Hirsutism ( hair in the 'wrong places' ) in Women


This refers to excess hair , but in the 'wrong ' areas.

 

By this we refer to hair in 'androgen dependant ' areas that are controlled by androgens ( including testosterone ).


Every woman makes testosterone ( just as every man makes oestrogen). Usually however women don't make to much . If however a woman , or a young girl , develops new hirsutism ( excess hair in these areas ), a potential underlying cause can include either too much testosterone and / or an acquired sensitivity to testosterone.

 

In over 90-95% of cases , there is no clear cause identified but it is essential to exclude any cause that does account for the other 5%. Once again, this involves a detailed case history and exam as well as appropriate tests and investigations. If a cause is identified, this needs to be treated.

 

If no cause is identified, we refer to the diagnosis as ' idiopathic ' and in this instance one can institute medications that can also complement any cosmetic procedures ( and sometimes replace them entirely ) that include waxing , electrolysis, laser etc. There is a scoring chart that is useful to identify the particular areas that are ' androgenic dependant' and both the patient and the endocrinologist can use this as an initial diagnostic tool and latterly to determine respond in a numerical fashion.

 

This is called the Ferriman Galwey Score with a minimum score of 0, and a maximum score of 36. It applies equally to teenagers ( whom we can also treat ) as well as adults .

Meet the consultant

Dr Maeve Durkan
MBBS.(Hons), FACP, Mmed.Ed

Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism

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