You've always wanted a lot of hair---but on your head, not on your face or other parts of your body. Menopause can be a dicey time when it comes to hair. You may find the hair on your head thinning and even falling out while, simultaneously, you're sprouting a beard. Post-menopause facial hair results from hormonal fluctuations and deficits. The female hormones oestrogen and progesterone as well as the male hormone testosterone, also present in women, no longer function as a team. The hormone levels can get too high or too low, resulting in various symptoms, including the growth of facial hair.
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Some women opt for hormone replacement therapy while going through peri-menopause as well as during full menopause. This involves taking oestrogen alone or oestrogen and progestin, or synthetic progesterone. Many women have found great relief from their various menopausal symptoms, including the havoc that menopause wreaks on hair, by opting for hormone therapy. However, oestrogen hormone replacement involves big risks, including the development of cardiovascular disease and breast cancer. You must weigh the risks against the benefits and decide for yourself if you're willing to go this route.
Menopausal women sometimes receive testosterone therapy if oestrogen therapy hasn't reduced their menopause symptoms. Doctors prescribe testosterone particularly for women who have no sex drive, according to MayoClinic.com (see references). However, taking testosterone can result in facial hair growth as well as acne. In addition, a woman's voice may get deeper and she may experience personality changes or become moody. Liver problems can also result as well as clitoral enlargement. So once again, you have to weigh the pros against the cons and decide for yourself which is the lesser of two potential "evils."
Women develop terminal hair under their arms (axillary) and in the pubic region after they go through puberty. This is the result of male hormones, according to CNN.com (see references). Before puberty, we possess a thin, fine facial hair called vellus hair. Sometimes, terminal hair replaces vellus hair on the face. This can happen any time a woman's hormones are out of sync. But it's likelier in an older, menopausal woman because of the lack of oestrogen. Optimal oestrogen levels ward off facial and body hair growth produced by testosterone. Because oestrogen levels are no longer optimal in menopause, the effects of testosterone can become too pronounced.
Don't Be Surprised
During menopause, don't be surprised if you find that you're developing more hair on your face. This is the natural outcome when the ratio between androgens, or male hormones, and oestrogen changes. Facial hair increases fairly commonly in menopausal women. You're not alone. If you have a genetic propensity toward being hairy, your problem may be even more severe.
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