Women's Wellness

Witnessing Sudden Growth Of Facial Hair? These Can Be The Problems!

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By Apollo 24|7, Published on - 12 December 2022, Updated on - 22 May 2024

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Do you have facial hair? Well, it's perfectly natural and quite common to have facial hair. While men tend to experience dark facial hair growth across the entire face, women tend to have light peach fuzz on their faces. However, when a woman experiences a sudden growth of dark and coarse hair on their face, it can indicate a hormonal imbalance. Hirsutism is a condition that results in excessive growth of coarse hair on a woman's face, chest, stomach, back, and arms. It affects 5%-10% of women around child-bearing age and 40% of women at some point in their life. Typically caused by a boost in male hormones called androgens, hirsutism can be a symptom of different health conditions. So, if you notice a sudden growth of facial hair, it is highly recommended to consult with a doctor. Here are a few of the most common causes of hirsutism. 

1. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS accounts for 85% of all hirsutism cases. PCOS results in the formation of benign cysts on the ovaries, affecting hormone production and leading to an imbalance of sex hormones. This can cause decreased fertility and irregular menstrual cycles. Those suffering from obesity and with a family history of PCOS are at an increased risk of developing this condition. Apart from hirsutism, some of the other symptoms of PCOS are:

  • Increase in weight or difficulty in losing weight
  • Irregularity in menstrual cycles
  • Acne
  • Skin tags
  • Thinning hair
  • Fertility problems

2. Cushing Syndrome

Cushing syndrome occurs when the body is exposed to large amounts of stress hormones like cortisol for an extended duration. This syndrome can affect your skin, hair, nails, nerves, and glands. It can occur due to the intake of certain medications like prednisone for an extended period or due to the excess production of cortisol by your adrenal glands. Women suffering from this condition often experience excess growth of hair on the face and irregular menstrual cycles.

3. Medications

Certain medications can disrupt your hormone levels and result in hirsutism. Medicines with minoxidil, testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone, and danazol, often used to treat endometriosis, can result in hirsutism. You can also be impacted via skin-to-skin contact in case your partner uses topical products rich in androgens. Before taking any of these medicines, it is highly recommended to take the advice of your doctor. 

4. Androgen-Secreting Tumour

Hirsutism can also be caused by an androgen-secreting tumour in the adrenal glands or ovaries. These tumours are quite rare and only account for 0.2% of all cases of hirsutism in women. The excess hair growth caused by these tumours is typically sudden and doesn’t stop even with treatment. Besides, other symptoms include:

  • Increased muscle mass
  • High testosterone levels
  • Enlarged clitoris
  • Increased sex drive
  • Deepening of voice
  • Abdominal or pelvic mass
  • Male pattern baldness

5. Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH)

Congenital adrenal hyperplasia is a genetic condition that affects the production of steroid hormones like androgen and cortisol. Those suffering from this condition are born without the enzyme responsible for hormone production. Congenital adrenal hyperplasia is a rare condition that doesn’t always lead to any symptoms. Those who do have symptoms can experience:

  • Frontal baldness
  • Excess facial hair
  • Infertility
  • Menstrual irregularity

These are just some of the many reasons that could be behind the sudden growth of facial hair. If you ever experience such a thing, it’s always best to see a doctor and determine whether or not there is a serious condition behind it.

If you need expert advice,

Consult an Apollo Gynaecologist


Medically reviewed by Dr Sonia Bhatt.


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