why do some older women grow facial hair

The amount of hair on women's chins varies and appears thicker or longer for a variety of reasons, report the National Institutes of Health. When thick, coarse hairs appear on a woman's chest, lips, back or chin, the condition is called hirsutism. The unwanted hair grows similarly to men's beards on the chin. Changes in hormone production often cause unwanted chin hair on women. While all women produce small amounts of the male hormones called androgens, hair begins to grow on the chin when a woman has an overabundance of the male hormones. The condition is not life-threatening or medically harmful. Most women with hormonal imbalances find the hair growth to be embarrassing, however, and seek ways to remove it. The cause of the increases in androgens is unknown. NIH researchers report that genetics most likely play a role because the condition runs in families. Certain ethnic groups of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern or South Asian decent are at a higher risk of developing the condition.

Women with hirsutism also may have small breasts and larger muscles than other women. Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, is a common medical condition that causes an overabundance of chin hair. PCOS results from an imbalance of hormones and often causes additional symptoms as well as unwanted hair growth. Women with PCOS usually have trouble with their menstrual cycles, have a deeper voice and have difficulty losing weight. PCOS also can cause acne and diabetes. Sudden onset of hair growth, coupled with other symptoms, can signal the appearance of a tumor. Cushing syndrome develops when a woman is exposed to high levels of cortisol, often seen in women taking steroids. Corticosteroid medications such as prednisone and prednisolone used to treat arthritis and asthma can cause Cushing syndrome and produce unwanted facial hair.

At other times, the pituitary gland just produces too much ACTH hormones and causes the adrenal glands to excrete additional cortisol in the system. A tumor in the pituitary or adrenal gland also can cause the disorder. Tumors in the pancreas, thyroid glands or lungs also can cause Cushing syndrome. Though rare, congenital adrenal hyperplasia can cause women to grow heavy coarse hair on their chins. In those born with the condition, the adrenal glands fail to produce enough cortisol, which causes strong male characteristics to from. Girls born with the birth defect also will have deep voices and early growth of pubic and underarm hair. They may have ambiguous genitals and abnormal or non-existent menstrual cycles. Congenital adrenal hyperplasia affects about one in 15,000 children.
Posted September 03, 2012, 6:32 am I m a woman, but I have so much hair on my face that I look like I have a mustache and beard.

Please help! The condition you have, called hirsutism, is not uncommon and can be treated. Why does hair grow so extensively on a man s face? Each hair grows out of a little pit in the skin called a follicle. Cells that live in the base of that pit cause the hair to form when androgens ( male hormones) in the blood reach those cells. So two things are required: androgens in the blood, and cells that respond to androgens by making hairs. Why would hair grow on some women s faces the way it grows on most men s faces? Because men and women are not as different as you might think. Women actually have measurable amounts of androgens in their blood. The levels are much lower than they are in a man s blood, but they are present. And the cells in the hair follicles on a woman s face also make hairs in response to androgens. When a woman has unusually high levels of androgens in the blood, she can start to grow hair in places that most women don t.

Such hair growth may also be caused by cells in the hair follicles that are more easily stimulated by androgens to make hairs, even when androgen levels are normal. In some cases, the extra androgen comes from medications. Some birth control pills as well as certain steroids contain androgens, or have effects similar to androgens. Other drugs indirectly cause the body to make extra androgen hormones; these include some medicines to treat schizophrenia, seizures, migraine headaches, bipolar disorder and high blood pressure. Occasionally, an abnormality in the ovaries, the adrenal glands or the pituitary gland can cause overproduction of androgens. One such (common) condition is polycystic ovarian syndrome. Your doctor can rule out these causes with various blood tests. If your doctor diagnoses a specific cause, he or she can suggest appropriate treatment.

For example, the rare tumors that produce androgen hormones can be treated with surgery, radiation or both. All women with hirsutism can benefit from cosmetic treatments. These include: Plucking, shaving, waxing or depilatory creams. Laser hair-removal techniques use light to generate heat inside hair follicles, destroying their ability to produce hair. Electrolysis also destroys the ability of the follicles to grow hair by using electricity to produce heat within the hair follicles. It can leave small areas of scarring. Long-term use of medical treatments can decrease levels of androgens or their impact on hair follicles. Medical treatments include: Estrogen-containing medicines. Several medicines, including birth control pills that contain both estrogen and progesterone, can alter the impact of androgens. Anti-androgen medicines. The most commonly used medicine is spironolactone (Aldactone). Others are available.