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Women's Health

What`s Considered `Normal` Hairiness?

12/04/2009

Question:

My niece has hair underneath her nose(not like a thick mustache), on her chin, arms, fingers, and recently she is developing hair on her breasts and stomach. She also complains about feeling pain on her left side below her chest. I took her to a doctor, who gave her a series of thyroid test and one testosterone test. All the tests came out normal, except the testosterone results which were a bit high. The gynecologist told us that her hairiness is probably genetic. I find her conclusion strange, since no one in our family is hairy and in our ethnicity it is highly unusual for people to be hairy. What kind of doctor should I take her to see? What, if any, tests should I ask the doctor for? By the way, I don`t know if this is an important part to mention, but she had her period at age 10. So could this detail signal a problem with her endocrine system?

Answer:

It sounds as if the provider you saw is doing the right things. I might suggest a consult with an endocrinologist. It is hard to give concrete advice about this matter as I don't know your family, so I'm not familiar with your backgrounds. Some people are more hairy than others, and it is not unusual for increased hair growth to be accompanied by a raised testosterone level.

I'd also find out if the provider did any tests on her adrenal glands (those are small glands near the kidneys). It sounds as if her endocrine functions should be closely monitored and health history be carefully reviewed. Hope this helps.

All the best.

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Response by:

Elizabeth R Barker, APRN, BC, FNP, FAANP, CHE, PhD Elizabeth R Barker, APRN, BC, FNP, FAANP, CHE, PhD
Associate Professor, Nursing Graduate Studies
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University