Many women have mustaches. Although the sight of a coarse and dark mustache on their upper lip is often upsetting, there is little to no harm caused by this type of hair. In most cases, mustaches are caused by genetics and hormones. However, there is also a possibility of an underlying medical condition.

Hirsutism

Hirsutism refers to the strong growth of facial hair, focusing on the chin and above the lips. It can also occur in other body parts. Hirsutism is caused by an elevated level of testosterone – a male hormone. Hirsutism is hereditary, which means if someone in your family has it, you are more prone to it. Also, women of the Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Asian descent are more likely to have this condition.

Congenital adrenal hyperplasia

Congenital adrenal hyperplasia is also a hereditary condition. It’s characterized by an increased production of steroid hormones (cortisol and androgen) from the adrenal glands, which stimulates facial hair growth.

Polycystic ovary syndrome

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome usually have dark facial hair due to the hormonal imbalances caused by the condition. You may have polycystic ovary syndrome if, besides the mustache, you also experience abnormal weight gain, problems conceiving, and irregular periods.

Cushing’s syndrome

Cushing’s syndrome is marked by the elevated levels of cortisol, the steroid hormone released in response to stress. This causes hormone imbalances and encourages facial hair growth. People who take cortisol medications for a long period of time may develop Cushing’s syndrome, thus growing mustaches as well.

Tumors

Tumors developing in adrenal glands or ovaries may encourage the release of male hormones in women, giving them thicker facial hair. If you notice a sudden change in your facial hair, irregular periods or deepened voice, you should get yourself tested.

Medications

You may grow a mustache if you are taking the following medications:

  • Minoxidil: A drug used to treat hair loss
  • Anabolic steroids: Synthetic testosterone
  • Testosterone: A drug prescribed for those with a testosterone deficiency
  • Cyclosporine: An immunosuppressant given before organ transplants

Managing unwanted facial hair

Since most cases of mustaches are caused by hormones, managing your hormones may help you deal with mustaches. Overweight women are advised to lose weight because obesity can interfere with the normal production and regulation of hormones. A healthy body weight may keep your hormones on track without the need for medication. If your facial hair is caused by polycystic ovary syndrome or adrenal disorders, you will need medical treatment. Birth control pills and antiandrogen medications can help gear your hormone back to balance.  Eflornithine in the form of topical treatment may slow down the growing rate of facial hair. However, it may cause irritation. If you are concerned about your look, you may try hair removing methods such as waxing, shaving, or laser removal to improve your confidence.

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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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