referred to a dermatologist who prescribed pills, which just dried up my eyes and mouth . She point blank refused to consider any other treatment, even telling me botox does not work for the face, which i know is untrue. This condition, to other people, seems trivial but it is not. In the summer I cannot go outside, so I can’t even play with my grandchildren. I certainly couldn’t go out shopping or to a social event, the sweat drips off me and my hair is drenched within minutes. I obviously cannot use make-up, or even have a decent hairstyle, which zaps the confidence. I do have a thyroid problem but that is well controlled. I am a little overweight but not much. I have other non-related medical conditions . Has anyone any experience of the new gadget around which includes a mask for the face, plugged into a machine – sorry I can’t remember the name of it. I know they are very expensive but I am desperate. Any helpful tips would be great. Thank you.
29 likes, 808 replies
Posted 6 years ago
Posted 4 years ago
I have a severe head sweating problem. It is debilitating for me. Is there anything or anyone out there who can suggest something. Have you found something yet?
How To Remove Unwanted Facial Hair
Depending on the cause of your facial hair growth, your hair removal options will vary. If your hair growth is due to a hormonal imbalance, Green says that testosterone-reducing oral medications like Spironolactone can help, as can oral contraceptives which also help regulate hormonal imbalance. And, whether your hair growth is the result of hormone imbalance or genetics, theres always the option to tweeze, bleach, wax, and laser it away if it bothers you.
The most effective method for treating unwanted hair growth is laser hair removal, Green says. Other methods of hair removal can be painful, time-consuming, costly, and messy. Conversely, laser hair removal like GentleLase and GentleYAG can target hair growth in a few sessions to permanently stop its growth, all without damaging skin in the process.
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Am I Hirsute Or Just A Little Hairy Talking About Hair Growth With Your Healthcare Practitioner
If you experience a marked change in your hair growth over several weeks or months, then its a good idea to have your hormonal profile checked. The speed and amount of body hair growth matter. It could be just the expression of your genetic heritage, or where you are in relation to your hormonal or life cycle. If its the latter, its best not to think about this hair growth as one piece of your current whole hormonal expression.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the amount of hair growth unusual, given my past or family hair history?
- Do I have other unusual symptoms, such as irregular periods, weight gain/loss, or acne?
- Is the hair growth sudden or gradual?
- Is the hair growth appearing in an uncommon place?
- Have I recently experienced an emotional change in my life?
Knowing those answers will help your healthcare practitioner identify whether this unwanted hair is genetic, a symptom of hormonal imbalance, or a signal of something more serious, like PCOS or insulin resistance. It can also help to isolate exactly where you see more hair than usual, in order to know if youre hirsute, or just a little hairy.
The body areas to look first for androgen sensitivity are the places where terminal hair usually grows on women. Here they are in descending order of sensitivity:
- pubic area
Permanent Hair Removal Methods
Nowadays youll find a wide range of devices and salon services for light-based hair removal. All methods will leave your skin smooth and hair-free, yet how do you decide between laser and IPL hair removal methods? IPL and Laser processes slowly weaken the follicles and in time the hair becomes thinner and eventually, it stops growing. The key difference between them is the type of light. IPL is a broadband pulsed light source, whereas laser is a monochromatic coherent light source. Both methods target the melanin in the hair follicle and permanent results can be expected from both. Professional laser treatment is working more selective and therefore the very high energy will focus on the hair follicle rather than the surrounding skin. Therefore Professional laser will lead to fast results as well as being suitable to darker skin tones. Energy, frequency and hair colour are all determining factors in the efficacy of the treatment, while the light source, whether it is a laser or an intense pulsed flashlight plays a minor role.
Although devices sold for at-home are quite popular, machines found in professional clinics can reach higher levels of intensity and are more effective. Facial hair has a different cycle of growth and multiple sessions are required to target all the follicles while theyre in a growing phase.
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Male Sex Hormones And Hirsutism In Women
The female sex hormone oestrogen makes body hair fine and soft. Androgens are male sex hormones, including testosterone, which are responsible for masculine characteristics such as facial hair and coarse body hair. A womans ovaries and adrenal glands naturally make a small amount of androgens.
In most cases, hirsutism in women is thought to be caused by an abnormally high level of androgens. Other masculine features such as a deepened voice and increased muscle mass may also develop, and menstrual periods may cease . In other cases, womens androgen levels are normal, but their hair follicles are overly sensitive to the effects of male sex hormones.
What Causes Facial Hair In Women
Its the same thing that causes facial hair in men testosterone. When a woman has too much of it, it can lead to facial hair, extra muscles and a more masculine figure . Those with a lot of estrogen tend to have the curvy bodies that many of us desire.
A woman having too much testosterone simply means that she has a hormonal imbalance. When a woman is healthy, her hormones balance out the way they should, so that one doesnt overpower the other, causing issues.
Youll notice all sorts of symptoms when your hormones are in an imbalanced state, such as acne, hair loss, facial hair, problems with weight , hot flashes and menstrual cycle irregularity.
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Menopause And Hair Loss: Whats The Connection
When entering the years of menopausal transition, it is a good idea to check the bodys hormone levels. This can help explain symptoms such as hair loss.
When a person experiences hair loss and other symptoms of menopause, it is predominantly due to hormonal changes. With age, the ovaries begin to decrease the amount of sex hormones that are normally produced. As the body responds to the fluctuations in hormones, numerous physical changes occur. Menopausal hair loss is directly related to the decreased production of estrogen and progesterone.
As these hormone levels drop, hair may begin to grow more slowly and become thinner. Over time, the decrease in estrogen and progesterone causes an increase in the activity of male hormones that the body makes. Androgens cause the hair follicles on the head to shrink, which leads to hair loss. These are the same hormones that are responsible for increased facial hair growth in menopausal people.
Among other factors that contribute to hair loss are lack of nutrients, stress, and illness. A health care provider may suggest tests for basic blood count, thyroid function, or hormone levels to identify the cause of hair loss.
So What Can I Do About It Solutions For Unwanted Hair Growth
Most women who deal with their extra hair on a regular basis have some sort of system in place: they shave , pluck, tweeze, or apply creams or wax for immediate hair removal. Women with sudden, rapid hair growth or other signs of hormonal imbalance can get started with these suggestions:
- Learn your hormonal profile. Remember that removing the unwanted hair is not as important as identifying if the condition is common or uncommon, and if uncommon, finding the right treatment. This includes speaking with a practitioner about your own personal hormonal profile to see if you have insulin resistance or seeing a specialist to check for an imbalance of androgens or androgen metabolites.
- Reverse insulin resistance. You can facilitate your bodys natural healing pathways with dietary and lifestyle changes that reduce insulin resistance. Regular gentle exercise, along with meals and snacks that have a low glycemic load, can bring insulin and androgen production, regulation and metabolism back into balance.
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The Women’s Health Network Approach
How much hair you choose to keep and where you keep it are personal decisions. Many studies have shown that natural hair growth ranges widely in amount and thickness, largely due to our genetic makeup, and where our ancestors came from. Whether you accept your natural hair growth or if you feel more confident without it, making the choice yourself can be liberating.
If you have a rapid amount of sudden hair growth, especially alongside other health concerns, speak with your healthcare practitioner about a possible underlying hormonal and chemical imbalance. Its another opportunity to improve your total health and to feel beautiful, inside and out.
1 Goodheart, H. 2008. eMedicine Hirsutism. URL: http://www.emedicine.com/DERM/topic472.htm .
2Jankovic & Jankovic. 1998. The control of hair growth. Dermatol. Online J., 4 , 2. URL: http://dermatology.cdlib.org/DOJvol4num1/original/jankovi.html .
3Angier, N. Woman: An Intimate Geography, 2022, 2324. NY: Houghton Mifflin.
4American Academy of Family Physicians. 2007. Hirsutism . URL: http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/common/hormone/210.html .
5 Barclay, L. 2006. Modified FerrimanGallwey score may define hirsutism. URL: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/523512?rss .
6 Slater, W., & Dunne, N. 2007. Metformin for PCOS: Discover the benefits and side effects of Glucophage. URL: http://www.ovarian-cysts-pcos.com/glucophage-metformin-pcos.html#sec3 .
What Alternative Treatments Work To Get Rid Of Menopausal Facial Hair
The same herb that works to block mens testosterone if they have enlarged prostates can actually help block testosterone in women. Its often used in young women who have high testosterone levels, like those with polycystic ovary syndrome, or those who suffer from hirsutism. The herb is saw palmetto, and it can also be used for menopausal facial hair. The proper dosage is 80 to 160 milligrams a day, but you dont want to block too much of your testosterone. That will cause weakness in your bones and muscles.
You can also help balance all of your hormones to combat menopausal facial hair when you support your hypothalamus nutraceutically. Ive found that my patients who take Genesis Gold® regularly get more bang for their buck when it comes to the balance of their hormones. Their endogenous hormones are more effective. And less exogenous hormones, like bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, work better to help suppress growing excessive facial hair. In order to combat menopausal facial hair, you must reduce the masculinizing effects of testosterone on the hair follicle. As well as support your hypothalamus to keep your hormones in a natural more feminizing pattern.
If you have any questions regarding facial hair in menopause, please join us in our Hormone Support Group. You can access it when you sign up for my free Hormone Reboot Training. I hope to see you there!
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Hair Loss Due To Hormones: Will It Grow Back
Hair loss due to hormones is a reality for many people after menopause as well as during pregnancy. But will it grow back? The answer is yes, but there are also things that can help the body along.
Wash hair regularly with a mild shampoo. Treat hair gently. Dont comb or brush hair when its wet. Using the fingers to detangle is a gentler option. Putting hair up in a tight bun or ponytail can cause added stress on the hair and its follicles.
Finally, try to limit the use of hair dryers or irons on hair, as they can dry and damage it.
Here are five tips to prevent hair loss during the menopausal transition and after menopause: