Video

Voice Over:
For 14 year old Maria from East London, puberty has been the stuff of nightmares. Underneath her head scarf she’s hiding a secret.

Maria:
I don’t wear it for religious reasons. Every time I come home I want to take it off because I just feel suffocated.

Voice Over:
Maria has started growing excessive facial and body hair. It’s a condition called hirsutism.

Today she and dad Mohammed are visiting Dr Pixie at the Embarrassing Bodies clinic, because her condition is making her the victim of bullies.

Maria:
The students go and make rough comments to me. They ask me what am I? A female or a male? Or are you a human or not? And it does upset me a lot, sometimes I have physical fights in school which does interrupt my education as well.

Dr Pixie:
So talk to me Maria about why you have come to the clinic?

Maria:
I’ve got facial hair and body hair.

Dr Pixie:
Tell me a bit more about that, how long has that been going on for?

Maria:
It’s been four to five years now.

Dr Pixie:
Right, have you had periods?

Maria:
The hospital gave me period pills to start. Other than that, I haven’t started naturally.

Dr Pixie:
Right, can you show me the extent of the hair, the bits that you are comfortable with showing, because obviously if it’s all over I can appreciate that you won’t want to show me, you know just to give me an idea of how bad it is.

Maria:
Do you want to have a look at my back?

Dr Pixie:
There’s quite a bit there as well, have you ever shaved that?

Maria:
No

Dr Pixie:
And what about your face then?

Maria:
I’ll just take this off a second, then I can show you.

Dr Pixie:
So when did you last treat the face?

Maria:
Last week.

Dr Pixie:
OK, now just pop your chin up for me. Now you are getting some little ingrown hairs here as well aren’t you? I can see why you want to cover it up. I think really what we need to do is to find out what is going on with your hormone balance, because clearly you are making too much male hormone, where is this coming from? So if you’re happy and dad’s happy, what I would like to do is get you seen by an endocrinologist, that’s a specialist in glands and glands are the things that release hormones. We need to know which one is causing the mischief, and which one is given rise to these really, really severe symptoms.

Voice Over:
14 year old Maria has been sent to Great Ormond Street children’s hospital for an extensive series of tests.

Maria:
So far they’ve taken my blood pressure, some urine and blood tests. But I’m feeling a bit scared, I didn’t know that it would be a major problem, I thought it would just go away in time.

Voice Over:
Professor Dattani has analysed all of Maria’s hormone levels, to check which one is causing the problem.

Professor Dattani:
What is modestly high is the level of the male sex hormone. And that is probably why you are having the excess hair, so that fits and that can go with the problems that you might have particularly with say polycystic ovaries.

Voice Over:
Polycystic ovaries is a surprisingly common condition. 1 in 5 women in the UK have them and it’s more common in women of Asian descent. The ovaries have a number of functions including the production of hormones. When they become polycystic, or covered in cysts, fertility problems and hormonal imbalances can occur, as well as excess hair symptoms can include menstrual problems, acne and weight gain.

Professor Dattani:
We will be able to treat you and we will be able to help you. There’s nothing really sinister that’s coming out of all this as well, which is another reassuring thing. Ok?

Voice Over:
At last, Maria knows why she has a problem with facial hair but she’s still coming to terms with the news that she has a life long condition that will need to be controlled with medication.

Maria:
I don’t like having facial hair. I don’t want to hide anymore. But I know it takes time, my family are ok with it, obviously they tell me, you know, you don’t need to worry about anything, they just support me so I just need to be patient.

Read the video transcript

Puberty is now hitting youngsters a year earlier than a generation ago, with boys commonly starting between the ages of 10 and 15 or 8 to 13 for girls. 14 year old Maria’s troubles started when she began puberty 4 years ago. Maria suffers from a condition called hirsutism, or excessive body hair. Dr Pixie says that it is probably a hormone imbalance causing the hair, and sends Maria to see endocrinologist, Professor Mehul Dattani. After taking her blood pressure, urine and blood tests it becomes apparent that Maria has quite a high amount of male sex hormone and she is diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome. This is a common but life-long condition, affecting 1 in 5 women. Symptoms can include, menstrual problems, acne and weight gain.

The EB team would like to thank:
Professor Mehul Dattani, Paediatric Endocrinologist
Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, NHS Trust

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am 17 and i've had excess hair ever since i can remember it wasn't as bad but now i have everywhere , arms , legs , lower back , side burns , stomach , one my throat area etc it is really embarrassing i don't like talking to anyone about it because it makes me feel insecure and am at the point where i can't cope anymore please help me





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I have a teenage daughter who is suffering from this problem. On surfing the internet I found some natural remedies that may stop hair growth (hirsutism). Livestrong.com has some natural remedies that I am willing to try in order to help her. I am Mexican and I have taken natural remedies for many different illness and they work. I will be giving her black cohosh, saw Palmetto, and spearment tea as suggested on the web. Maybe this will help her.





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i have tried waxing and shaving im having excessive hair on my face which is so depressing for me. i spoke to my GP he cant offer any help to me





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iv got the same problem and i went to my GP and they said they cant offer any help to me as well

i'm a 21 year old girl and i have hair on my legs,back, face, belly, arms and neck please help me. i can't live like this no more. please i'm desperate





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iam 15 i got my period when i was 12 but i have hair all over my body and this is rely making me so an confartable i lose friends because of this and i cant even wear wat i fell like





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I was diagnosed with polycistic ovary syndrome at the age of 14, i am now 17 i have been on two different types of medication, Dianette and Yasmin these are both contraceptive pills but take at least 3 months to improve the facial hair and the regulating of the periods, i find it hard to have even my boyfriend touch my face as im scared he will notice it, although i have mentioned it and he was very understanding but this condition is very embarassing. I need other treatments that will help reduce or even stop the facial hair... Help Please?





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I need to find out where to go to get rid of excessive facial hair as a black person. I have already been for laser and electrolise treatment plus skin peels. Now I look like I'm growing a beard and need this to be sorted. I'm 49 of West Indian origin and need help to return back to normal. I have had this serval years and it start by someone giving my face a wax treatment for a few hairs I wanted to get rid of.





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I was 24 when I was diagnosed with PCOS after an ultra sound of my abdomen ,I went to my doctors to help with the three main Symptoms weight gain, period problems and hair under my chin , I was given a cream to stop the hair but it gave me horrible spots which i still have scaring. I went back and was not given anything else to help as my doctor said it wasn't worth treating unless I was trying to conceive. I'm now 26 and I have started to take zinc , chromium , soy lecithin tablets and including low carb foods and cinnamon. these help reduce the symptoms but am discussed being turned away so I have to medicate myself!





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thats good to hear..ii am maria in that show above...





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I think I might have the same problem as a maria because i developed a moustache ever since i was a child wich is quiete scary at schhol becaus e id ot cussed and sacared some times at school wich can be very annoying but now i have read this i feel ok!





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