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What is Hirsutism?

Hirsutism is excessive hair growth in women. The hair growth usually occurs on the face and body where a man would typically have hair. Women normally have fine, faintly visible hair in the beard area or on other parts of the body, but heavy hair growth is a sign of hirsutism.

Hirsutism causes excessive hair growth in women on parts of the body, including:

  • Back
  • Buttocks
  • Chest
  • Chin
  • Jawline
  • Upper lip

Causes of Hirsutism

Hirsutism is caused by an excess of male hormones called androgens. All women naturally produce small amounts of androgens, but high levels of this hormone can lead to excessive hair growth. You are at risk for hirsutism if you have:

  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • A family history of hirsutism
  • Pituitary, adrenal, or thyroid gland disorders
  • Insulin resistance
  • Use of steroids
  • Obesity

Treatments for Hirsutism

Treatment for hirsutism depends on how much hair growth you can tolerate — it is a personal preference. Treatment options include:

  • Hormones
  • Antiandrogen medicine
  • Treatment of an underlying condition
  • Diet and exercise
  • Hair removal — creams, waxing, shaving, and laser treatment

When to See a Doctor for Hirsutism

Hirsutism is often a long-term, chronic condition. Call one of our women’s health specialists if you are not content with the symptoms, the symptoms become worse, or if you begin to notice new symptoms.

Bassett Healthcare Network offers treatment for hirsutism in Central New York, including in Cooperstown, Cobleskill, Hamilton, Herkimer, and Oneonta.