Which physical findings are characteristic of hirsutism?

Updated: Mar 14, 2018
  • Author: Mohamed Yahya Abdel-Rahman, MD, MSc; Chief Editor: Richard Scott Lucidi, MD, FACOG  more...
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Answer

Focused physical examination is essential for the evaluation of women with hirsutism. The clinician should determine whether hirsutism is truly present, as many women who complain of excess hair growth might not actually have hirsutism, especially those with ethnic and genetic predisposition (South European, and Middle East). Excess hair should be established as villus or terminal. Also, hirsutism should be distinguished from hypertrichosis, where hair growth is not mediated by androgens and hairs are not distributed in an androgen sensitive (male) pattern. [31]

Height, weight, body mass index (BMI), and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) should be determined. Increased BMI and WHR are associated with PCOS, insulin resistance, and increased risk of coronary artery disease. [32]


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