Based on the results of the laboratory screening of 35 hirsute patients, a strategic approach of hyperandrogenism is proposed. The determination of plasma concentration of total testosterone (T), androstenedione (A) and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) appeared to be the basic investigation before to further explore the adrenal (ACTH test) and/or ovarian (gonadotropin measurements) androgen secretion. Together with the clinical findings, plasma T, A and DHEAS levels generally bring evidence of androgen-secreting tumors or polycystic ovaries, or suggest the possibility of adrenal hyperplasia. In the other cases, only the determination of plasma unbound T level is useful for demonstrating the hyperandrogenism. Finally in patients with ‘so-called’ idiopathic hirsutism, while evidence of excessive androgen production can be obtained by the laboratory screening, the origin of this hyperandrogenism remains uncertain in most cases.

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