SymptomsBy Mayo Clinic staff
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The major sign of hirsutism is coarse 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
- Decreased breast size
- Enlargement of the clitoris
- Increased muscle mass
When to seek medical advice
Schedule an appointment with your doctor if you notice any of the following:
- Rapidly growing, unwanted hair on places such as your upper lip, cheeks, chin, neck, midchest, inner thighs or low back
- Unwanted hair growth associated with irregular menstrual periods
- Male features, such as a deepening voice, balding, increased muscle mass and decreased breast size
- Unwanted hair growth that appears to be worsened by a medication
Women approaching menopause or in the early years of menopause may develop coarse chin or other unwanted facial hair, but this isn't considered hirsutism. Your doctor can help you distinguish between stray hairs that commonly develop at the time of menopause and unwanted excess hair resulting from another disorder.
- 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.