What Causes Excessive Hair Growth?
Women naturally produce male hormones (androgens). Elevated levels of androgens can cause fine, “villous” hair follicles to produce larger, darker “terminal” hair, which leads to hirsutism.
When a woman has more male hormones than normal, it is most often due to a disorder called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Hirsutism may be caused by other disorders of male hormone overproduction, but these are not common. Medications such as anabolic steroids that contain male hormones can cause hirsutism.
When a woman has hirsutism but does not have high levels of androgens, this is called “idiopathic hirsutism” because the specific cause of the excessive hair growth cannot be identified.
Another rare disease called Cushing’s syndrome can also result in hirsutism, although other signs and symptoms are common and include high blood pressure, diabetes, muscle weakness, fatigue, red stretch marks and obesity.