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article imageNana, Chinese girl grows beard after life-saving drug treatment

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By JohnThomas Didymus     Oct 21, 2012 in Health
Drug treatment for aplastic anemia has caused a Chinese girl, Nana, 16, to grow black luxuriant beard and hair on her body, a condition known as hirsutism. The condition has forced the girl to withdraw from school and to grow socially withdrawn.
The Huffington Post reports that according to the National Lung Blood and Heart Institute, aplastic anemia is a condition in which the body's bone marrow is unable to produce sufficient new blood cells.
The Daily Mail reports Nana was diagnosed with aplastic anemia in 2010, leading to her hospitalization. After she underwent bone marrow transplant and drug therapy, her condition improved but a new and disconcerting physical transformation set in.
Nana now spots a thick growth of beard and mustache that a 40-year-old-man would envy. The conditions has been very trying indeed for a 16-year-old girl going through a special period of her life cycle. Nana has become a recluse.
The Huffington Post reports that according to China's Xinhua news agency, Nana's mother, said: "The doctor said that...it was very serious and without treatment [Nana] would die."
According to The Huffington Post, Liao Shen Evening News writes:
"[Nana] needs to rely on the drug treatment, but the side effects of the drugs include this 'hairy disease.' After taking these drugs... the girl's face has grown a thick black beard, and her arms and legs are covered with body hair."
After various unsuccessful medical treatments for the condition, she dropped out of school in 2010 and now wears a mask and a long-sleeved shirt to cover her body when she must appear in public. Nana's mother says: "Every day she cries, wanting to go to school."
Nana's mother said her feeling of embarrassment at the condition is such that she refuses to leave her bedroom. According to China's Xinhua news agency, her mother described her as "Once a lively young girl." She said that now "there are days when Nana will not speak a word... and more and more, she spends her hours hidden in her room reading books by herself."
The Daily Mail reports that the University of Maryland Medical Center and the Mayo Clinic say there are only few treatment options for hirsutism. The condition caused by high levels of male sex hormones called androgens could be treated by hair removal treatments, medication, dietary and lifestyle changes.
This is not the first time that the media has reported about young girls challenged by hirsutism. Recently, a story about three Indian sisters suffering a condition called "werewolf syndrome" (hypertrichosis) was reported. The condition causes the body to be covered in thick growth of hair.
MSN Now comments, "So if you're a self-conscious teenager struggling with pimples or embarrassed over braces, count your blessings. There really is always a kid out there who has it worse."
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