What is virilization?
"Virile" means "manly" or like a man. Virilization is when women or children get manly features like extra facial hair, balding, acne, and a deeper voice.
Virilization is caused by high levels of male hormones
Abnormally large adrenal glands Overview of the Adrenal Glands Glands make and release hormones. Hormones are chemicals that stimulate other cells or tissues into action. Because hormones are in your blood, they travel throughout your body. They can affect... read more or a tumor in your adrenal glands usually causes virilization
Doctors treat virilization using surgery to remove any tumor and medicine to lower hormone levels
What causes virilization?
Women and girls normally have small amounts of male hormones. These male hormones are made in the adrenal glands. Adrenal glands are located on top of each kidney.
Adrenal gland problems that can cause virilization include:
Abnormally large adrenal glands
A cancerous or noncancerous tumor in your adrenal glands
A problem with your adrenal glands that you’re born with
Virilization can also be caused when women take steroids to build muscle.
What are the symptoms of virilization?
People with virilization have physical changes including:
Extra hair on your face and body
Deepening of the voice
Increased sex drive
In women, physical changes include:
Breasts get smaller
In children with virilization, growth may happen faster and end sooner than normal. Virilization before puberty may result in being short as an adult. Girl babies may have enlarged genitals. Young boys may sexually mature too early.
How do doctors tell if I have virilization?
Doctors will do:
CT scan Computed Tomography A CT scan uses a large machine shaped like a large donut to take x-rays from many angles. A computer then takes the x-rays and creates many detailed pictures of the inside of your body. Each... read more or MRI Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) MRI is a test that uses a machine with a powerful magnet to make pictures of the inside of your body. A computer records changes in the magnetic field around your body. The computer then uses... read more
How do doctors treat virilization?
Do surgery to remove any tumors
If your adrenal glands are just overactive, taking corticosteroids sometimes lowers the amount of male hormones your adrenal glands make.