What is the age of onset of hirsutism?

Updated: May 01, 2020
  • Author: George T Griffing, MD; Chief Editor: Michel E Rivlin, MD  more...
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Answer

The age of onset of hirsutism depends on the etiology. Most forms of nonneoplastic hirsutism become evident around puberty. This includes polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), CAH, and idiopathic hirsutism.

Hirsutism and acne are shown in the image below.

The photograph depicts hirsutism in a young woman The photograph depicts hirsutism in a young woman with polycystic ovary syndrome. Note the acne lesions and excessive hair on her face and neck.

Hirsutism may also develop after weight gain and cessation of the use of oral contraceptives (OCs) in young women. Normally, terminal hair growth becomes apparent after adrenarche and accelerates after puberty. Terminal hair continues to develop gradually in healthy women until after menopause, when loss of ovarian androgen leads to a loss of hair. Rapidly worsening hirsutism, especially in older women, should raise the suspicion of an androgen-secreting tumor.


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