Saturday, September 13

What is hypertrichosis - Hypertrichosis definition

What is hypertrichosis - Definition of hypertrichosis.

What is hypertrichosis?

Hypertrichosis is defined as excessive growth of hair. Hypertrichosis disorders may be present at birth, or may be acquired later in life.
The excessive hair disorders present at birth include congenital syndromes, autosomal mutations and hereditary diseases. The mutation may be spontaneous genetic mutation in autosomal chromosomes or in x-y chromosomes. These excessive hair disorders may also be acquired later in life, triggered by cancers, hormonal anomalies and certain therapeutic drugs. The excess hair growth may be generalized, affecting the whole of the body or localized to form well defined patches.

Extensive excess growth of hair is also known as Ambras syndrome or werewolf syndrome. These disorders affect both the genders equally. Hypertrichosis is basically different from hirsutism in that it is androgen-independent. Hirsutism is the excessive male-pattern hair growth in women. Hirsutism is an androgen-dependent condition. The excessive growth may be of , or , depending upon the type of syndrome. Generally the palms of the hands, soles of the feet and mucosal surfaces are not affected.

Web definition of hypertrichosis

Definition by merriam-webster.com: "excessive growth of hair."
Definition by reference.md: "Excessive hair growth at inappropriate locations, such as on the extremities, the head, and the back. It is caused by genetic or acquired factors, and is an androgen-independent process."
Definition by thefreedictionary.com: "An extremely rare (less 100 cases reported worldwide) excess of hair on the body, which can be generalised or localised, congenital or acquired."

What are the types of hypertrichosis

Considering the time of appearance, excessive hair growth can be categorized into congenital (present at birth) or acquired (acquired later in life) types. Further these disorders, depending upon the extent, may categorized as generalized or localized types.

(CH)
Considering the type of hair (vellus, lanugo or terminal) and extent of excess hair, CH can again be categorized into subtypes.
CH lanuginosa patient has generalized cover of lanugo hair over the body. It is considered to be an autosomal dominant mutation on chromosome 8q.

Generalized CH is noticed in men as excessive hair on the face and upper body, whereas women have less severe asymmetrical hair distribution. It is considered to be an autosomal dominant mutation on chromosome x24-q27.1.

Terminal CH is characterized by whole body being covered by terminal hair. It is considered to be due to a mutation in MAP2K6 on chromosome 17. Further, circumscribed, localized and nevoid forms of CH have been reported.

Acquired hypertrichosis (AH)
AH is associated with side effects of medication, presence of cancers and alopecia and glaucoma treatment. AH lanuginosa is characterized by growth of lanugo hair, especially on the face. In some cases it is associated with malignancy. Generalized AH is usually associated with minoxidil treatments. Patterned AH shows hair growth in a pattern formation and is associated with malignancy. Localized AH may appear as well defined excess hair when there is irritation or trauma to the skin.

What are the causes of hypertrichosis

Acquired hypertrichosis is caused by the presence of cancer, alopecia medication, hypertension medication, metabolic disorders or hormone imbalances.
Topical applications like iodine, psoralens, topical minoxidil or topical steroids may also cause acquired hypertrichosis. Congenital hypertrichosis is caused by inherited genetic abnormalities or spontaneous genetic mutations in autosomal or x-y chromosomes.

What are the options

There is no treatment for congenital forms of hypertrichosis. Acquired forms resolve when the causative factors are removed or discontinued. Hair removal methods like shaving, waxing, laser hair removal and electrolysis are the treatment options available for congenital hypertrichosis.
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Reference:
1.Trüeb RM. Causes and management of hypertrichosis. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2002;3(9):617-27.
2.Trüeb RM. Hypertrichosis. Hautarzt. 2008 Apr;59(4):325-37; quiz 338.
3.Goel N, Rajaram S, Gupta B, Gupta K. Familial congenital generalized hypertrichosis. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2013;79:849.

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