Sunday, February 15, 2009

Hair, Hair, Go Away!


What causes hirsutism?

Conditions that can cause high androgen levels include:

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): Caused by an imbalance of sex hormones, this common condition can result in irregular periods, obesity, infertility and sometimes, multiple cysts on your ovaries. Insulin resistance is also commonly associated with PCOS, and so diabetes is among the conditions that can be linked with hirsutism. Polycystic ovary syndrome is the most common identifiable cause of hirsutism.

Cushing's syndrome: Cushing's syndrome is a condition that occurs when your body is exposed to high levels of the hormone cortisol, a steroid hormone involved in your body's response to stress. It can develop when your adrenal glands - small hormone-secreting glands located just above your kidneys - make too much cortisol, or it can occur from taking cortisol-like medications over a long period. Increased cortisol levels disrupt the balance of sex hormones in your body, which can result in hirsutism.

Tumours: Rarely, the cause of hirsutism may be an androgen-secreting tumour in the ovaries or adrenal glands.

Medications: Some medications such as phenytoin danazole testosterone and glucocorticoids can cause hirsutism.

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