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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and Hair Loss

Often when young women experience hair loss, it gets put down to stress, especially if they have a busy job or a lot going on in their personal lives. However, it’s important to consider that hair loss can be a sign of other common health conditions, such as PCOS.

What is PCOS?

PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. It is an endocrine disorder that affects how women’s ovaries work. Common symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome include weight gain, fatigue and increased facial hair, however it can also cause hair thinning and hair loss in those with follicle sensitivity.

Why does PCOS cause hair loss?

PCOS can cause something called hyperandrogenism. This is where a female will start producing too many male hormones (known as androgens). Whilst androgens are naturally found in all women, an increased amount can affect the frequency of bleeding during a menstrual cycle and also impact the hair follicles.

If your hair follicles are sensitive to androgens, then they may slow down the rate of growth of hair on your scalp. Unfortunately, androgens can also increase the growth of hair on your body.

Not everyone with PCOS experiences hair loss. It all comes down to how sensitive your hair follicles are. Follicle sensitivity is genetically inherited, so it will be something you have from birth.

What to do if you think you have PCOS?

If you are experiencing symptoms of PCOS, then it is advised that you book an appointment with your GP. They will be able to discuss your options for treating the condition and may suggest lifestyle changes you can make, such as eating a healthier diet and exercising regularly.

Taking care of your hair

It is recommended that women with PCOS, who are experiencing hair loss, limit the number of products they use on their scalp. Avoiding products containing alcohol and sulphate is highly recommended, as these can deter your hair’s natural growth and strip it of essential oils.

Some doctors may prescribe a combination of oral and topical solutions to help treat hair thinning caused by PCOS. These will usually contain anti-androgens to limit the number of androgens in the body, preventing them from disturbing the hair follicles.

You may also be prescribed birth control pills, as these help to increase oestrogen and progestin (female hormones) in the body. In addition to reducing hair loss, these hormones should also make your periods more regular and could even help to improve the condition of your skin too.

Hair transplants and non-surgical solutions for PCOS sufferers

Many women with PCOS find that hair loss and thinning causes them to feel negative about themselves. A change in appearance can be difficult to deal with and may lead to increased stress, anxiety and depression.

The good news is that you do not have to put up with feeling this way. If hair loss has left you lacking confidence, you may want to consider having a hair transplant.

The Wimpole Clinic have years of experience carrying out hair transplant procedures. We offer Follicular Unit Transplants (FUT) and Follicular Unit Excision Transplants (FUE), both of which are safe procedures, carried out by our skilled specialists.

If surgery doesn’t feel like the right option for you, we also provide a number of solutions which don’t require surgery for PCOS hair loss such as Minoxidil 4% lotion have proven to assist in hair growth and thickening.

For advice on the best solution for you, we recommend booking a free, no obligation consultation with one of our specialists. They will be able to discuss your options and recommend an appropriate treatment.

For more information, contact us on 020 7935 1861.

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