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MP Teenager With ‘Werewolf Syndrome’ Opens Up: What Is It? Who Can Get It?

Werewolf Syndrome: Hypertrichosis is a rare condition that causes excessive hair growth on your face and body.

Updated
Fit
2 min read

"When I was a kid, people would say I'm an avatar of Hanuman, and worship me," 17-year-old Lalit Patidar, from Madhya Pradesh's Ratlam, recently opened up about living with hypertrichosis.

Lalit was diagnosed with the rare medical condition, commonly known as the werewolf syndrome, shortly after his birth.

"When I was younger, people around me would get scared of me when they looked at my face. They are now used to it," the teenager told FIT.

What exactly is 'werewolf syndrome'? Is it life-threatening? FIT answers your FAQs.

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Why is it called 'werewolf syndrome'?

Hypertrichosis, dubbed as 'werewolf syndrome' is a rare condition characterised by unusually excessive hair growth. It can affect certain parts of the body, or can be seen all over.

In most cases, the hair that grows is thicker and longer than regular body hair.

Who can get it?

This is an extremely rare condition, and there is no concrete information on what triggers it, or who is susceptible.

However, it is thought to be a genetic condition that presents at birth, according to a study published in the US National Institute of Health database.

The study points out that the condition can occur later in life, and can affect both men and women.

What causes the condition?

According to Healthline, hypertrichosis may be congenital or acquired.

Congenital hypertrichosis usually presents at birth or early childhood.

Acquired Hypertrichosis on the other hand, may be triggered later in life by:

  • Malnutrition

  • Eating disorders, poor diet

  • Cancer

  • Reaction to certain drugs like androgenic steroids, or some hair growth medication.

Is it a dangerous condition?

It's not a life-threatening condition, but it can be inconvenient, and often those diagnosed face stigma.

Apart from the stares, and unwanted attention from others, Lalit says, "It falls in my eyes. I have trouble while eating food as well."

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How can it be treated?

There is no treatment for this condition. Experts suggest, the best way to keep the hair growth in check is by opting for hair removal options like shaving and trimming.

Lalit says he was told by doctors that he could consider plastic surgery to try and remedy the condition. But, he would have to wait till he's 21 to do so.

I have excessive body hair, does this mean I have hypertrichosis?

Some people have more body hair than others and that is absolutely normal.

Some may also have thicker or longer facial and body hair than usual - this is a condition known as hirsutism.

It mainly affects people assigned females at birth, and is caused by underlying issues like PCOS that cause hormone imbalance.

Hypertrichosis specifically is a very rare disease marked by extremely thick hair that covers your face, or other parts of the body.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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