What Causes Hirsutism?

In order to hopefully treat and prevent recurrence of hirsutism we need to understand and — if possible — remove the underlying causes and risk factors.  We need to ask: "What else is going on inside the body that might allow hirsutism to develop?"

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Accurate diagnosis of the factors behind hirsutism consists of three steps:

Step 1: List the Possible Causative Factors

Identify all disease conditions, lifestyle choices and environmental risk factors that can lead to hirsutism.  Here are six possibilities:
  • Adrenal Fatigue
  • Low Progesterone
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
  • Cerebral Gland Dysfunction
  • High Female Testosterone
  • Ovarian Cysts

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

Identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
dizziness when standing up
regular sore throats
morning sickness
menopausal arthritis
jaundiced skin
adverse reaction to stress
history of non-vaginal candidiasis
history of shingles
history of painful menstrual cramps
very early puberty onset
reduced progesterone level
adrenal insufficiency
... and more than 80 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of hirsutism:
Cause Probability Status
Cerebral Gland Dysfunction 96% Confirm
Adrenal Fatigue 70% Possible
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome 15% Unlikely
Low Progesterone 5% Ruled out
High Female Testosterone 2% Ruled out
Ovarian Cysts 2% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

In the Hair-Related Symptoms section of the questionnaire, The Analyst™ will ask the following question about hirsutism:
Do you have any hair growth pattern that is usually seen in males? This means increased hair on the chest/nipples, above the pubic area toward the navel, or on the chin or upper lip.
Possible responses:
→ Don't know
→ No
→ Very minor
→ Somewhat / one or two areas
→ Very noticeable / in several areas
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate absence of hirsutism, minor hirsutism, mild hirsutism or hirsutism, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

It has been a tradition to divide patients with hirsutism into those with no elevation of serum androgen levels and no other clinical features ('idiopathic hirsutism') and those with an identifiable endocrine imbalance (most commonly PCOS or rarely other causes).  However, in recent years it has become apparent that most patients with 'idiopathic hirsutism' have some radiological or biochemical evidence of PCOS on more detailed investigation.

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