PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) is a disorder that affects reproductive organs and carries a variety of symptoms, including hair loss. While it is also characterized by excess face and body hair, some women can experience hair thinning and hair loss. We’re going to cover all the important information on why hair loss happens and how you can treat it while battling with PCOS.
Why does PCOS cause hair loss?
One of the most important characteristics of PCOS is the excess of male hormones (androgens) in the body. In women, these hormones don’t only wreak havoc on the reproductive system but can cause various visible symptoms. When their levels are high, they can interfere with the normal life cycle of hair follicles, making them weaker and resulting in hair thinning or hair loss. This is known as androgenic alopecia or female pattern hair loss.
Can I reverse my PCOS hair loss?
Any hair loss that comes as a result of PCOS will not regrow on its own. The most significant difference between male and female pattern baldness is that in women, the hair follicles remain intact, while in men, their life cycle ends. This suggests that the PCOS hair growth procedure has a good chance of working. With therapy, you might be able to stimulate new hair development.
PCOS hair loss medical treatments
As hair loss in PCOS is caused by a hormonal imbalance, medical treatments have the goal of restoring the normal hormonal levels or topical treatment of hair follicles.
Oral contraceptives work by lowering androgen levels to help to minimize premature hair cycles and slow down hair loss. It also aids in the treatment of other PCOS symptoms including irregular cycles and acne. For PCOS-related hair loss, an anti-androgen drug is often used in conjunction with oral contraceptives.
Most oral contraceptive pills include a combination of female hormones such as progesterone and estrogen. By supplementing the female hormones, they level the hormonal balance and reduce the symptoms of PCOS such as hair loss, excessive facial hair, or hair thinning.
Make sure to consult with your doctor if you experience hair loss or any other symptom of PCOS.
While oral contraceptives are the most common remedy for PCOS hair loss, your doctor may prescribe topical ointments such as Minoxidil that targets female hair loss. These products work as vasodilators, opening up the blood vessels in your scalp. Although the exact mechanism of action for minoxidil (the active ingredient) is unknown, it is thought to function by partially enlarging hair follicles and lengthening the hair growth process. As every hair goes through the same phases in its life cycle, you’ll notice more hair coverage on your scalp if you have more follicles that are in the growth phase.
Make sure to consult with your doctor before using any topical treatments and discuss the possible side effects.
Hair transplant is a common treatment for every type of hair loss but is also the least budget-friendly one. During this procedure, hair follicles are grafted from one part of your scalp and implanted into the affected area. While the results vary from person to person, it can significantly improve the appearance of your hair.
Always consult with your doctor before deciding on this procedure.
Home remedies for PCOS hair loss
Zinc is an essential micronutrient crucial for every aspect of your health. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study concluded that taking 50 mg of zinc daily for 8 weeks had beneficial effects on hair loss.
Biotin is a common supplement that is often recommended for nail and hair growth. It is a water-soluble B vitamin that works by converting glucose from carbohydrates into energy and amino acids for your body. Marine protein supplements containing biotin have shown great results for hair growth and decrease in thinning.
Eating a healthy diet is a crucial step in keeping your PCOS in check. Look for nutrient-rich foods and healthy fats that provide your body with vitamins and minerals. If you’re on the path to losing weight, choose healthy snacks and opt for infused water instead of juices.
If you’re using harsh drugstore shampoos, they may be one of the reasons your PCOS hair loss is more pronounced. Choose gentle, natural shampoos specifically formulated for thinning hair and sensitive scalp, or try experimenting with rice water for hair to see the benefits!
Hair loss is one of the most common PCOS symptoms. It’s a result of high levels of male hormones (androgens) and can manifest as the thinning or loss of hair. It can be treated by medication as well as with home remedies. Some of the most common medical treatments include oral contraceptives and topical treatments, while home remedies focus on supplementation and a healthy diet. The first step in treating PCOS hair loss is consulting with your doctor to receive appropriate treatment.