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Q: I am a teenager, and I have noticed many changes in my body hair. I was wondering if this would have anything to do with the hormones that are in the foods we buy and eat.

A: Many people worry about hormones in food. At least in the US, these are not supposed to get in the meat. I am a vegetarian and so avoid the problem, but not everyone feels comfortable avoiding meat. In any case, it is usually forms of estrogen, so far as I know, which are put in meat. Growth hormone has also been used but would be destroyed by cooking.

The hormones which cause increased hair growth are testosterone and related hormones, together referred to as androgens. These are not in food but are made in the person's own body. It is best to have testing for these hormones and then treatment can be worked out. If the problem is troublesome, then the younger treatment starts, the better. Hair removal by electrolysis helps, but it is best to also have the underlying cause treated as well.

This is discussed in much more detail in my web article on increased hair growth.

I hope this helps.


Geoffrey Redmond, MD

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