- Posted on- Oct 23, 2015
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Virilization is a condition that causes a female to develop male-pattern hair growth and other masculine traits. Women with virilization often have an imbalance in the sex hormones oestrogen and testosterone.
Virilization is caused by an overproduction of testosterone or use of anabolic steroids, synthetic substances that act like the male hormone testosterone.
What are the causes of Virilization?
Any underlying medical condition that causes an imbalance in sex hormone levels can result in virilization. These conditions are likely to cause adrenal hyperplasia, an overproduction of hormones in the adrenal cortex. In some cases, the overproduction of adrenal hormones is caused by an adenoma (cancerous tumour). This type of tumour is normally located within the adrenal glands.
Other causes of virilization include:
- Use of male hormone supplements
- Use of steroids to increase muscle mass
- Development of ovarian cysts (normally seen in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome)
Cases of virilization caused by PCOS
are usually placid. Doctors don’t know exactly what causes PCOS. However, they believe that high insulin levels and genetics play a role. Women with PCOS often have masculine characteristics, including male pattern baldness and facial hair.