Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Related Hair Loss
Polycystic ovary syndrome(PCOS) is a set of symptoms due to elevated androgens (male hormones) in females. Signs and symptoms of PCOSinclude irregular or no menstrual periods, heavy periods, excess body and facial hair, acne, pelvic pain, difficulty getting pregnant, and patches of thick, darker, velvety skin.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition that affects how a woman’s ovaries work.
The three main features of PCOS are:
Irregular periods – which means your ovaries don’t regularly release eggs (ovulation)
Excess androgen– high levels of “male hormones” in your body, which may cause physical signs such as excess facial or body hair (see signs and symptoms below)
Polycystic ovaries– your ovaries become enlarged and contain many fluid-filled sacs (follicles) which surround the eggs (it’s important to note that, despite the name, if you have PCOS you don’t actually have cysts)
Celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels has been outspoken about coping with both PCOS and endometriosis, and how struggles with infertility led her to adoption.
She keeps the condition under control with exercise, nutrition, and focusing on her well-being above all else.
Daisy Ridley another celebrity who experienced the effects of PCOS. The Star Wars actress took to Instagram about her rollercoaster with treating the acne that has been a symptom of her PCOS. She spoke openly about the necessity and importance of keeping track of your health and taking care of your body no matter what:
“From your head to the tips of your toes, we only have one body, let us all make sure ours are working in tip-top condition, and take help if it’s needed”.
Polycystic ovaries contain a large number of harmless follicles that are up to 8mm (approximately 0.3in) in size. The follicles are under-developed sacs in which eggs develop. In PCOS, these sacs are often unable to release an egg, which means that ovulation doesn’t take place.
It’s difficult to know exactly how many women have PCOS, but it’s thought to be very common affecting about one in every five women in the UK. More than half of these women don’t have any symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms
If you do have signs and symptoms of PCOS, they’ll usually become apparent during your late teens or early twenties. They can include:
- Irregular periods or no periods at all
- Difficulty getting pregnant as a result of irregular ovulation or failure to ovulate
- Excessive hair growth (hirsutism) – usually on the face, chest, back or buttocks
- Weight gain
- Thinning hair and hair loss from the head
- Oily skin or acne
What causes PCOS?
The exact cause of PCOS is unknown, but it often runs in families. It’s related to abnormal hormone levels in the body, including high levels of insulin.
Insulin is a hormone that controls sugar levels in the body. Many women with PCOS are resistant to the action of insulin in their body and produce higher levels of insulin to overcome this.
This contributes to the increased production and activity of hormones such as testosterone. Being overweight or obesealso increases the amount of insulin your body produces.
Treatment for PCOS can be complicated, depending on symptoms other than thinning hair. However, if hair loss is the only or predominant symptom, it’s relatively straightforward.
Eat a healthy diet with few artificial foods, a bevy of greens and vegetables, and a good balance of carbs and proteins. Reduce stress because it can lead to increased cortisol.
This hormone worsens hair loss and is linked to more serious health issues such as increased weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and risk of heart disease, as well as lower bone density and immune function. Exercise helps reduce hair loss because it reduces testosterone. It is also important to get adequate sleep every night because chronic insomnia can add to hormonal imbalances and cause weight gain
This treatment requires women to apply a dose of 1ml, twice a day of 3% topical Minoxidil for a minimum of 12 months.
Minoxidil induces Telogen hairs to enter the anagen phase, thereby prolonging anagen duration. Although Minoxidil has proven efficacy in increasing hair count and weight, the exact mechanism of action is not completely understood.
In the first months of treatment, results may not be evident and hair may continue to shed. It’s important not to give up because it takes at least a year to assess whether the treatment is effective.
Side effects such as allergic or contact dermatitis can occur, but are uncommon.
Saw palmetto helps suppress testosterone levels. Taking 320 milligrams daily for 6 weeks or longer can help, but this should not be taken if you are pregnant or nursing. Seven to nine milligrams of biotin daily is thought to help promote hair growth. N-acetyl Cysteine has been shown to reduce testosterone and improve insulin resistance in women with PCOS.
We here at The Regrow Hair Centre work exclusively with HR23+ vitamins, which consists of vital ingredients to help promote hair growth such as saw palmetto and biotin.
Written by Khuram Abbas Raja for The Regrow Hair Centre.