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S D Med. 2011 May;64(5):161-3, 165.

An uncommon etiology for a common problem: hirsutism.

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  • 1Sanford School of Medicine, The University of South Dakota, USA.


Hirsutism is a common problem affecting women that is usually the result of a benign etiology. However, sudden onset or rapidly progressive hirsutism, especially when accompanied by virilizing signs, is suspicious for androgen-producing neoplasms of the ovaries or adrenals. A 28-year-old female presented with the rapid onset of hirsutism and virilizing signs, accompanied by a markedly elevated serum testosterone. Initial imaging studies demonstrated normal adrenal glands and ovaries. She was later discovered to have a rare steroid-secreting ovarian tumor. This case emphasizes the importance of a high level of suspicion for an androgen-producing neoplasm in the patient with sudden onset or rapid progression of virilizing signs and symptoms.

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