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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Facial hair? Try estrogen cream

Peter H. Gott, M.D. The Spokesman-Review

Dear Dr. Gott: I’m female, 83 years young, and for about five years now, I’ve had light, fuzzy hair on my face, especially the lower half. I’m also seeing black hairs (sideburns) in front of my ears. You mentioned to a writer who had similar problems to use estrogen cream; however, my doctor and nearby stores don’t carry this product. Where can I purchase it, and does it have any side effects?

Dear Reader: Hair growth on the face in elderly women is common after menopause, when the body’s level of female hormone (estrogen) drops, while the production of male hormone (testosterone) is unchanged. Women and men manufacture both hormones. During the reproductive years, however, the estrogen levels in women and the testosterone levels in men virtually cancel out the small amounts of opposite-gender hormones in each sex.

During menopause, however, this balance is disrupted. Men produce less testosterone, so their estrogen has greater effect. Thus, diminished hair growth and a decline in sexual interest and ability are prominent.

At (and after) menopause, women produce less estrogen, so their testosterone has a greater effect. Consequently, facial- and body-hair growth, and – as would be expected – sexual drive may become significant.

This is the reason that I endorsed estrogen cream applied topically to hirsute areas on menopausal women. The medication is available universally, so I don’t understand why your pharmacy fails to provide the cream. Basically, it maintains local effects without affecting the body as a whole, which could be dangerous. (This is the reason why many women are advised to refrain from taking hormone-replacement therapy; these pills can aggravate uterine cancer.)

Ask your druggist to order the cream, and let me know whether it works.

To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report “Menopause.” Other readers who would like a copy should send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope and $2 to Newsletter, P.O. Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.

Dear Dr. Gott: Why does it seem that so many healthy people have no energy left after a day’s work?

Dear Reader: Perhaps because they work hard at demanding jobs. Or they may, in contrast, be bored or depressed. In my experience, there are varied work conditions that lead to fatigue and exhaustion in otherwise healthy people.