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.
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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 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 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.
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.
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.