Among women in their child-bearing years, even minimal amounts of unwanted hair in male-type patterns – especially in the presence of other subtle changes – may be a sign of a hormonal imbalance linked to a variety of serious side effects and medical conditions, according to the December 2004 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
In a study of 188 women conducted by researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the University of Alabama, Birmingham (UAB), 102 subjects with minimal excess hair growth had excessive levels of androgens, "male" hormones that normally exist in women in lesser amounts.
"We know that excess hair growth in the male pattern in women, which we call hirsutism, generally is a good indicator that there is an underlying hormone imbalance. Now this relatively large study shows that nearly 55 percent of women who have minimal unwanted hair growth have an androgen excess-related disorder, primarily the polycystic ovary syndrome," said Ricardo Azziz, MD, MPH, MBA, Chair of Cedars-Sinais Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Director of the Center for Androgen-Related Disorders, and Executive Director of the Androgen Excess Society, an international research organization.
Sandra Van | EurekAlert!
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