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What are Androgens?

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Updated June 10, 2012

Question: What are Androgens?
Answer:

While this group of hormones is primarily thought of as male hormones, small amounts are normally secreted by the ovaries and adrenal glands in women. While some androgens are converted into estrogen in the body tissues, some androgens are necessary for bone and hair growth. They also play a role in libido and activate oil glands.

In women with PCOS, androgens are typically elevated, increasing oil secretion and hair growth. This contributes to many of the symptoms that women experience, like acne, increased hair growth and male pattern hair loss. The imbalance of hormones frequently affects the menstrual cycle by preventing ovulation and making cycles irregular.

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