With menopause, the ovaries cease producing estrogen, the female hormone. This leads to many changes in the body including both increased and decreased hair growth. Hair growth, whether more or less, can impact self esteem due to the effect on one's appearance. It is important to be aware that excessive hair growth, both pre-menopausal and post-menopausal, can also signal abnormal endocrine function or a tumor, although most changes are normal and not worrisome.
Seven hundred and fifty-eight post-menopausal females aged 45 years or older were studied for the changes in their hair patterns. They were all of northern European origin.Twenty-five percent experienced generalized scalp hair loss. Nine percent found that they lost hair on the front of their scalp. In all, forty-one percent of women experienced some form of hair loss. As they continued to age, there was more hair loss over the entire body. Only 39 percent noted excessive growth on their chin and upper lip.
In men, the male hormone, testosterone, has its greatest effect on facial hair. Secondarily, it causes male-pattern baldness. Women make testosterone from the ovaries and the adrenal gland throughout their life. However, prior to menopause estrogen seems to have the stronger effect in women, limiting facial hair growth and maintaining scalp hair. Once the estrogens are lost, it would appear that the testosterone they continue to make causes hair growth on the face along with male-pattern baldness, similar to that in men.
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