"Werewolf Syndrome"

What is it?

  • Hypertrichosis is excessive hair growth over and above the normal for the age, sex and race of an individual. It can develop all over the body or can be isolated to small patches.


  • There are three different hair types in the human body: lanugo hairs, vellus hairs, and terminal hairs. Some forms of hypertrichosis involves excessive growth of all three hair types while other other types of hypertrichosis is only in specific body hairs and regions.


  • Generalized Hypertrichosis- is passed on from parent to offspring. it affects the xq24-q27.1 chromosome and has a dominant pattern of inheritance. This means that a mother carrying the hypertrichosis gene has a 50% chance of passing it to her offspring. For male carriers, their daughters will be carriers but their sons will not be affected
  • Hypertrichosis Lanuginosa- is caused by an inverse mutation of the 8q chromosome. It has a dominant autosomal pattern of inheritance and it affects the skin
  • Generalized Hypertrichosis Terminalis- affects chromosome 17 when it produces of removes millions of neucleotides.

Medical Conditions

  • Cancer can at times produce rapid hair growth
  • Excessive amounts of testosterone entering the body


  • Minoxidil, a medication to prevent hair loss, can trigger the growth of body hair that leads to hypertrichosis


  • Excesive hair growth all over the body


  • hair removal treatments
  • waxing
  • plucking
  • threading
  • shaving
  • medications suppresses testosterone and increases the sex-hormone binding globulin
  • medications regulating a luteinizing hormone


  • Unfortunately, no cure
  • Medications described above and hair removal treatments can help prevent hair growth.

Impact on Lifestyle

  • Jean Pastrana: Jean was born with severe Congenial Terminal Hypertrichosis. Since she was a child she traveled in freak shows throughout the United States as the "bearded lady." She had long, dark, hairs growing evenly on the surface throughout her body.
  • even mild cases can lower a person's self esteem as they no longer feel physically attractive because they are different

My Patient

  • Kim is a 51 year old woman who has just started menopause. She recently noticed thickening hair on portions of her body that is not normally hair. She was also recently diagnosed with adrenal virilism.
  • Since Kim was diagnosed with adrenal virilism, her body is already producing unusually high amounts of adrogens (testosterone and similar hormones). When she went through menopause, her estrogen levels decreased quicker than her testosterone levels. Therefore, her female hormones were decreasing while her male hormones were increasing from the menopause and the adrenal virilism. This increase in testosterone led to rapid body and face hair growth, which ultimately lead to hypertrichosis.

Larry's Story

The Hairy Syndrome That Affects Only 50 People Worldwide


  • "Changes in Hormone Levels." , Sexual Side Effects of Menopause. The North American Menopause Society, 2016. Web. 07 Apr. 2016.
  • "Hypertrichosis." DermNet NZ. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2016.
  • Stevens, B. "Hypertrichosis & Hirsutism." The Trichological Society. N.p., 2011. Web. 07 Apr. 2016.
  • Taylor, Sarah K., MD. "Congenital Hypertrichosis Lanuginosa." : Background, Pathophysiology, Epidemiology. N.p., 2 May 2014. Web. 07 Apr. 2016.
  • Treub, Ramsy. "Causes and Management of Hypertrichosis." National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 5 Feb. 2012. Web. 07 Apr. 2016.