A major cause of hair loss to women in the modern society is PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is basically an endocrine disorder that alters the normal working of a woman’s ovary. Let us dive a little deep into our biology and try to understand how PCOS affect our hair growth or regrowth for that matter.

PCOS can be explained as a hormonal condition that involves higher levels of androgens (mostly dihydrotestosterone – also known as DHT and testosterone). Now higher levels of DHT causes the hair follicles to stop reproducing new hair. Consequently, in women, excess testosterone is converted to DHT which leads to even more severe hair loss in women.

Why do we lose hair?

With all the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome, hair loss is one of the most difficult, because if the main hair is getting thinner and thinner, how can you hide it? Every hair wash becomes an ordeal when the whole drain is blocked. They hang on every piece of clothing and if go with your hand through your hair, you have lost 5 hairs again. Well, it doesn’t have to be that drastic for everyone, but basically you ask yourself: Will it stop? When will it stop? Will I still have hair then?

This is where our hormone balance comes into play again, the reason for all the bad things. We have too many androgens in us and these can lead to androgenetic alopecia. As always with PCO syndrome, this is very individual, it depends on how your own hormone balance looks like. It doesn’t mean that you have to suffer from hair loss in PCO syndrome, but your risk has increased due to the elevated androgen levels.

What happens in the body?

In short, too much of it sends out false information to androgens, which causes our hair follicles to shrink. As a result, thinner and finer hair grows outwards, because it is already smaller on the inside.

Why does this happen?

Our body forms dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the follicle through the 5α reductase from testosterone. The DHT is important in the hair root so that the hair is optimally supplied with proteins, this is the actual task. However, if there is now an excess of DHT or hypersensitivity, then it has far too strong an effect on the hair root. This is now completely out of balance and remains far too short in the growth phase (anagen phase).

What does this mean for you?

You can recognize the consequences by the fact that you slowly lose hair on the top of your head. There is a diffuse hair loss at the crown of the head. Diffuse means that you do not lose hair everywhere at once. In addition, all of our hair is not all in the same phase (anagen, catagen and telogen phase), but is distributed among these three phases. However, if one of them is disturbed, it won’t fit to the others anymore. We can recognize this by the fact that the hair grows visibly differently, after a while it looks as if the hairdresser has made a mistake in his handling of the thinning scissors.

Beautiful, full and shiny hair – who doesn’t like that?

Of course, everyone would like that. But the question here is, as so often with PCO syndrome, at what price? A pill containing the antiandrogens such as cyproterone acetate, dienogest, drospirenone or chloromadinone is often used for battling PCO syndrome hair loss. It is important that it should only be administered as a pill, as pregnancy must be absolutely ruled out, as these antiandrogens are dangerous for the embryo. For me personally, the pill should NOT be the first choice for PCO syndrome.

Ways to treat hair loss if you suffer from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Now with our amazing background knowledge of PCOS, let us look at some of the most efficient ways of treating this nightmare.

Take a proper PCOS diet

Well as much as there is not much clarity on the PCOS diet, it is a no-brainer that eating healthy fats, balancing carbohydrates and proteins, taking a lot of green vegetables can go a long way in improving your health. The above-mentioned diets are the core PCOS nutrition. If you dive a bit further, you can take a PCOS CROWN meal plan that goes a long way at keeping you on track with your diet.

Get your Thyroid checked by a doctor

Most women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome have been also linked with the lack of enough thyroid (hypothyroid). This condition has a direct relationship with thinning of hair and hair loss in general. With a good knowledge of your thyroid levels, it is easier for a prescription to be made to correct this problem.

Use specific hair products for PCOS

There is always a huge debate when it comes to the use of hair products. It is true that some hair products do cause even more harm than good to users. Likewise, there are some that turn out to be extremely useful and effective nonetheless. Use of topical minoxidil, for example, is a great shot at treating hair loss due to PCOS. Instead of using the expensive Rogaine brand, I recommend to use generic Minoxdil from brands such as Regoxidine as it is exactly the same but for a cheaper price. Other great products to use are Viviscal or Provillus. There are a handful of oral medications as well. Please see a doctor to establish what is best for you.

Hair Transplant

This is definitely a more modern solution to people with severe hair loss for many reasons including Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. As a hair transplant in women can be tricky due to the diffuse thinning and the fact that women are usually not happy about shaving their whole head for the procedure, it is recommended to look for a hair transplant clinic that is specialized in treating female patients. You might want to consider a hair transplant in Turkey as prices are way cheaper compared to the US and some of the most famous hair transplant surgeons are based in Turkey.

Conclusion: Do you just have to live with the thinning hair?

No, you don’t. There are also natural ways to improve hair loss. Basically, it is a symptom of the PCO syndrome, i.e. if you have managed to control your PCO syndrome, hair loss will automatically improve. I took biotin for a while when it was very bad (clogging the drain and losing hair everywhere bad), it helped me to stop the hair loss. Then there are also very simple solutions, like a very good haircut. It doesn’t make sense to have long hair if it is already so thin on top that it sticks to the scalp and there is lots of volume at the sides and back. A good hairstyle can work wonders. If we stick to the topic, the right hair care products also play a role, commercial chemical bombs won’t help us. Neither does it help if we still burden our hair with chemical treatments like perming, bleaching or coloring.

If you are already on your way to controlling your PCOS yourself, but you are suffering psychologically very much from your hair loss, or the thinner upper head, then I recommend you using hair fibers or have a look scalp micropigmentation providers near you. You can also visit a specialist for human hair replacement (wigs, hairpieces, toupees). There are many good possibilities to achieve a very nice optical result. As a last resort you might want to opt for a hair transplant.

I wish you much success on your way. Do your own research on what natural products are available that appeal to you and with which you have made good experiences. Leave a comment below and tell us how you stopped your polycystic ovarian syndrome related hair loss.

Kathy Duchamp

Kathy Duchamp

Kathy has been working as a freelance author for numerous online and offline media since 2001 - and since 2019 also for The Hair Loss Advisor. Following her studies in psychology and education, she initially worked as an employed specialist journalist and PR editor before moving to freelance corporate communications. In the last ten years she has written for a patient portal, a hospital group, two food supplement manufacturers and a pharmacy magazine.
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