Hair loss due to PCOS is commonly found in women these days. The statistics are that Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) affects 5-10% of women of childbearing age, but the numbers should be much higher because the condition often goes unrecognized and undiagnosed. The current diets and lifestyles are making the condition more prevalent. Higher than normal blood sugar levels interfere with normal egg development each month.
Because of the hormone imbalances associated with PCOS (high insulin, high androgens, low progesterone, and imbalanced ratio of estrogen to progesterone), women can suffer from the following symptoms:
- High levels of male hormones, androgens
- An irregular or no menstrual cycle or scanty flow
- There may or may not be many small cysts in ovaries
- Infertility or inability to get pregnant or maintain a pregnancy
- Acne, oily skin or dandruff
- Pelvic pain
- Weight gain – only 60% of PCOS women struggle with their weight, 40% are thin
- Lack of ovulation
- Heavy painful periods
- Hair Loss
- Hirsuitism (unwanted hair on face and body)
Hair Loss usually develops gradually and may be patchy or diffuse (all over). In women, androgenic alopecia is probably the most common.
Loss of hair is more than a minor cosmetic problem. It has the potential to make you feel vulnerable (naked), and can cause unfavourable changes in how you feel about yourself.
Roughly 100 hair are lost from your head every day. The average scalp contains about 100,000 hairs. Hair grows from its follicle at an average rate of about 1/2 inch per month. Each hair grows for 2 to 6 years, then rests, and then falls out. A new hair soon begins growing in its place. At any one time, about 85% of the hair is growing and 15% is resting.
Loss of hair or baldness occurs when hair falls out but new hair does not grow in its place. PCOS hair loss can also present as androgenetic alopecia or female pattern thinning.
High levels of testosterone reduces the rejuvenation of the hair follicles in the scalp. Surprisingly, they activate the follicles where hair growth is not required like chin, cheeks, upper lips etc. which is known as hirsutism. A male pattern of baldness is observed in women with PCOS with hair loss on the top and middle. This brings in a strong connection between women and hair loss.
What causes polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)?
No one is quite sure what causes PCOS, and it is likely to be the result of a number of both genetic (inherited) as well as environmental factors. Women with PCOS often have a mother or sister with the condition, and researchers are examining the role that genetics or gene mutations might play in its development. The ovaries of women with PCOS frequently contain a number of small cysts, hence the name poly=many cystic ovarian syndrome. A similar number of cysts may occur in women without PCOS. Therefore, the cysts themselves do not seem to be the cause of the problem.
A malfunction of the body’s blood sugar control system (insulin system) is frequent in women with PCOS, who often have insulin resistance and elevated blood insulin levels, and researchers believe that these abnormalities may be related to the development of PCOS. It is also known that the ovaries of women with PCOS produce excess amounts of male hormones known as androgens. This excessive production of male hormones may be a result of or related to the abnormalities in insulin production.
Another hormonal abnormality in women with PCOS is excessive production of the hormone LH, which is involved in stimulating the ovaries to produce hormones and is released from the pituitary gland in the brain.
Many PCOS women also have thyroid problems, usually hypothyroidism (low thyroid function). Not only does hypothyroidism contribute to weight problems, it can also contribute to hair thinning. Some women with PCOS have both an excessively high level of testosterone and an underactive thyroid. It’s not uncommon to have multiple factors involved in female hair loss.
Hair loss due to PCOS can be controlled
With the right treatments, PCOS and its associated hair loss / hair growth can be controlled. This is because despite the fact that hair is thinning, the hair follicles themselves are still alive. This makes new hair growth, very possible.
Other possible contributing factors to female hair loss may include: Adrenal disorder, Allergies, Anemia, Autoimmune disease, birth control pills, certain medications, childbirth, drug toxicity, eating disorders, essential fatty acid deficiency, hair treatments, Hepatitis B immunisation, Hypothalamus disorder, infection, liver disorder, mineral deficiency, ovarian disorder, pituitary gland disorder, protein deficiency, sex steroid imbalance, stress, thyroid disorder and vitamin deficiency, all of which need to be considered or tested for and ruled out.
Myths about PCOS
I get a period regularly so I must be ovulating
Truth: Having regular periods does not mean that you are ovulating. It just means that estrogen production increases and decreases each month to signal development of the uterine lining and subsequent shedding. Regular ovulation is vital to healthy hormone balance regardless of parenthood plans.
The ultrasound showed no cysts on my ovaries so I can’t have PCOS
Truth: The name is misleading, people with polycystic ovarian syndrome, do not have to have cysts present on the ovaries. The body breaks down and resolves cysts regularly so cysts can come and go. The syndrome is diagnosed on the basis of the presence of a collection of symptoms that can include some (but not all) of the following: head hair loss, excess facial/body hair, weight gain, insulin resistance, poor glucose tolerance, irregular menstrual cycles, anovulation, infertility, acne and oily skin.
The blood tests were fine so there’s nothing wrong hormonally
Truth: Hormone blood tests are notoriously poor predictors of health or disease. The reference ranges are incredibly broad and are set based on averages of [often] unhealthy people. Reference ranges for hormones should be set by health screening the people being used to set the range for any reproductive disorders such as fibroids, breast cancer, endometriosis, PCOS, irregular menses, heavy menses, painful periods, infertility, anovulation etc. Select only those who have perfectly regular periods, who ovulate every month at midcycle, have no evidence of fibroids or endometriosis, no history of reproductive organ problems etc, then use those people to set a healthy range.
Treatment of hair loss due to PCOS
Treatment varies from one person to another. It is important to know what works well with a specific person. To achieve successful PCOS hair loss treatment for women, it is essential that all underlying cause of this disorder be corrected. Obesity for example should be managed by proper nutrition and dietary restriction like cutting down on carbohydrate intake. Proper exercise is very essential too. Checking for the sugar elevation and taking medicines for this like Metformin is equally as important as all the treatments.
In some cases women with hair loss may opt for hair transplant. But this could be the last resort. Herbal hormone balancing supplements and topical Anti DHT and blood circulation enhancing applications play a vital role in reducing hair loss and regrowing hair from the dormant hair follicles. Eradication of all the toxic elements in our system proves to be a helpful factor in promoting good health. Mesotherapy specific to PCOS related hair loss can give very encouraging results.
Hair loss can cause a drop down in the quality of life of a woman. It is truly essential for every woman to be able to accept that this is not permanent and can be managed.
If you feel you could be having hair loss due to PCOS, contact us on 91-9322681717 for a detailed evaluation of your hair loss or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org