Hirsutism is excessive body hair in men and women on parts of the body where hair is normally absent or minimal, such as on the chin or chest in particular, or the face or body in general. It may refer to a male pattern of hair growth that may be a sign of a more serious medical condition, especially if it develops well after puberty. It can be caused by increased levels of androgen hormones. The amount and location of the hair is measured by a Ferriman-Gallwey score. It is different than hypertrichosis, which is excessive hair growth anywhere on the body.
Hirsutism is usually the result of an underlying endocrine imbalance, which may be adrenal, ovarian, or central. Hirsutism is a commonly presenting symptom in dermatology, endocrinology, and gynecology clinics, and one that is considered to be the cause of much psychological distress and social difficulty. Facial hirsutism often leads to the avoidance of social situations and to symptoms of anxiety and depression.