Hirsutism classification

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: ; Ogheneochuko Ajari, MB.BS, MS [2] Rasam Hajiannasab M.D.[3]


There is no established system for the classification of hirsutism. However, Ferriman Gallwey scoring system is used to assess the severity of hirsutism based on the degree of excess male pattern body hair. In this method, different body areas are determined to assess hair growth.


The Ferriman–Gallwey score

The Ferriman–Gallwey score is a method of evaluating and quantifying hirsutism in women. The method was originally published in 1961 by D. Ferriman and J.D. Gallwey in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology.[1] The original method used 11 body areas to assess hair growth, but was decreased to 9 body areas in the modified method:[1]

  • Upper lip
  • Chin
  • Chest
  • Upper back
  • Lower back
  • Upper abdomen
  • Lower abdomen
  • Upper arms
  • Forearms (deleted in the modified method)
  • Thighs
  • Legs (deleted in the modified method)

Modified Ferriman–Gallwey score

In the modified method, hair growth is graded/staged from 0 (no growth of terminal hair) to 4 (extensive hair growth) in each of the nine locations.

  • Scores may vary from a minimum score of 0 to a maximum score of 36.
  • In Caucasian women, a score of 8 or higher is considered to be due to androgen excess.
  • The pattern and extension of hair growth on the body varies according to the ethnicity of the patient.

Further modifications

There were further modifications in 2001 to include a total of 19 locations.

  • The added additional areas included in these modifications include:[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 FERRIMAN D, GALLWEY JD (1961). "Clinical assessment of body hair growth in women". J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 21: 1440–7. doi:10.1210/jcem-21-11-1440. PMID 13892577.
  2. Goodman N, Bledsoe M, Cobin R, Futterweit W, Goldzieher J, Petak S, Smith K, Steinberger E: "American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists Hyperandrogenism Guidelines". Endocrine Practice 2001; 7(2):120–134

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