A condition in women that involves excessive growth of dark or coarse hair on the face and certain body parts.


With hirsutism, extra hair growth often happens due to excess hormones called androgens. The main androgen involved is testosterone. Hirsutism can be caused by hormonal conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome. Some medicines also can cause hirsutism. Rarely, hirsutism happens due to a tumor in the ovaries or adrenal glands.


With hirsutism, stiff or dark hair appears on the body where women don't commonly have hair. That can include the face, chest, lower stomach, inner thighs and back. When high androgen levels cause hirsutism, other symptoms might develop. These include a deeper voice, loss of scalp hair, acne and a decrease in breast size.


If a health condition causes hirsutism, that condition is treated. Self-care for unwanted hair also can help. For example, hair can be removed in the short term with plucking or waxing. For longer term results, medicines such as birth control pills and procedures such as laser therapy may be useful.