Excessive Hairiness

Hairiness (hirsutism) is the growth of excessive amounts of masculine black hair in women where it should not be (mustache, chin, chest, abdomen).

Prof. Dr. Ulun ULUĞ
Written by Prof. Dr. Ulun ULUĞ. 0 comments 2154 views

It can be seen in approximately 8% of women of reproductive age. Excessive hair growth is usually caused by overproduction of male hormones such as testosterone. Some patients may also have normal hormone levels in the blood. The symptoms are usually obvious and can be easily diagnosed with simple examinations. The treatment of excessive hair growth is usually directed towards the underlying cause. Shaving is not recommended for excessive hair growth, but Waxing can be applied. Among the cosmetic applications, laser epilation is the best, but the cost is high. The hormones that increase hair (testosterone) come from either the ovaries or the adrenal glands in women. If hair growth occurs rapidly and progresses, it is necessary to investigate the cause.

Excessive hair growth – Causes of hyperandrogenism

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common cause of excess androgen production.
  • Congenital adrenal tumors and other androgen-producing tumors are rare and often present with different symptoms when they occur.
  • Cushing's syndrome, hyperprolactinemia, acromegaly, thyroid disorders
  • Cushing's syndrome is associated with both hypertrichosis and hirsutism.
  • Use of androgenic and anabolic steroids;

Excessive hair growth – symptoms and diagnosis of hirsutism

Most women with increased hair growth sometimes do not have an increase in hormones, this is called idiopathic hirsutism, or they have polycystic ovary syndrome. Excessive prolactin hormone, overworking of the adrenal (adrenal) gland and some drugs used can also cause hair growth. Sometimes, tumors in the ovaries and adrenal glands can also cause excessive hair growth.

In patients with tumors, hair growth starts suddenly and rapidly. Hair falls out, the voice thickens and a male-type structure is formed. For diagnosis, ovarian and adrenal gland tomography is performed. Testosterone, androstenedione, 17 alpha hydroxy progesterone and prolactin hormones should be considered in the diagnosis of hirsutism. If women with hair growth have high blood testosterone, 65-85% of them have polycystic ovaries.

If the adrenal glands are enlarged, the 17 hydroxy progesterone (OHP) level will be high. 17-OHP concentration >30 nmol/L after ACTH injection (Synacten) is accepted as a diagnostic criterion for 21-hydroxylase enzyme deficiency. The cause of idiopathic hirsutism is unknown. There is an increased sensitivity to testosterone in the blood in the hair follicles. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome may experience hair loss, acne, and menstrual irregularities in addition to hair growth. These women are at risk for weight gain and diabetes.

Investigations required for excessive hair growth

  • Development of hirsutism: age, weight gain, discontinuation of oral contraceptives
  • Sudden onset and progression indicates a tumor, but slow progression does not eliminate the possibility of a tumor.
  • Localization of hirsutism and differentiation from hypertrichosis
  • Female hyperandrogenism should be suspected if hair growth has occurred in the following areas:
  • Face: mustache, beard, cheeks
  • Chest wall: scapular area and between the breasts
  • Abdomen: in the midline above the navel or between the pubic hair and the navel
  • arms and legs: hair on the inside of the thighs is abnormal.
  • Hypertrichosis refers to a general condition of excessive body hair growth.
  • Hypertrichosis is not linked to androgens.
  • Genetic and ethnic factors
  • Onset after puberty, exacerbated by discontinuation of oral contraceptives and weight gain
  • Glucocorticoids, phenytoin, cyclosporine and minoxidil may cause hypertrichosis.

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