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Having body hair is a normal part of, well, being human. But those long, coarse, pigmented bad boys? The amount of thicker hair that you have on your body usually depends on your genes, says Gary Goldenberg, M. A sudden increase in hair growth or loss in women is often caused by an imbalance of male hormones androgens which are naturally present in both men and women in differing amounts. If you get a boost in testosterone, for example, excess hair can be the result.
Wierman, M. More than eight hairs around a single nipple is considered abnormal in women and would meet the definition of hirsutism. Much like male-pattern excess hair, male pattern baldness in women is also a of shifting male hormone levels. When estrogen levels decline during menopause and, as a consequence, testosterone rises, many women find that the hair on their he thins while their facial hair becomes coarser.
You might even find an errant hair on your chin. Polycystic ovary syndrome PCOS is a condition caused by an imbalance of reproductive hormones, and affects nearly 1 in 10 women of childbearing age, according to the U. With PCOS, this egg might have developmental problems or not be released during your period as it normally would.
That can spur a slew of symptoms, like irregular periodsadult acnethinning hair, or too much hair on the face, chin, or other parts of your body. This happens due to increased production of testosterone in your body, Dr. Goldenberg explains, which stimulates excessive body hair growth. Everyone has a hair cycle. Some people tend to naturally shed hair in the spring and fall; others in the summer and winter.
But diffuse hair loss—noticeable hair loss on your body and your head—can indicate anemia, or a deficiency of iron in your blood. Vegans and vegetarians or women with heavy periods are at a higher risk, and it may result in hair loss, brittle nailsand odd cravings. If you suspect iron may be an issuesee your doctor for a blood test. Your thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck, and it secretes hormones that help control the way your body uses energy, per the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases NIDDK.
The amount of estrogen in your body can also impact your hair. A sudden change in your estrogen levels— after pregnancy or stopping birth control pillsfor example—can also lead to temporary hair shedding.
Certain medications can have a direct impact on your body hair, Dr. Goldenberg says. Some, including certain antidepressants and anti-coagulants, can cause temporary hair loss, usually through a process called telogen effluvium, a hair shedding condition that can also happen after pregnancy, major surgery, drastic weight loss, or extreme stress. Other meds can cause hair growth, including a boost in body hair.
Those include testosterone, danazol also an androgenphenytoin an anticonvulsantand glucocorticoids a type of steroidhe says. In most cases, the hair changes are not permanent and will end once you stop using the medication. The result can be losing your hair in odd, circular patches called alopecia areata ; losing all your hair on your scalp alopecia totalis ; or losing all your hair on your head and body, including your eyebrows and eyelashes alopecia universalis.
Zeichner says. Getting checked out can rule out potential problems and help get you started on any necessary treatments. Support from readers like you helps us do our best work. Weight Loss. Type keyword s to search. Today's Top Stories. The Absolute Best Sunscreens of How to Feel Better About Anything. Ab Exercises for a Stronger Core. Papachristou Getty Images. Your male hormones are out of balance. Related Stories. Now. This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this to help users provide their addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.
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