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10 embarrassing female body problems

Whether it's having varicose veins, a vaginal discharge or accidental leaks of urine, many women are embarrassed when it comes to discussing certain issues with their doctor. However, if you have concerns, don't be too embarrassed to talk to your GP. Doctors have heard it all before, and they often can find a solution that can treat the problem, reduce the symptoms or provide advice to help make you feel less embarrassed.

1. Oily skin

Although oily skin may be associated with hormone changes in teenagers, oily skin also occurs in adults, especially in the face, neck and back areas. Stress, excessive rubbing of the skin (e.g. from washing it too much) and even the weather are some factors that can stimulate oil production in the skin. However, for women, oily skin can also be brought on by hormonal changes related to their menstrual cycle, pregnancy and the menopause. The right products, a gentle cleansing regime, as well as choosing oil-free cosmetics can help control oil production and reduce oily skin.

2. Facial hair

Hair removal for women is not exactly a new trend, and it is common for women to shave so they can have silky smooth skin on their legs and hair-free armpits. However, some women have more body hair than others, and excessive hair growth, especially on the face – where it's difficult to cover it up with clothes – can be embarrassing. There are a number of hair removal methods available, from plucking hairs with a pair of tweezers to electrolysis.

3. Thinning hair or hair loss

An estimated 8 million women in the UK are affected, but women with hair thinning or hair loss often feel self-conscious about it. If a bald man walks down the street, it's unlikely that many people will stare at him as they would do if a bald woman walked past. Female pattern baldness, the most common of the hair loss causes in women, may be hereditary. There are questions your GP can ask to help diagnose hair loss in women, which is important because there are also medical conditions that can lead to thinning hair or hair loss. These include polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), psoriasis, anaemia and thyroid problems, as well as certain medications. Any available treatments will depend on the cause.

4. Cellulite

Women are more likely than men to develop cellulite, which refers to fatty, lumpy deposits under the skin that form in the thighs and buttocks and give them the appearance of cottage cheese. Although losing weight can help reduce cellulite, thin people can also have cellulite. Family history, diet and lack of physical activity are some of the factors that can contribute towards developing cellulite. There are products and therapies to help reduce cellulite, but exercising and weight loss - if appropriate - may be the best solutions.

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