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Ovarian overproduction of androgens is a condition in which the female ovaries make too much testosterone. This leads to the development of male characteristics in a woman. Other hormones, called androgens, from other parts of the body can also cause the development of male characteristics in women.
In healthy women, the ovaries and adrenal glands produce about 40 - 50% of the body's testosterone. Both tumors of the ovaries and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can cause excess androgen production.
Cushing's disease, an abnormality in the pituitary gland, causes excess amounts of corticosteroids, which cause masculine body changes in women. Also, tumors in the adrenal glands can cause overproduction of androgens and lead to male body characteristics in women.
Lobo RA. Hyperandrogenism: physiology, etiology, differential diagnosis, management. In: Katz V, Lobo RA, Lentz G, Gershenson D, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 40.
Bulun SE, Adashi EY. The physiology and pathology of the female reproductive axis. In: Kronenberg HM, Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008:chap 16.
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