Hairy nipples: This is the only reason you should be worried

Women having hairless nipples are as much of a myth as the existence of mermaids.

Somehow, we’ve all been tricked into believing that those born with female genitalia are also supposed to have smooth, soft, and hairless skin—everywhere. That’s far from the truth. Like our male counterparts, we too have hair on our legs, arms, faces, bellies, backs, and yes, some of us have hair on our nipples as well.

Hairy nipples

In fact, general practitioner Dr. Claudia Pastides tells Cosmopolitan that most women probably have nipple hair. She says:

Yes, it is normal to have nipple hair. We don’t know what percentage of women have nipple hair, but I suspect it is rather high!

There are a number of reasons that cause stray hairs to grow on the breasts, the most common is probably due to a flux in hormones. Women will most likely notice more nipple hair when they’re going through puberty, pregnancy, or even menopause. According to Dr. Pastides, this is because testosterone is not the only hormone to promote hair growth. She adds:

The female sex hormones also play a part and can lead to an increase in the amount of hair (as many women will have experienced in pregnancy, finding that their hair thickened considerably and then shed away after birth).

There is no need to consult a doctor if you’ve been noticing hair on your nipples. But on the other hand, excessive growth in this area could indicate high levels of testosterone—and this could be a sign that you have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

What is PCOS?

As defined by Healthline, PCOS is an ‘imbalance of reproductive hormones’ that affects one in every ten menstruators. The exact cause of the imbalance is currently unknown but in some cases, a raised level of testosterone, aka the male hormone, has been observed.

This hormone is often responsible for rapid and excessive growth in areas where females normally have less hair follicles—like the face, nipples, chest, and back.

In the case that your hairy nipples is a sign of PCOS, other symptoms that you should also be experiencing include (as listed by the NHS):

  • Irregular or missed periods
  • Weight gain
  • Hair loss
  • Acne
  • Oily skin
  • Difficulty getting pregnant
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