Woman with hormone condition grows beard and moustache for Movember

Philippa Lees
Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A woman who has shaved since puberty put her razor away for a month to raise awareness for men's cancer – and to boost her own self esteem.

But what started out as a private campaign has become international news.

UK housewife Siobhain Fletcher, 36, suffers from polycystic ovary syndrome, which causes her to produce abnormal levels of testosterone, and as a result she has to shave almost every day.

She appeared on UK TV show This Morning and said she hoped to give other people the courage to deal with their problems.

"If I can go out on the street with a beard or moustache for a month, then surely men who are experiencing health problems can go and get themselves tested for prostate or testicular cancer."

She was inspired by a male friend to joined the Movember fundraising movement and has collected over $1000.

Polycistic ovary syndrome, which excessive hair growth is a symptom of, affects around 11 percent of women and is the most common reason for women to not produce viable eggs.

She told This Morning the hair first started appearing in her teens and she has spent five of her adult years housebound, too afraid to go out in public.

Fletcher has tried waxing and electrolysis as well as shaving, but neither treatment was effective on her hair.

She said the experience of letting it grow was liberating.

"I've had overwhelming support so far. My sister's initial reaction was to offer me 50 pounds not to do it. My friends agreed with her — but only because they were worried about negative reaction," she said.

"I said 'I'm doing it anyway.' I'm stubborn and pig-headed. And it's gone from a comment on Facebook to the local papers. And now I'm on television.

"This isn't a sideshow. It's to raise awareness of men's cancers. To stop families losing a family member. And to help people with self-esteem issues to say, 'It doesn't matter."

"People look as beautiful with facial hair as without it. People are neurotic about it — but I want them to see they can get out there. It's not as bad as they think."

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