Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Women seeking treatment for even minimal ’male-type’ hair growth need endocrine evaluation

23.12.2004


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-Sinai’s 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.


Among all 188 women in the study complaining of minimal unwanted hair growth, 102 were found to have an underlying androgen excess disorder. Ninety-four of the 102 suffered from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a disorder characterized by numerous small cysts on the periphery of the ovaries. Women with PCOS often struggle with menstrual irregularities, skin problems, and excess weight and they are at increased risk of developing Type II diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

Four of the study participants were diagnosed with non-classic adrenal hyperplasia (NCAH), an adrenal gland dysfunction that often leads to premature development of pubic hair, irregular menstrual periods, hirsutism and severe acne, although patients with milder forms may notice few if any symptoms. Another four patients were found to have a multi-system disorder that stems from a long-term excess of insulin in the bloodstream that up-regulates ovarian secretion of androgens. Called HAIRAN (hyperandrogenic insulin resistant acanthosis nigricans) syndrome, the disorder increases risk of hirsutism and masculinization. It may be recognized by characteristic thickened patches of dark skin (acanthosis nigricans) and other symptoms.

The patient evaluations were completed between Jan. 1, 1995 and June 30, 2002 at UAB, where Dr. Azziz served as Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and in the Department of Medicine before joining Cedars-Sinai. Participants completed a medical history form and underwent a complete physical exam during which they were assessed for several conditions, including the presence of coarse hairs on the upper lip, chin and neck, chest, upper abdomen, lower abdomen, thighs, upper arms, upper back, and lower back.

"In our study population of women with minimal unwanted hair growth, there were few predictors of an androgen excess disorder," said Dr. Azziz, now serving as Professor and Vice-Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Professor in the Department of Medicine at The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "Compared to their non-affected counterparts, those with an androgen excess disorder did not differ in race, body mass, degree of hair growth or family history. However, patients with an identifiable androgen excess disorder were slightly younger and more likely to complain of infertility."

Acne was seen in about one-fourth of the study population, affecting those with and without an androgen excess disorder equally. But at least half of the women with acne and minimal unwanted hair growth had elevated androgen levels and infrequent, irregular ovulation cycles. Previous studies have shown that even without excessive hair growth, 55 to 86 percent of women with acne have elevated androgen levels. The authors recommend, therefore, that women with acne, especially those who complain of unwanted hair growth, receive in-depth hormonal evaluation.

The single best predictor of an androgen excess disorder among patients with minimal excess hair growth was the presence of oligomenorrhea, infrequent menstrual periods, although some women who claimed to have regular periods were found to have irregular ovulatory cycles, and a significant number of these women had an androgen excess disorder.

A clinical diagnosis of hirsutism is made by a physician’s evaluation and based on standardized scales. Women with true hirsutism often find professional help for their underlying conditions because the severity of their symptoms forces them to seek cosmetic services.

"Electrologists tend to be the front line for patients with hirsutism. When electrologists recognize that the symptom is part of a larger disorder, they are able to give appropriate referrals, which enables patients to find the diagnostic and treatment help they need. Women with only minimal unwanted hair growth, however, often have an underlying hormonal imbalance that goes undetected altogether," said Dr. Azziz, holder of The Helping Hand of Los Angeles Chair in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cedars-Sinai.

"Unfortunately," he added, "whether the outward symptoms are minimal or significant, many women view hyperandrogenism as a cosmetic rather than an endocrinologic abnormality. We find that there is a great need for more education of physicians, related practitioners, and the public regarding prevalence, signs, morbidity and the treatments available for these disorders."

Cedars-Sinai’s Center for Androgen-Related Disorders is one of the first programs in the country specializing in both up- and down-regulation of androgen levels in women. It offers in-depth testing, comprehensive treatments and support, and research into molecular mechanisms and future therapies.

Sandra Van | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.csmc.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Nitric oxide-scavenging hydrogel developed for rheumatoid arthritis treatment
06.06.2019 | Pohang University of Science & Technology (POSTECH)

nachricht Infants later diagnosed with autism follow adults’ gaze, but seldom initiate joint attention
24.05.2019 | Schwedischer Forschungsrat - The Swedish Research Council

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Successfully Tested in Praxis: Bidirectional Sensor Technology Optimizes Laser Material Deposition

The quality of additively manufactured components depends not only on the manufacturing process, but also on the inline process control. The process control ensures a reliable coating process because it detects deviations from the target geometry immediately. At LASER World of PHOTONICS 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be demonstrating how well bi-directional sensor technology can already be used for Laser Material Deposition (LMD) in combination with commercial optics at booth A2.431.

Fraunhofer ILT has been developing optical sensor technology specifically for production measurement technology for around 10 years. In particular, its »bd-1«...

Im Focus: The hidden structure of the periodic system

The well-known representation of chemical elements is just one example of how objects can be arranged and classified

The periodic table of elements that most chemistry books depict is only one special case. This tabular overview of the chemical elements, which goes back to...

Im Focus: MPSD team discovers light-induced ferroelectricity in strontium titanate

Light can be used not only to measure materials’ properties, but also to change them. Especially interesting are those cases in which the function of a material can be modified, such as its ability to conduct electricity or to store information in its magnetic state. A team led by Andrea Cavalleri from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg used terahertz frequency light pulses to transform a non-ferroelectric material into a ferroelectric one.

Ferroelectricity is a state in which the constituent lattice “looks” in one specific direction, forming a macroscopic electrical polarisation. The ability to...

Im Focus: Determining the Earth’s gravity field more accurately than ever before

Researchers at TU Graz calculate the most accurate gravity field determination of the Earth using 1.16 billion satellite measurements. This yields valuable knowledge for climate research.

The Earth’s gravity fluctuates from place to place. Geodesists use this phenomenon to observe geodynamic and climatological processes. Using...

Im Focus: Tube anemone has the largest animal mitochondrial genome ever sequenced

Discovery by Brazilian and US researchers could change the classification of two species, which appear more akin to jellyfish than was thought.

The tube anemone Isarachnanthus nocturnus is only 15 cm long but has the largest mitochondrial genome of any animal sequenced to date, with 80,923 base pairs....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Innovative powder revolutionises 3D metal printing

19.06.2019 | Materials Sciences

'Alexa, monitor my heart': Researchers develop first contactless cardiac arrest AI system for smart speakers

19.06.2019 | Information Technology

Clean lungs thanks to laser process exhaustion

19.06.2019 | Machine Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>