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Unlocking the Tresses: Navigating PCOS-Related Hair Loss

Hair problems related to PCOS can be profoundly distressing, affecting both physical appearance and emotional well-being. Understanding the intricacies of PCOS-related hair loss, including its causes and potential remedies, is essential for managing this aspect of the syndrome.


woman holding hair comb with hair
You may start noticing more hair after brushing your hair, or on furniture. Aside from PCOS, there are other factors that may affect the health of your hair, such as stress, vitamin deficiencies.


PCOS and Hair Loss

PCOS often manifests with excess androgenic hormones, leading to various symptoms such as acne, thinning hair, and hair loss. This excessive androgenic activity can result in female pattern baldness, characterized by limp, lackluster hair that breaks easily and exhibits dryness and damage. Medically termed as androgenic alopecia, this condition can present challenges in treatment due to its hormonal nature.


Understanding Androgenic Alopecia

Androgenic alopecia, commonly known as male pattern baldness, can affect both men and women, albeit with differing patterns. In individuals with PCOS, the typical pattern deviates from the classic male presentation. Instead of a receding hairline, PCOS-related hair loss often involves:

  1. Thinning starting from the mid-scalp and spreading in a circular fashion.

  2. Thinning starting at the hairline and gradually spreading backward along the center of the scalp, forming a triangular or "Christmas tree" pattern.


This pattern of hair loss results in thinner and shorter hair rather than complete baldness, although the thinning can be significant enough to expose large areas of the scalp.


Factors Contributing to Hair Loss

Apart from hormonal imbalances, several other factors can exacerbate hair loss in individuals with PCOS:

  • Exposure to extreme temperatures

  • Chronic infections and diseases

  • Certain medications

  • Anemia (iron deficiency)

  • Deficiency in vitamins and trace elements

  • Stress


These factors can further compromise hair health and contribute to increased shedding and breakage.


Symptoms of PCOS-Related Hair Loss

PCOS-related hair loss often presents with noticeable symptoms:

  • Increased daily hair shedding, with hair found on clothes, furniture, and pillowcases.

  • Hair loss at the root or as breakage, leading to visible scalp and frizz.

  • Dryness, itchiness, and dandruff on the scalp.

  • Finer hair texture and difficulty styling without additional products for volume.


The Ludwig scale categorizes female pattern hair loss into three stages:

  1. There are small areas of hair loss, with fragile and thin hairs among the healthy ones.

  2. There are bald patches and many thin hairs.

  3. Hair is fuzzy and almost invisible.


PCOS hair diagram
The central parting may appear wider and the scalp may seem more visible. Hair to the back and sides is usually unaffected. (Credits to Grohair UK)

Comprehensive Strategies for Managing PCOS-Related Hair Loss

Hair loss associated with PCOS demands a comprehensive approach that encompasses both external hair care and internal health management through diet, exercise, and medical intervention. Achieving optimal results often requires dedication to a consistent regimen over several months to a year, underscoring the importance of patience and persistence.

Addressing PCOS-related hair loss involves a multifaceted approach, including:

  • Balancing hormone levels through medical intervention by gynecologists or endocrinologists.

  • Prescribing hair restoration treatments by trichologists to stimulate follicle growth.

  • Managing contributing factors such as anemia, nutritional deficiencies, and stress through lifestyle modifications and targeted therapies.


Balancing Hormones and Enhancing Nutrition

Regulating hormone levels is paramount in addressing PCOS-related hair loss. Healthcare providers may prescribe medications such as oral contraceptives, antiandrogens, or metformin to manage hormonal imbalances and promote hair growth. Additionally, adopting a well-balanced diet rich in essential vitamins and minerals recommended by healthcare professionals can optimize hair health. Nutrients like magnesium, zinc, iron, and vitamins A, B, E, and F play crucial roles in supporting hair growth and vitality.


Choosing the Right Hair Care Products

Selecting suitable hair care products is vital for maintaining and enhancing hair health. Products free from wax and mineral oils are preferable to prevent scalp buildup and promote natural sebum production. Look for formulations containing hydrolyzed proteins and B vitamins to nourish and strengthen the hair. Avoiding excessive heat styling and harsh chemical treatments can also safeguard weakened hair from further damage.


Exploring Medical Treatments and Home Remedies

In addition to prescribed medications, individuals with PCOS-related hair loss may benefit from home remedies and supplementary treatments. Moisturizing shampoos and conditioners tailored for damaged or thinning hair can help preserve hair integrity and stimulate growth. Natural bristle brushes and gentle hair handling techniques can minimize breakage and promote scalp health. Incorporating supplements like biotin and keratin into the daily routine may offer additional support, although consultation with a healthcare provider is advisable to ensure safe and effective supplementation.


Seeking Professional Guidance

If hair loss significantly impacts daily life or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms of PCOS, seeking professional guidance is essential. Healthcare providers, including dermatologists, OB-GYNs, and endocrinologists, can conduct thorough assessments, including hormone level tests, and recommend personalized treatment plans. Collaborating with a multidisciplinary healthcare team ensures comprehensive care and maximizes the likelihood of successful outcomes.


Patience and Persistence

While awaiting the results of treatment, it's crucial to maintain patience and consistency. Hair regrowth and improvement may take time, with noticeable changes often occurring over several months. Adhering diligently to the prescribed regimen and lifestyle adjustments increases the chances of restoring hair health and reclaiming confidence.



woman head shake hair
Bouncing back to healthy hair would require a comprehensive approach of getting your hormone levels under control and rejuvenating your hair follicles.


PCOS-related hair loss can significantly impact an individual's quality of life, necessitating comprehensive management strategies. By understanding the underlying mechanisms and associated symptoms, healthcare providers can tailor treatments to address both the hormonal imbalances and secondary factors contributing to hair loss in individuals with PCOS. If you are not sure about the symptoms you are experiencing and want to speak to someone, book a session with one of our trusted OBGYN experts. We are offering a free introductory consultation, to answer any questions you may have with our doctors.





 

Hati Health is a digital platform for women, providing on-demand access to products and services, including telehealth, symptom checking, holistic wellness plans and education.


We believe that being able to talk openly about women's healthcare and bringing appropriate solutions will inspire women to achieve their fullest potential in their personal and professional lives.

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