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View Full Version : The connection between obesity and body hair?


Uncommon Sense
06-24-2003, 12:40 PM
From personal pbservation, it seems that the larger the person gets the less body hair they seem to have.
Very obese people tend to have very little body hair.
By body hair, I`m referring to observable locations such as legs arms and, if at the beach, the back and torso area.

What is the connection here?

Amp
06-24-2003, 01:07 PM
Really? I've seen the opposite, the larger or more obese the person, the more body hair.

Surreal
06-24-2003, 01:12 PM
I agree with Amp.

It seems to me that the opposite holds true for both men and women.

Zorro
06-24-2003, 02:25 PM
That's because there are the same number of hair follicles spread over a larger surface.

OK, bring on the next pointless question.

WeRSauron
06-24-2003, 03:36 PM
But what about the "before" and "after" shots of guys where the "before" shot shows them as fat and hairy, and the "after" shot shows them as fit and smooth? Does toning up make one loose hair? (This is especially interesting when one notices the trend to today's men's magazines of portraying guys as having no hair except on their head or under their arms.)

WRS

Mini-Thud
06-24-2003, 03:49 PM
I suspect in those before and after shots, they shave themselves smooth to make it look more "sexy". Certainly no woman wants a hairy guy... even if he is in good shape, right?

Skammer
06-24-2003, 04:44 PM
Originally posted by Jukaal
Certainly no woman wants a hairy guy... even if he is in good shape, right?

That's not what my wife says... but I think she's just trying to not hurt my feelings.

KarlGauss
06-24-2003, 04:50 PM
There is a very strong connection between excessive male type hair in obese women.

The mechanism is multifactorial but, in part, has to do with the fact that obese people are resistant to insulin. As a consequence, their insulin levels increase (to try to overcome the resistance). The resultant high levels of insulin, in women, stimulate the ovaries to make male hormones. Male type hair growth results.

Tsubaki
06-24-2003, 06:02 PM
Originally posted by Jukaal
Certainly no woman wants a hairy guy... even if he is in good shape, right?

Not true.

kirk
06-24-2003, 08:58 PM
Body fat is a source of estrogen.
In men, the estrogen would reduce the amount of body hair and may cause other effects. http://my.webmd.com/content/article/49/39672.htm?lastselectedguid={5FE84E90-BC77-4056-A91C-9531713CA348}

lollipop
06-24-2003, 11:08 PM
KarlGauss is right. Weight often does influence hormone production in women. I'm not sure if it has the same influence on men. Men are have more hair to begin with, so who can tell?

Uncommon Sense
06-25-2003, 07:28 AM
Originally posted by kirk
Body fat is a source of estrogen.
In men, the estrogen would reduce the amount of body hair and may cause other effects. http://my.webmd.com/content/article/49/39672.htm?lastselectedguid={5FE84E90-BC77-4056-A91C-9531713CA348}

I read the article and it seems they were referring to estrogen in WOMEN not men.
If amp and surreal seem to think just the opposite what I observe, why would that be the case?
What would be the cause either way linking the two?

Do the hair follicles get spaced out more, as zorro said, or is it due to increased friction between clothes and body, or is it a hormonal thing,- just curious.

mallocks
06-25-2003, 07:34 AM
I don't think I've seen any real correlation, if I had to decide one way I'd actually go for Amp's view

Uncommon Sense
06-25-2003, 07:41 AM
Originally posted by mallocks
I don't think I've seen any real correlation, if I had to decide one way I'd actually go for Amp's view

Why do you suppose that is?

mallocks
06-25-2003, 07:55 AM
Originally posted by whuckfistle
Why do you suppose that is?

because some of the larger people I know have a lot of body hair, I'm just not quite sure if they are larger than the number of slimmer people I know who have a lot of body hair.

Shrinking Violet
06-25-2003, 09:01 AM
The resultant high levels of insulin, in women, stimulate the ovaries to make male hormones. Male type hair growth results.

Do you have a cite for this, KarlGauss? Reason I ask is that, although only slightly overweight I've become somewhat hairier since being put onto insulin 6 months ago.

Julie

curly chick
06-25-2003, 09:50 AM
We all know thin hairy men and fat hairy men, so I don't know that there is any sort of a link between hair and fat in men.

What about women though?
Fat is a source of oestrogen, as mentioned by kirk, so then fat women should be super feminine and have no hair, shouldn't they?
Yet KarlGauss says that obese women have male pattern hair.

Then again anorexics, when they get very tiny have no fat and grow that horrible downy hair on their body to keep warm.
Some people think that this type of anorexic hair is more like fur than ordinary body hair, but it must surely come from the existing follicles as the starved body would hardly expend any effort making more follicles, would it?

Is there a pattern for either gender? I don't think so.

Surreal
06-25-2003, 09:57 AM
All I know is that among the guys I know who are REALLY hairy, all of them are overweight.

I think the gay porn term for them is 'bear'.

Dr_Paprika
06-25-2003, 03:04 PM
People with lots of estrogen tend to turn some of it into testosterone, which is chemically similar.

Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome may weigh more than average and be hairier than average.

KarlGauss
06-25-2003, 04:08 PM
Do you have a cite for this, KarlGauss? Reason I ask is that, although only slightly overweight I've become somewhat hairier since being put onto insulin 6 months ago.

JulieHere a few abstracts that indicate the association between insulin resistance, high levels of insulin (hyperinsulinemia), hair growth (hirsutism), and elevated levels of male hormones (hyperandrogenemia). There is considerable overlap among these entities with so-called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (a condition most commonly affecting overweight women which is characterized by hirsutism, mentrual disturbance, and varying degrees of infertility).

Role of hyperinsulinemia in the pathogenesis of the polycystic ovary syndrome, and its clinical implications (http://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=9165656&dopt=Abstract)

Insulin-lowering drugs in polycystic ovary syndrome (http://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=11293000&dopt=Abstract)

Insulin resistance in polycystic ovary syndrome (http://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=9263704&dopt=Abstract).

Obesity and the polycystic ovary syndrome (http://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=12080440&dopt=Abstract)

Insulin resistance, polycystic ovary syndrome and metformin (http://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=10576524&dopt=Abstract)

With respect to fat as a source of estrogen - it is. In fact, that may explain, in part, the association between obesity and breast cancer/uterus cancer.

It seems, though, that in many obese women, the estrogen effect is offset by the high male hormones that have resulted from the insulin resistance/high levels of insulin. Also, the uninterrupted high levels of estrogen which result from obesity(as opposed to the cyclically high levels in "normal" women), promote (through endocrine feedback) the production of even more male hormone.

Finally, in women, obesity and high levels of insulin both lead to more male hormone being "free" and "unbound" and thus more able to have a biological effect, including its ability to promote male type hair growth (i.e. usually, most of the male hormone in women is effectively inactivated by being bound to various proteins in the bloodstream.

It's a confusing, but fascinating, set of processes.

KarlGauss
06-25-2003, 04:10 PM
I neglected to point out that Dr_Paprika is quite right about estrogen being converted to testosterone in fat tissue. Yet another reason why obese women may have hirsutism and the like.

JohnBckWLD
06-25-2003, 04:30 PM
4 words:
Geoge The Animal Steele (http://angelfire.com/fl3/jasonsite/images/anim1.jpg)

j.c.
06-26-2003, 01:45 AM
Well, gender has nothing to do with hair growth - although gender will influence how one grooms the hair one has!

When you say large people, do you mean big folks like Shaq, or people who are seriously obese? If you gain enough weight, your hormones, among other things go haywire, which can cause weird hair growth or hair loss.

Uncommon Sense
06-26-2003, 11:25 AM
Originally posted by j.c.
Well, gender has nothing to do with hair growth - although gender will influence how one grooms the hair one has!

When you say large people, do you mean big folks like Shaq, or people who are seriously obese? If you gain enough weight, your hormones, among other things go haywire, which can cause weird hair growth or hair loss.

Mostly people that are at least double what there optimal weight would be.

Deadly Nightlight
06-26-2003, 12:14 PM
as a real live insulin resistant female, I agree with karl, now I'm off to chave something

Kempis
06-26-2003, 03:13 PM
Maybe there's a correlation between people who allow themselves to get fat and the likelyhood that they don't remove excess hair.

Makes sense, letting yourself get unattractive by being unhealthily fat probably means you don't care about something like hair.

Another thought is that this may be a case of confirmational bias... you only remember it when it happens, so you assume it happens more often than not. e.g. Fat guy. So what. Fat hairy guy, ew geez.

-k

susan
06-26-2003, 06:52 PM
Kempis, you make a big assumption when you say "letting yourself get unattractive by being unhealthily fat probably means you don't care about something like hair." "Unhealthily fat" can be caused by poor health, not lack of grooming or lack of caring.

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