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Symptoms of Androgen Excess in Women

by
author image Lisa Mercer
In 1999, Lisa Mercer’s fitness, travel and skiing expertise inspired a writing career. Her books include "Open Your Heart with Winter Fitness" and "101 Women's Fitness Tips." Her articles have appeared in "Aspen Magazine," "HerSports," "32 Degrees," "Pregnancy Magazine" and "Wired." Mercer has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the City College of New York.
Symptoms of Androgen Excess in Women
A woman is getting her facial hair waxed. Photo Credit pyotr021/iStock/Getty Images

Overview

Androgen excess is an endocrine disorder that is sometimes found in women during their reproductive years. While everyone has a combination of male and female hormones, women have more estrogen, and men have more androgen. However, certain conditions may cause women to produce excess androgen.

Excessive Facial and Body Hair

Women usually do not grow course, dark hair on their lips, chin, neck, chest, back and abdomen. However, this condition, also known as hirsutism, can be caused by excess androgen. Although hirsutism is often hereditary, it is sometimes caused by polycystic ovarian syndrome, which is a condition characterized by cysts in the ovaries.

Acne

Acne is another symptom of excess androgen. It usually can be seen on a woman's face, neck and forehead. In some cases, it is found on the, chest, upper arm and upper back

Menstrual Irregularity

Menstrual irregularity can be caused by polycystic ovarian syndrome, which is in turn caused by excess androgen. Irregular menstrual symptoms may include missed periods, as well as excessive uterine bleeding.

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Fertility Problems

Dr. Bruce Bateman and Dr. Christopher Williams are specialists in reproductive medicine and infertility. They practice at the Reproductive Medicine and Surgery Center of Virginia. The doctors have conducted extensive research on infertility. Their studies found that when excess androgen leads to polycystic ovarian syndrome, fertility problems may occur. This may be due to the fact that the irregular menstrual patterns associated with polycistic ovary syndrome can interrupt the ovulation cycle.

Virilization

In extreme cases, excess androgen can cause virilization. This means that a woman develops masculine physical qualities. Her voice may deepen and her clitoris will become enlarged. In some cases, she may experience premature balding patterns.

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References

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