It turns out that if you're a lady sporting a beard, you might have bigger problems than that patch o' fuzz sprouting on your face. Hirsutism (i.e., excessive hairiness) affects 5 to 15 percent of women
, and the cause is typically a hormonal condition.
And the cause of the condition can be serious. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
(PCOS) is the cause of around 70 to 80 percent of hirsutism. (PCOS can also result in acne, irregular or nonexistent periods, infertility and miscarriage.) Other causes of beards on babes can be tumors or thyroid dysfunction.
The problem with the hirsutism symptom of PCOS is that women are too embarrassed to see a doctor about it. It's too bad, since treatment can sometimes be as simple as losing some weight or taking birth control pills.
Of course, before you totally freak out, you should take a look at your family history and see what is normal for your family and hairiness. If you and your sisters are a regular bunch of Frida Kahlos
, it could be nothing to worry about.
For more on PCOS, check out the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Association