PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome, is a common hormone problem that can cause a variety of symptoms. One of these symptoms is hirsutism, which is excess hair. Some people with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have hair thinning and loss, which is known as female pattern hair loss. This is in contrast to the fact that many people with PCOS exhibit fuller facial and body hair. Understanding why hair loss occurs and what can be done about it can be useful. Whether it manifests itself as a receding hairline or an increase in the number of stray hairs that appear in the shower.
Does PCOS cause hair loss?
Yes, one of the reported symptoms of PCOS is hair loss. This is mainly because PCOS patients frequently have excessive levels of androgenic hormones. Which can cause acne, hair loss, thinning hair, and limp, lifeless hair that is easily breakable, dry, and damaged. Treatment for this hair loss, which is known medically as female pattern baldness, can be challenging. Additional causes that may contribute to hair loss as a result of PCOS include:
- Being exposed to very high temperatures
- Chronic illnesses and infections
- Utilizing specific drugs
- Anemia (iron deficiency)
- A deficiency in vitamins and trace minerals
Why does PCOS cause hair loss?
The female body is responsible for the production of male hormones, which are also known as androgens. This pertains to testosterone as well. Androgens are hormones that play a role in the onset of puberty as well as the stimulation of hair growth in the public and armpit regions. They serve a variety of other essential purposes as well. PCOS leads to an increase in the production of androgens, which ultimately results in virilization.
This refers to the development of more male traits, including the growth of excessive hair in areas where it doesn’t normally grow, such as on the face, neck, chest, and abdomen. These additional androgens can also lead to a thinning of the hair on your head. Particularly in the area of your scalp that is closest to the front of your head. Androgenic alopecia, often known as female pattern hair loss, is the medical term for this condition.
Symptoms of PCOS-related hair loss
PCOS can cause a person to lose more hair on a daily basis, which can lead to hair loss. It is not uncommon for there to be more hair on clothes or furniture than usual. And it is also normal for there to be hair that has collected on the pillowcase overnight. In the shower, you might also notice that clumps of hair are falling out. PCOS can cause a type of hair loss known as loss at the root. In which the entire hair, including the follicle, falls out.
However, PCOS can also cause hair loss known as breakage. Which occurs because the hair is drier and more susceptible to damage from heat and brushing. This means that the scalp may be more visible, particularly at the crown and hairline, or there may be more frizz, which is the result of hair breaking.
Build-up and dandruff have been reported by a few individuals who have PCOS. It’s possible that your hair will appear thinner than usual and will be more difficult to style. Requiring a substantial amount of styling product to provide volume and thickness.
Is PCOS hair loss reversible?
The loss of hair that is associated with PCOS can be cured, but only if the underlying cause—typically a hormonal imbalance—is addressed. In the event that polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the issue. A health care professional will be able to make recommendations based on clinical symptoms, ultrasound findings, and blood testing. In order to avoid severe hair loss, comprehensive treatment is required for patients with PCOS. The treatment will assist in:
- Maintain a healthy level of hormones. (consult a gynaecologist and endocrinologist, and take prescribed oral contraceptives or other medications that regulate the production of hormones)
- Invigorate the hair follicles (consult a trichologist)
- It is possible that the treatment will also involve adopting a healthy lifestyle. Which includes engaging in regular exercise, consuming a diet low in carbohydrates, and engaging in activities to control stress.
What medical treatments can help?
Since PCOS hair loss is brought on by a hormonal imbalance, hormone control is an essential component of treatment for the condition. A wide range of drugs are able to accomplish this goal. Keep in mind that it is possible that you will need to test out several different medications before you find one that works for you. In addition, the majority of people find that taking many medications at once yields the best outcomes. The following is an overview of several typical treatment options for hair loss caused by PCOS.
The only medicine currently approved by the FDA to treat female pattern baldness is called minoxidil. It is a therapy that you put on your scalp every day, and it is a topical treatment. It encourages the growth of hair and even has the potential to make it appear thicker.
Oral contraceptive pills
The use of birth control tablets can result in decreased levels of androgen, which can assist to reduce unwanted hair growth and slow down hair loss. Additionally, it alleviates other PCOS symptoms, including acne and sporadic periods. When PCOS is the underlying cause of hair loss, oral contraceptives and anti-androgen medications are a common treatment combination.
Finasteride (Propecia) and dutasteride (Avodart)
The FDA has approved finasteride and dutasteride for the treatment of male pattern hair loss. Some doctors continue to prescribe them to PCOS patients even though they have not been authorised for female pattern hair loss. While there is some evidence that these medications can aid with female pattern hair loss, many experts do not think they are a suitable choice due to inconsistent findings in other research and known negative effects in women.
An aldosterone receptor antagonist, which is what spirolactone is, can be taken orally as the drug spirolactone. The United States has given its approval. As a diuretic, it’s been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat fluid retention. However, it is also useful in treating androgenetic alopecia (commonly known as male pattern baldness). This is what is referred to as a “off-label use” of the product. It is typically administered in conjunction with an oral contraceptive in order to inhibit the androgenic effects that androgen has on the skin.
A hair transplant is a surgical operation that involves the implantation of hair follicles onto the scalp. Hair and hair follicles are extracted from an area of the scalp that has an abundant supply of hair and then transplanted into an area of the scalp that is balding or experiencing hair loss. In most cases, one must go through a few steps. The price of a hair transplant might go as high as $7,500-$15,000. Since it is considered a cosmetic operation, insurance companies do not cover the cost of having it done. There is also no assurance that it will be successful.
Home Remedies for Treating PCOS
Home treatments are also available for PCOS hair loss. Some of these includes:
- For damaged and color-treated hair, moisturising shampoos and conditioners can help maintain hair health. Shampoos made for thinning hair may promote new hair growth and protect existing hair.
- Other DIY solutions include using natural bristle brushes, which are kinder and gentler on hair than conventional synthetic brushes, and picking the hair first to prevent over-brushing and breaking.
- Avoid tight hairstyles that might put additional stress on the hair, such as high ponytails or buns.
- A lot of people find that incorporating supplements like biotin and keratin into their vitamin routine also yields positive benefits, although it’s always a good idea to see a doctor before taking any supplements or making changes to the PCOS treatment programme.
When to see a specialist
If you find that your hair loss is having a negative impact on your everyday activities, interests, or relationships, it may be a good idea to speak with a health care practitioner about your options. Some people may not consider hair loss to be a significant medical concern. Getting your hormone levels checked should be the first thing you do if you’re concerned that polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) could be the root cause of your hair loss problem.
In the event that a hormonal imbalance is present, a health care practitioner will be able to discuss the many methods available for managing PCOS and make suggestions for potential therapies for hair loss. Talking to a health care practitioner about hair loss caused by PCOS will help clarify how PCOS plays a part in the condition as well as the potential treatment options that are available to those who are experiencing it.