Common causes of hirsutism in women

Hirsutism, or unwanted body-hair growth, is a condition in women that results in excessive growth of dark or coarse hair in male-like pattern in a male like pattern – primarily the face, chest, lower abdomen, inner thighs and back. Hirsutism, like acne, can be distressing for women – often leading to depression, poor body image, and low self-esteem.

Hirsutism is caused by an excess production or action of hormones called androgens, secreted by ovaries, adrenal glands, or locally in the hair follicle. This condition is known as hyperandrogenism. Following are some of the underlying causes that lead to hirsutism.

What's Inside?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Women with PCOS often have hirsutism in combination with menstrual irregularities. Women with PCOS may also have acne and balding near the front of the head. PCOS is a chronic condition, but several treatments can reduce hair growth. 

Idiopathic hirsutism

Idiopathic hirsutism refers to hirsutism that has no identifiable cause. It is usually chronic and may be a mild variation of PCOS. A gradual increased growth of coarse body hair is typically the only symptom in women with this condition. Menstrual cycles are normal in women with idiopathic hirsutism.

Medication

Certain medications may also cause hormonal imbalances in the body which may cause hirsutism. Some common ones are – Anabolic steroids, Glucocorticoids, Cyclosporine, Danazol, Phenytoin, etc.