Hirsutism

Hirsutism, is where women have thick, dark hair on their face, neck, chest, tummy, lower back, buttocks or thighs. See a GP if it's a problem for you. It might be caused by a medical condition that can be treated.

Causes

In many cases, the exact cause of hirsutism is not known. However, there are several conditions that are known to cause hirsutism. These conditions include:

  • The natural production of male hormones (androgens).Women naturally produce androgen, however, if a woman's androgen levels are higher than normal, or if her hair follicles are more sensitive to androgens, she may develop hirsutism.
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome(PCOS) is a common hormonal condition that causes a woman to produce too many androgens. Women with PCOS may also have acne, irregular or absent menstrual periods, diabetes, weight gain, and/or problems with fertility.
  • The hormonal changes ofmenopause may lead to increased facial hair (mustache and whiskers).
  • Other more serious conditions.Hirsutism that occurs suddenly along with other male characteristics, such as a deeper voice, acne or increased muscle mass, may be caused by a more serious condition, such as disorders of the adrenal glands or ovaries.
  • Medications.The following medications can cause hirsutism:
    • Anabolic steroids
    • Testosterone
    • Glucocorticoids
    • Cyclosporine (Sandimmune®)
    • Minoxidil (Loniten®, Rogaine®)
    • Danazol (Danocrine®)
    • Phenytoin (Dilantin®)
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