Hirsutism is a condition of unwanted, male-pattern hair growth in women. Hirsutism results in excessive amounts of dark, course 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. There's a wide range of normal hair distribution, thickness and color due to differences in heredity. However, hirsutism is a medical condition that can arise from excess male hormones called androgens, primarily testosterone. It can also be due to a family trait.
A combination of self-care and medical therapies provides treatment for many women with hirsutism.
Hirsutism is stiff and dark body hair, appearing on the body where women don't commonly have hair — primarily the face, chest and back. What's considered excessive can vary depending on ethnicity and culture.
When excessively high androgen levels cause hirsutism, other signs might develop over time, a process called virilization. Signs of virilization might include:
- Deepening voice
- Decreased breast size
- Increased muscle mass
- Enlargement of the clitoris