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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Waardenburg syndrome

Other Names for this Disease
  • Mende Syndrome
  • Van der Hoeve Halbertsma Waardenburg Gualdi Syndrome
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Your Question

My teenage daughter has Waardenburg syndrome. Recently she has developed body hair on her chest and upper lip. Her eyebrows are also growing together. Is this due to Waardenburg syndrome?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

Is Waardenburg syndrome associated with eyebrows that grow together?

Yes. It is not uncommon for people with Waardenburg syndrome to have thick eyebrows that grow together. The medical terms for this is "synophrys" or "hypertrichosis of the medial part of the eyebrow." A review by Tamayo ML et al., 2008 found synophrys in 12.6% of the 95 people with Waardenburg syndrome in their study.[1]
Last updated: 9/5/2012

Is Waardenburg syndrome associated with excessive hair growth in women?

The medical term for excess body hair in women is "hirsutism." Hirsutism is characterized by dark and thick hair that grows in places where only men tend to grow dark hair, such as the upper lip, chin, sideburn area, chest, back, and belly. Hirsutism is common and affects as many as 1 in 10 women of reproductive age.[2]

We were not able to find case reports describing hirsutism in women with Waardenburg syndrome, however signs and symptoms of Waardenburg syndrome can vary greatly. We recommend that you discuss this question further with your daughter's physician.

In the meantime, you can read more about hirsutism at the following link to the UpToDate article on this topic:

Last updated: 9/5/2012

  • Tamayo ML, Gelvez N, Rodriguez M, Florez S, Varon C, Medina D, Bernal JE. Screening program for Waardenburg syndrome in Colombia: clinical definition and phenotypic variability. Am J Med Genet A. 2008 Apr 15; 146A(8):1026-31; Accessed 9/5/2012.
  • Barbieri RL et al.,. Evaluation of women with hirsutism. In: Basow, DS . UpToDate. Waltham, MA: UpToDate; 2012;