DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic staff
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Hirsutism (HER-soot-iz-um) is a condition of unwanted, male-pattern hair growth in women. Hirsutism results in excessive amounts of coarse 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. Or hirsutism may be due to an ethnic or family trait.
A combination of self-care and medical therapies provides effective treatment for many women with hirsutism.
- Evaluation and treatment of hirsutism in premenopausal women: An Endocrine Society clinical practice guideline. Chevy Chase, Md.: The Endocrine Society. http://www.endo-society.org/custom_apps/search.cfm?q=hirsutism. Accessed Oct. 29, 2010.
- Chang J, et al., eds. The Hormone Foundation's patient guide to the evaluation and treatment of hirsutism in premenopausal women. The Hormone Foundation. http://www.hormone.org/Resources/Patient_Guides/upload/Hirsutism_Patient_Guide.pdf. Accessed Oct. 29, 2010.
- Hirsutism. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/sec10/ch124/ch124c.html?qt=hirsutism&alt=sh#sec10-ch124-ch124c-989. Accessed Oct. 29, 2010.