Hirsutism (HUR-soot-iz-um) is a condition of unwanted, male-pattern hair growth in women. Hirsutism results in excessive amounts of stiff and pigmented hair on body areas where men typically grow hair — face, chest and back.

The amount of body hair you have is largely determined by your genetic makeup. Hirsutism may arise from excess male hormones called androgens, primarily testosterone. Hirsutism may also be due to a family trait.

A combination of self-care and medical therapies provides effective treatment for many women with hirsutism.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications Prevention

Hirsutism is stiff and pigmented body hair, appearing on the body where women don't commonly have hair — primarily the face, chest and back.

When excessively high androgen levels cause hirsutism, other signs may develop over time, a process called virilization. Signs of virilization may include:

  • Deepening voice
  • Balding
  • Acne
  • Decrease in breast size
  • Enlargement of the clitoris

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