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2693 pages added, reviewed or updated during the last month (last updated: 14/4/2021)


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aetiology

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The most common cause are

  • polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) – around 72% of women with clinical hyperandrogenism have PCOS (1)
  • idiopathic - androgen levels are not increased, resulting from hypersensitivity of the hair follicle to androgen (2). There may be a raised level of peripherally derived androgens such as 3 alpha-androstanediol glucorinide. The condition usually begins in the early teens and increases with age. A family history may be present.

Other causes:

  • adrenal -
    • non-classic congenital adrenal hyperplasia (less than 5%)
    • congenital adrenal hyperplasia
    • Cushing's syndrome
    • virilizing tumour
  • pituitary -
    • acromegaly
    • hyperprolactinaemia (1)
  • ovarian -
    • virilising tumours
    • gonadal dysgenesis
  • thyroid dysfunction (1)
  • iatrogenic -
    • drugs - androgenic drugs, oral contraceptives, phenytoin
  • menopause – is thought to be due to decreasing oestrogen levels leading to  unopposed androgen effects,  most present with facial hirsutism (4)
  • Turner's syndrome

Reference:

Last reviewed 01/2018

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