Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.


Darkened Skin Overview

What is the medical significance of darkened skin?
Normally, skin shade does not change unless it is exposed to the sun or ultraviolet radiation. Rarely, a hormone imbalance may cause darkened skin. Conditions such as polycystic ovary disease and Addison's disease can cause an imbalance that may lead to progressive darkening of the skin.

What symptoms can be associated with darkened skin?
Common symptoms of Addison's disease include diarrhea, confusion, loss of appetite, dizziness, and weakness or fatigue. Additional symptoms of Addison's disease include headache, tremor, and seizures. Symptoms of polycystic ovary disease include irregular menstrual periods, absent menstrual periods acne, deepening of the voice, enlargement of the clitoris, excessive body hair, obesity, high blood sugar, and darkening of the skin on the neck and beneath the breasts.

How does the doctor treat darkened skin?
Treatment for darkened skin depends on the underlying cause. Treatment of polycystic ovary disease may include regular exercise, weight loss for obesity, and hormone therapy. Treatment of Addison's disease includes fluid replacement and hormone therapy.

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