ZocdocAnswersWhat can I do about hirsutism?

Question

What can I do about hirsutism?

I think I may have hirsutism. I'm 19, female, and have started to get hair on my face like a guy would. Is this just a cosmetic problem or is it a symptom of a hormonal problem?

Answer

Given that you are a young woman who has just noticed this problem, I would definitely advise you to see your primary care physician or OBGYN for further evaluation of this issue. It is normal to have some degree of hair over the face, but male pattern hairgrowth is not normal for a woman. It also depends on what exactly you are calling "hirsutism". It is generally hair growth in areas where hair is normally not present or minimal at best. While it is a cosmetic concern for women, it is most importantly a symptom and not particularly a disease. It is concerning because it has happened after puberty. There are several causes as to why this could be happening. It could be related to increased male hormones as you stated as these hormones stimulate hair growth. Most commonly, it occurs in women with obesity and is related to polycystic ovarian syndrome, and often, due to insulin resistance. When you see your primary care physician, he or she can run various blood tests to seek the exact cause of this. Oral contraceptives are sometimes prescribed as well. In addition, as far as cosmetics are concerned, most women with hirsutism will seek hair removal methods.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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