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Did You Know that PCOS can cause Hair Loss?

pcos hairloss

Hair treatments are painstakingly slow. It’s too time-consuming when it comes to treatments if you really like an effective method to be done. Hair loss treatments cost time, dedication, and money. But, all of that, you will endure, once you see clumps of hair strands on your palms every time you comb.

When in the process of hair treatment, choosing all the right hair products are also important for healthy hair growth. You can find a number of hair care procedures on the internet about hair loss treatments.

Hair loss isn’t only caused by male-pattern baldness. It can also be caused by a lack of nutrients. When you don’t have iron deficiency, your body can’t produce the hemoglobin in your blood. Hemoglobin carries oxygen for the growth and repair of cells in your body, including the cells that stimulate hair growth.

When it comes to hormonal hair loss such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). This is a much bigger issue with women than men, particularly if it concern female pattern hair loss. Hair loss due to hormonal changes and imbalances is temporary, though it’s difficult to predict when the hair will start growing back.

What is PCOS Hair Loss?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormone disorder that can cause a range of symptoms, including hirsutism, which is excess facial and body hair.

PCOS hair loss occurs due to an increase in the male hormone (known as androgen) in the body. This excess of sex hormones androgens triggers hair thinning on the scalp, which is referred to as female pattern hair loss. However, there is not complete baldness as seen in men. Male pattern hair loss is characterized by a loss of hair density at the frontal and vertex regions of the scalp.

Sex hormone-binding globulin is a protein made by your liver. It binds tightly to three sex hormones found in both men and women. These hormones are estrogen, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and testosterone.

Hormone production of androgens are synthesized from cholesterol and are produced primarily in the gonads (testicles and ovaries) and also in the adrenal glands. The testicles produce a much higher quantity than the ovaries.

The way it goes, that your ovaries are not responding as they should to hormonal cues from your Pituitary Gland.  This means that your ovarian follicles fail to rupture and release an egg – as they should – instead of growing and becoming a cyst, continue to release hormones- mostly estrogen and testosterone.

Androgenic Alopecia in Women Who Have PCOS

Thinning hair due to the effects of male hormones (androgens) is called androgenic alopecia. It causes a major source of psychological distress to women’s mental health. This male-pattern hair loss is often seen in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), congenital adrenal hyperplasia, and other disorders of male hormone excess.

The genetic condition you inherited from either parent, in which makes your hair follicles are sensitive to androgens. PCOS inhibits the interaction of this kind of hormone called DHT and the receptors of hair follicles which in the scalp causes a reduction in the intensity of shedding hair.

These hormones Androgens are actually naturally produced within the ovaries, the adrenal glands, and the fat cells of a women’s body. They play a key role in puberty by stimulating pubic and underarm hair growth; they control the degree and frequency of blood loss during menstruation and they become converted into estrogen.

Androgen levels in women are much lower than in men so when the ovaries turn into cysts and then produce too much (known as hyperandrogenism) they can block the hair follicles thus causing what is called Androgenic alopecia or AGA.

Androgenic alopecia is common in women overall.  A reasonable estimate is 20% of women prior to menopause and up to 40% after that. Alopecia is not always caused by PCOS. Anti-androgens work by blocking the effects of androgen production, such as testosterone. They do this by binding to proteins called androgen receptors.

Symptoms of PCOS Hair Loss

The symptoms of PCOS may include:

  • Missed periods, irregular periods, or very light periods
  • Ovaries that are large or have many cysts
  • Excess body hair, including the chest, face, stomach, and back (hirsutism)
  • Weight gain, especially around the belly (abdomen)
  • Acne or oily skin
  • Male-pattern baldness or thinning hair
  • Infertility 
  • Small pieces of excess skin on the neck or armpits (skin tags)
  • Dark or thick skin patches on the back of the neck, in the armpits, and under the breasts

PCOS Diet

High-fiber foods can help combat insulin resistance by slowing down digestion and reducing the impact of sugar on the blood and lean protein sources like tofu, chicken, and fish don’t provide fiber but are very filling and a healthy dietary option for women with PCOS.

Great options for high-fiber foods PCOS hair loss that includes:

  • cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts
  • greens, including red leaf lettuce and arugula
  • green and red peppers
  • beans and lentils
  • almonds
  • berries
  • sweet potatoes
  • winter squash
  • pumpkin

PCOS Medical Treatments for Hair Loss

Hormone regulation is an important part of treatment. This can be done with a variety of medications. Here’s a look at some common treatment options for PCOS-related hair loss.

Keep in mind that you may need to try a few medications before you find one that works for you. And most people have the best results with a combination of medication. That is why product development has been a part of developing efforts to provide this kind of medication.

Speak to your doctor to understand your PCOS treatment plan. Always face or seek a doctor if there is something you feel unusual.

Oral contraceptive pills

Birth control pills can lower androgen levels, which may help to reduce excess hair growth and slow down hair loss. It also helps with other PCOS hair loss symptoms, such as irregular periods and acne. An anti-androgen drug is often prescribed in combination with oral contraceptives for PCOS-related hair loss.

Spironolactone (Aldactone)

Spironolactone is an oral medication that’s known as an aldosterone receptor antagonist. It’s approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a diuretic to treat fluid retention. However, it’s also effective for treating androgenetic alopecia. This is what’s known as off-label use. It blocks the effects of androgen on the scalp and is usually prescribed together with an oral contraceptive.

Spironolactone may have side effects including irregular menstrual cycles, dizziness, drowsiness, itching, or bleeding after menopause.

Minoxidil (Rogaine)

Minoxidil is the only FDA-approved drug for treating female pattern baldness. It’s a topical treatment that you apply to your scalp daily. It promotes hair growth on the scalp and can even give it a thicker appearance.

Finasteride (Propecia) and dutasteride (Avodart)

Both finasteride and dutasteride are approved by the FDA for treating male pattern hair loss. While they haven’t been approved for female pattern hair loss, some doctors still prescribe them to those with PCOS. There is little evidence that this helps the condition.

While there’s some evidence that these drugs can help with female pattern hair loss, many experts don’t consider them a good option based on mixed results in other studies and known side effects in women.

Metformin

Metformin improves menstrual cycle regularity and lowers body mass index (BMI), testosterone, and luteinizing hormone (LH) within 6 months of treatment in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) who are normal weight or overweight, new results show.

Cyproterone Acetate

Cyproterone acetate exerts its effects by blocking the binding of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) to its receptors. Recent studies performed by Sinclair show that 200 mg/day spironolactone has an effect equal to 100 mg/day cyproterone acetate, determining in 44% of the cases reduced hair loss and hair regrowth. In 12% of the cases it stops the disease progression.

Hair transplant

A hair transplant is a surgical procedure used to implant hair on the scalp. Hair and hair follicles are removed from one area with a lot of hair and transplanted into the area of thinning or baldness. It usually requires a few procedures. A scalp hair transplant can cost up to $15,000. It isn’t covered by insurance providers because it’s considered a cosmetic procedure. There’s also no guarantee that it’ll work.

PCOS Hair Loss Home Remedies

Lifestyle changes as an alternative can be a good remedy to consider.

But if you’re looking to go the more natural route, there are some home remedies that may help to reduce androgen levels, lessening their effect on your hair.

Zinc

Taking a zinc supplement may help with PCOS-related hair loss, according to a 2016 study. The study looked at the effects of zinc supplementation on PCOS and found that using 50 mg of elemental zinc daily for 8 weeks had beneficial effects on hair loss. It was also found to help hirsutism.

Weight loss

There’s significant evidence that losing weight can lower hormone levels and reduce the effects of excess androgens in women with PCOS. This can lead to less hair loss, as well as a reduction in other PCOS symptoms. Losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can significantly reduce PCOS symptoms like weight gain.

Biotin

Biotin is a popular supplement that’s often used for hair health and growth. There’s not much evidence that it helps specifically with PCOS-related hair loss, but it may be worth a try.

A 2015 study found that taking a marine protein supplement containing biotin for 90 days resulted in significant hair growth.

Ayurvedic Ways

The secrets of Ayurveda bring forth all kinds of various ingredients which include aloe vera, cinnamon, fenugreek seeds, Amalaki, Shatavari, and various kinds of herbal shampoos and essential oils for treating the patient’s scalp who have been suffering from PCOS.

Shathayu Ayurveda has an excellent PCOS hair treatment plan from 30 to 90 days which includes Panchakarma procedures along with therapies that bring in a sustainable effect thereby reversing the ill effects of PCOS and helps in weight loss.

Medically reviewed by Ayurvedic doctors, the articles consist of references to reputed Ayurvedic books and scientific research papers.

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