Endocrine Disorders

Hirsutism

If you're a woman and you have a lot of hair growing in places where it normally does just for men, like your upper lip, chin, chest, stomach, or back, that’s a condition called hirsutism. The hair is often dark and coarse, instead of the light, fine “peach fuzz” that covers most of the body. About 5% of women in the U.S. have hirsutism. Causes It's often caused by genes, hormones, or medication. Genes. Sometimes, hirsutism runs in families. If your mother or sisters have it, you're more likely to get it. It's also more common in people from the Middle East, South Asia, and the Mediterranean. Hormones. Many times, the condition is linked to high levels of male hormones (called androgens). It's normal for women's bodies to make these, and low levels don't cause excess hair growth. But when these amounts are too high, they can cause hirsutism and other things, like acne, a deep voice, and small breasts. High levels of male hormones and hirsutism are common in women who have: • Polycystic ovary syndrome , which causes small cysts, or fluid-filled sacs, to form on your ovaries. • Cushing's syndrome, which you get when you have high levels of the stress hormone cortisol for long periods of time. • Tumors in your adrenal glands (which make hormones like cortisol) or your ovaries. Medication. Some drugs can change the hormone levels in your system, so you grow unwanted hair on your face or body. This can happen with: • Drugs that have hormones, like anabolic steroids • Drugs that spur hair growth, like Rogaine (minoxidil) • A drug called Danocrine (danazol) that can help with endometriosis, when the tissue that lines the uterus grows outside of the womb Treatments If you have more facial or body hair than you want, there are a number of ways you can remove it. Weight loss. If you’re overweight and drop pounds, your body should make fewer male hormones, so you should grow less hair on your face or body. Shaving. You can remove unwanted hair easily with a razor or electric shaver. You may need to shave daily to avoid stubble growth. Some people get razor burn from shaving too often, but a soothing cream may help