What is Hirsutism?

Ihave some weird, coarse hairs starting to grow on my chin and upper lip. I'm only in my late 20s. Could it be that I have hirsutism? What exactly is it and how do I know if I have it?

Doctor Answers 2

Many causes for Hirsutism

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Several things can cause hair growth on the chin. An increase in circulating androgens is the most common cause in females, and it may be related to a condition called PCOS, or polycystic ovary syndrome. If you have other symptoms like acne or irregular periods, you may need to see your obgyn or endocrinologist to get some bloodwork done. They can check things like LH, FSH, and testosterone. Likewise, you may have an adrenal source which should also be considered. Definitely seek a specialist's advice, and you may benefit from anti-androgen therapies like spironolactone or birth control, along with strategies for hair removal like laser treatments or a topical cream called Vaniqa.

New Orleans Dermatologist

Unwanted Hair

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Hirsutism is the growth of terminal hair in females in areas that they are not supposed to grow hair such as the moustache, beard, upper inner thigh, and lower abdomen (escutcheon). Hirsutism is very common.

Some cases are idiopathic, unknown and despite multiple test physicians never get to the "root" of the problem.
Many cases are hyperandrogenism, associated with irregular menses. These people will often demonstrate signs of hyperandrogenism such as irregular periods, acne, deepending voice, and androgenic alopecia. Polycystic overy disease is often diagnosed in this scenario. A recent article in our literature stresses that women with this condtiion need not be chubby and hairy. The first key may be infertility.

The workup should be done by an endocrinoloigst or a dermatologist with a particular interest in hirutism.

Hirsutism may be a sign of adrenal or ovarian disease, or a defect in the way cortisone is produced in the adernal gland. ' ]

Testing for excessive testosterone levels is easy. Your physician might want to measure prolactin levels too. If these levels are high, the condition can be treated by testosteroine blockers such as Aldactone.

Bottom line: While this might simply be an ethnic thing, there might be other serious condition such an ovarian or adrenal hyperplasia (he most common cause) or an ovarian tumor (rare),

I would frecommend having a work up to ensure

Arnold R. Oppenheim, MD
Virginia Beach Dermatologist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.