What is Hirsutism?

Hirsutism is a condition that causes excess hair to grow on certain parts of the body and mainly affects women. This excess hair growth usually occurs on the face, abdomen, back, inner thighs and buttocks, and it is caused by the excess production of male hormones called androgens.

Hirsutism can run in families and affects nearly 10% of women at some point during their lives. That’s why our dermatologists begin by focusing on what’s causing this condition first and then discussing your options for controlling this unwanted hair growth.


Hirsutism is a common disorder affecting up to 10% of women across all
ethnic backgrounds.

Signs and Symptoms of Hirsutism

The most common signs of hirsutism include:

  • A sudden change in hair color, rate of growth, thickness and/or the location of this hair growth
  • Excessive body hair growth on the upper lip, chin, back, abdomen, inner thighs and buttocks

Additional symptoms may include:

  • High levels of insulin
  • Various other skin conditions
  • A deepening of your voice
  • Irregular or absent menstrual periods
  • Hair loss on your scalp

Since many of the signs and symptoms of hirsutism can look like other health conditions, please see one of our dermatologists to ensure a correct diagnosis.

Causes of Hirsutism

This condition is most commonly caused by Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – the most common cause of hirsutism in women.

Some of the other causes of Hirsutism include:

  • Adrenal, pituitary gland and thyroid gland disorders
  • Changes in hormones from menopause
  • Severe insulin resistance
  • Cushing’s syndrome
  • Certain medications

Hirsutism Treatments

The treatment of this condition most often depends on an individual’s personal preference. The various methods for reducing and removing this unwanted hair include:

  • Androgen-suppressing medications
  • Chemical bleaching
  • Electrolysis
  • Insulin lowering medications
  • Laser hair removal
  • Low-dose steroids
  • Medicated creams and hair removal lotions
  • Shaving
  • Weight loss
  • Waxing