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HORMONES AND UNWANTED HAIR
by Geoffrey Redmond, MD

FACIAL AND BODY HAIR

I Have Too Much Hair But My Hormone Tests Are Normal – How Can This Be?
Many of the women I see in my practice for increased hair growth have normal hormone levels; they, and often their doctors, find this baffling. If your testosterone is normal, but you shave daily, does this mean that hormones are not involved? This question is one I am asked over and over. The answer is clearly “no.” Hirsutism is always due to testosterone stimulating the hair follicles. Why then do many women with hirsutism have normal levels of this hormone? The answer is that some people have hair follicles which are extremely sensitive to testosterone. Think about body hair on men. Some have a little and others have a lot even though their testosterone levels are similar. In women the situation is the same; whatever their testosterone levels, those with more sensitive follicles have more hair. Hair follicle sensitivity to testosterone is the single most important factor in increased hair growth. As I will discuss below, hair follicle sensitivity is highly treatable.

Some women have the opposite situation: hair follicles which are insensitive to testosterone and so have hardly any body hair. This is usual in Asians but is uncommon in whites or blacks.

Lab tests are important in medical evaluation of hirsutism but they have their limitations, too. The laboratory does not tell us what is wrong with someone, rather it aids in doing so. Tests are ordered when there are symptoms or other reasons to suspect a disease. But a negative test does not mean there is no problem, simply that the test has failed to tell us the cause. 

<- Previous      Next ->

How Much Hair Is Normal
Medical Terms For Extra Hair
Ethnic Variations In Facial And Body Hair
What Causes Increased Hair
Lab Tests For Increased Hair
I Have Too Much Hair But My Hormone Tests Are Normal – How Can This Be?
Other Reasons For Hirsutism With Normal Testosterone
Treatments For Increased Hair
Medications For Increased Hair
Hope For Women With Unwanted Hair

 

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