Any time your body noticeably changes, you might find yourself getting a little bit alarmed. Whether it's that you seem to be losing more hair than you normally do, your period is slightly different, you have a dry patch of skin that seems a bit odd, or anything else, when something changes, it's natural to want to keep an eye on it or potentially question if it could be a sign something's wrong. As it turns out, there are some signs your facial or body hair growth is a medical red flag about which you might want to chat with your doctor if you notice them.
Paying attention to changes in your body whenever you can is important. It can help you raise a concern with your doctor sooner than you might otherwise (or sooner than they might otherwise catch on to a concern), which can mean addressing the potential issue sooner as well, which is typically a very good thing. Hair growth on your body or face might not be that big of a deal to you initially, but when it becomes more noticeable, you might find it a bit embarrassing or frustrating that you even have it in the first place. Fretting about these things likely isn't helping you feel any better, but knowing that there might be a reason for it just might help give you a little peace of mind (however little that might be, given that there might be something wrong) — and help you figure out how to address it, if that's something that you need to do.
1. It Grew In Really Quickly
If your facial or body hair grows in really quickly, that could potentially indicate an issue that warrants some medical attention. In an interview with Time, Dr. Alyssa Dweck, MD, an OB/GYN, said that this could be a sign of a testosterone-secreting tumor, but clarified that that is very rare. Still, talking to your doctor to rule out a tumor and address whatever might be causing the hair growth is likely a good idea.
2. You Have A Lot More Hair Than Usual
You may have had a light dusting on your face or on different parts of your body before, but if it seems like the growth is really taking off, resulting in much more hair in those places than you used to have, that could also be a potential red flag. Writing for Merck Manuals, Dr. Wendy S. Levinbook, MD, noted that this could be a symptom of hirsutism, which causes thicker or darker body hair to grow all over as a result of higher levels of androgens in the body.
3. It's Growing Where It Didn't Before
If you have hair growing on your face or body in places where it didn't grow before, that could also be something of which to take note. Health noted that this could be linked to PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome, if you're of childbearing age.
4. You're Dealing With Other Symptoms Of Hormonal Imbalances
If you're dealing with other potential signs of hormonal imbalances, that could further point to PCOS as the culprit. In an interview with Glamour, Dr. Shahin Ghadir, MD, an OB/GYN, said that if you're dealing with facial and body hair growth, acne, and hair loss on your head, that could potentially indicate that it might be PCOS. Talking to your OB/GYN if you're worried about PCOS is a good idea. It can cause all kinds of reproductive health issues, including potentially making it more difficult for you to conceive.
5. It's A Pituitary Issue
If you notice an increase in facial and body hair growth, it could also potentially be due to a pituitary tumor. The American Cancer Society noted that "growth hormone-secreting adenomas" can cause an uptick in hair growth on your face or body, along with a slew of additional symptoms, such as joint pain and thicker skin.
6. You're Dealing With Too Much Cortisol
If your body is exposed to too much cortisol, a stress hormone, or other glucocorticoids, that could also potentially result in an increase in facial and body hair. The National Adrenal Diseases Foundation noted that when you're taking glucocorticoid hormones to treat certain diseases for a long time, that can cause something called Cushing's syndrome. A different kind of pituitary tumor can also lead to a kind of Cushing's syndrome, called Cushing's disease. These conditions can also cause more hair growth.
If you're concerned about the increase in your facial and body hair growth, talking to your doctor about what you've noticed is a good first step. They can recommend specialists or tests and explain where to go from there. Changes in your body can be stressful and concerning, but voicing those concerns sooner rather than later can help you address any potential issues sooner as well.