Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why do I have facial hair?"
I am a 27 year old female and I have struggled with hair my entire life. I have really bad facial hair. I have to shave on a daily basis and it is really embarassing. I have been diagnosed with PCOS, but I am the most extreme hairy case I have seen. I also have hair on my back, stomach, chest, and very long hair on my forearms. This situation causes me to shave my entire body almost daily.
What you are describing is what we call hirsutism. This is a term to describe male pattern hair growth in women. The most common cause is PCOS, which you have been diagnosed with. The reason people with PCOS get hirsutism is the abnormal androgen hormones that are produced. The idea behind treating this type of hair growth is to reduce the production of these hormones, or block their effects. There are various different medications that can be used to accomplish this. For example simple oral contraceptives such as the birth control pill can help. In severe cases (such as yours), more aggressive anti-androgen therapy may be needed. In these cases, it is best for you to consult with a specialist. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with an endocrinologist. He or she can take a detailed history of your past medical symptoms and perform a thorough physical exam. Be sure to bring with you any past blood tests and records of treatment you have had done to show the doctor. Most likely, her or she will want additional blood tests to understand exactly how much abnormal androgens your ovaries are producing. Finally, the doctor can recommend advanced treatments for your hirsutism. Good luck.
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