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What Excessive Hair on Different Body Parts Says About Women’s Health

Whether we like it or not, we all have body hair. It’s very normal and should not make you worry, even if you’re not a big fan. However, if its locations and texture have changed, it might be an indication of a health issue and this article will tell you why.

Bright Side found what could be causing changes in body hair growth and when you may need to visit a specialist.

Let’s define which types of body hair we may have.

  • Vellus hair is that tiny, very thin hair that basically covers the entire body, it’s so fine that you barely notice it.
  • Terminal hair is much longer, stronger, thicker, and normally much darker than the vellus hair and we start getting it during puberty. This is the type of hair that starts developing when our body goes through serious hormonal changes, and this is what you need to keep an eye on.


If you experience a sudden growth of thick, dark hair on what’s called the men’s patterns, check out your grandma’s photos. No matter what we have achieved with modern technology, we can’t trick genetics.

Ethnic background

This study shows that different ethnic groups are more or less likely to have an overgrowth of hair. Women of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern heritage are more likely to develop this condition. Other ethnic groups are placed somewhere in between.

A hormonal imbalance

Sudden hair growth can be caused by a male hormone imbalance. Both men and women have these hormones, and females usually have them at a relatively low level and at a particular ratio compared to their female hormones.

If your testosterone level increases, your body has too many male hormones and starts behaving according to its condition. Another situation that leads to the same result is a decrease in the estrogen levels, which can be the result of menopause for example. Either way, the male/female hormone profile gets out of its normal balance.

Adrenal gland disorders

Adrenal glands are located above kidneys and if the adrenal glands don’t work the way they should, the hormonal balance changes and an excessive growth of body hair is one of the biggest symptoms.

Other symptoms of adrenal gland problems:

  • high blood pressure
  • weight gain in the upper body
  • too low or too high blood sugar levels
  • headaches
  • muscle weakness

Polycystic ovarian syndrome

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is another common cause of hirsutism and if you also experience irregular periods, it is very possible that you might have this. This condition is caused by enlarged ovaries that contain small collections of fluid, called follicles, that require some medical attention. Other symptoms for this condition include:

  • mood changes
  • headaches
  • fatigue
  • sleep problems

Unusual tissue growth

If hirsutism comes on very suddenly, like in just over a few months, you should go get checked out by your doctor. This dramatic hair growth is a sign of an extreme testosterone level increase and can be a result of some sort of abnormal growth of tissue, even a tumor, that is releasing male hormones. It’s not very common, but if the changes happen this fast, it’s worth checking out. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

How do you feel about body hair? Do you prefer to get rid of it or do you choose the natural look? Did you find this article interesting and useful? Tell us in the comments below.

Preview photo credit
Illustrated by Ekaterina Gapanovich for Bright Side
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