Menopausal Peach Fuzz
You’ve always yearned for thick lustrous hair, the kind men can run their fingers through. But you wanted that hair to be on your head and not decorating your upper lip or other random body parts. Menopause is kind of hit or miss that way: the hair on your head begins to thin and you find you’re growing a beard. This is no fun at all.
The facial hair that arrives as your menstrual period ceases results from the fluctuating hormone levels of menopause. After menopause the female hormones estrogen and progesterone no longer balance in the proper proportions with the male hormone testosterone, which is also present in females. As the various hormone levels dip and rise, various symptoms occur, and one of them is facial hair growth.
Women who decide to go for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) during perimenopause and menopause find they don’t suffer from most menopause symptoms, such as facial hair growth. HRT can be a single hormone treatment with estrogen, or a combination of estrogen and progestin. There is also the option of treatment with synthetic progesterone.
Some women are worried about using estrogen HRT because of the slight risks for developing heart disease and breast cancer, but actually, the risk is very small. Every woman should discuss her options with her doctor and come to her own decision.
Sometimes women find that estrogen therapy isn’t doing the trick. In this case, your doctor may give you testosterone therapy. This is very effective for women who suffer from postmenopausal loss of libido. Keep in mind that testosterone therapy can cause acne and facial hair growth. Other issues that come with testosterone are a deepening voice, personality changes, and moodiness. Testosterone can cause liver problems and clitoral enlargement, too. It’s a crap-shoot. You have to weigh pros and cons and decide what you can live with.
Before puberty, women have fine facial hair known as vellus hair. At puberty, women begin to develop what is known as terminal hair in the underarm and pubic regions. This type of hair growth is the result of male hormones. In some cases, women will develop terminal hair instead of vellus hair on their faces and this is always the result of a hormonal imbalance. Terminal hair on the face is most often seen in the older postmenopausal woman whose estrogen levels have dropped, giving testosterone an edge. Having the right estrogen levels is the trick to keeping away unwanted facial and body hair.
Ask your doctor to order tests to see why you have facial hair. Most of the time, testosterone is the culprit, but occasionally there are other reasons. There are over the counter medications that can cause facial hair growth, for instance DHEA which is used to build up muscles and increase the libido.