Virilization is a condition in which a female develops characteristics associated with male hormones (androgens), or when a newborn has characteristics of male hormone exposure at birth.
Virilization may be caused by:
In newborn boys or girls, the condition may be caused by:
In girls who are going through puberty, the condition may be caused by:
In adult women, the condition may be caused by:
Signs of virilization in a female often depend on the level of testosterone in the body.
Low level (common):
Moderate level (uncommon):
High level (rare):
Tests may include:
Treatment of virilization depends on the cause.
Gooren LJ. The endocrinology of sexual behavior and gender identity. In: Jameson JL, De Groot LJ, de Kretser DM, et al, eds. Endocrinology: Adult and Pediatric. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 124.
Styne DM, Grumbach MM. Physiology and disorders of puberty. In: Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, Kronenberg HM, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 25.
Review Date: 5/14/2017
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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