Most women can expect a few gray hairs, some saggy skin and a wrinkle or two as they age, but did you know that some women grow moustaches and go bald? Dr. Susan Love, author of Dr. Susan Love's Menopause and Hormone Book: Making Informed Choices, offers a medical explanation for facial hair, vaginal dryness and more!
Q: Why do some older women have thinning hair on their head, but new hair on their face?
Dr. Susan Love: Just as men lose hair, we also do. It's genetic. … As [women's] hormones go down, we get a little more testosterone and we have more hair on our face and less on our head. I think you can use the same things men do if it gets really bad—Propecia and all that. Maybe we should just transplant the hair from our chin onto our heads!
Q: Why do some women lose their pubic hair as they age?
SL: You lose your pubic hair and you lose your hair under your arms as you get older. The reason biologically that we have that hair is to hold in the scent when we're trying to reproduce. … As you go through menopause, you're not reproductive anymore, but maybe more productive, [so] you don't need that [hair]. The hormones shift.
Q: Why do some postmenopausal women experience vaginal dryness?
SL: Vaginal dryness is also hormonal, and you get it any time you have big shifts in hormones. Not everybody gets it postmenopausally, but a lot of women do. Depending on the degree [of the dryness], you can [use] everything from lubricants to Astroglide. If it's really bad, then you can use local hormones, which work better than systemic hormones. The creams aren't so good because they're absorbed, but there are things like Estring, which is a ring that you put into your vagina—it's sort of like a diaphragm. It releases a small amount of estrogen over three months. … It works great, and it's safer than systemic hormones. Ask your doctor to prescribe it.
Visit the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation at www.dslrf.org for comprehensive information about women's health.