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  5. Fighting PCOS Hair Loss: Diet, Symptoms & Treatments

Have you been experiencing excessive hair loss lately? Is this accompanied by irregular menstrual cycle, weight gain and unusual hair growth on the chin and body? If all your answers are a yes, then your hair loss could be due to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is one of the most common causes of female infertility that affects 6 to 12 percent of women in the US alone. [1] Find out how you can deal with hair loss from PCOS below.

What Causes Hair Loss In PCOS?

PCOS hair loss occurs due to an increase in the male hormone (known as androgen) in the body. These excess androgens trigger hair thinning on the scalp. However, there is not complete baldness as seen in men.

Note:

The biggest difference between male pattern baldness and female pattern baldness is that in women, the hair follicles remain alive, unlike in male baldness. This means that PCOS hair growth treatment has a fair possibility to work.

Hair loss is a common symptom among women with PCOS. While there is excessive body and facial hair growth, women with PCOS experience scalp hair loss especially in the frontal and the vertex region of the scalp, resulting in female pattern baldness.

You should know that on average we lose 100-150 hair strands a day. It takes at least 20-25 % [2] of total scalp hair loss to identify the first sign of hair loss due to PCOS.

So, if you are experiencing excessive hair loss during combing or washing hair, it could be an early sign of PCOS hair loss. Also, watch out for other PCOS symptoms like facial hair growth, weight gain, lethargic, etc.

How Do You Fight Hair Loss From PCOS?

1. Oral Medicines

PCOS hair loss can be treated with oral medications. Your doctor may prescribe you a combination of oral contraceptive pills, anti-androgen drugs, along with other medications to control PCOS and hair loss.

Oral contraceptive pills work by reducing the production of the male hormone (testosterone) along with increasing the production of the sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) in the body. Thus, the action of the male hormone is controlled, which reduces the symptoms of PCOS including scalp hair loss, facial hair growth, etc.

Anti-androgen drugs are widely prescribed for controlling PCOS hair loss. However, you should use it only if oral contraceptive pills haven't given you positive results.

Your doctor may also prescribe Spironolactone, a diuretic drug that helps to control androgen activity in the body. Cyproterone acetate is another medication that your doctor may prescribe for hormonal and hair loss control. [3]

Word of Caution:

Spironolactone may have side effects including irregular menstrual cycles, dizziness, headaches, lethargy, and stomach upset. We strongly recommended you to consult your doctor before consuming the medication. Cyproterone acetate may have side effects including reduced libido, weight gain, depression, tiredness, etc. Should be strictly consumed under doctor’s prescription.

2. Topical Treatments

Along with oral medications, your doctor may also prescribe topical ointments like Minoxidil. It comes as a liquid or a foam that you need to massage on your scalp.

Word of Caution:

Side effects may include itchiness and scalp dryness.

3. Hair Transplant

A hair transplant is a common PCOS hair loss treatment. In this process, hair and hair follicles are taken from one area of the scalp and grafted in the area of the scalp, where thinning is prominent. It usually takes a few procedures before you can notice a significant result.

Note:

Hair transplant may not always work. Speak to your doctor for a detailed understanding.

4. Shampoos

Moisturizing shampoos and conditioners help soothe damaged and color-treated hair. Go for sulfate-free shampoos that are mild and designed to encourage hair growth.

5. Home Remedies

PCOS has a direct connection with lifestyle intervention. Weight loss through lifestyle intervention can lower the level of male hormone and reduce the effects of PCOS including hair loss. Here are some quick home remedies to reduce PCOS hair loss:

1. Using a soft natural hair bristle comb can be helpful in controlling hair fall.

2. Regular exercise can help reduce weight, which controls the male hormone production and in turn, reduces PCOS-related hair loss.

3. Switch to healthy diets and stay away from junk foods. A sustainable diet plan also helps to keep your weight in check, thus controlling the male hormone production.

4. You may also try different hairstyling techniques to make noticeable hair loss less visible.

5. Regular oil massage of the scalp helps in blood circulation, which makes the hair follicles strong. Avoid oils laden with chemicals and opt for natural ones.

6. Homemade hair masks with natural ingredients like egg and olive oil also help promote hair growth. Take an egg and mix with a teaspoon of olive oil. Apply it on your hair, working from the roots to the hair tips. Leave it for 20 minutes and then shampoo.

What To Eat And Avoid To Prevent PCOS Hair Loss?

A study report shows that zinc supplement helps in controlling PCOS hair loss. The study reveals that taking 50 mg of zinc supplement daily for 8 weeks can have positive effects on PCOS hair loss. [4]

Another research study also demonstrated evidence that Biotin can have a positive effect on PCOS hair loss. [5]

Avoid eating any food that is considered unhealthy -- refined flour, added sugar, fried and fast food.

Is Hair Regrowth Possible After Hair Loss Due To PCOS?

Yes! PCOS hair regrowth is possible if you can address the underlying hormonal imbalance. Once you are rightly diagnosed with PCOS by your doctor and you are put on PCOS treatment, you will notice a significant improvement in the symptoms along with regrowing your hair.

However, if your hair is already damaged, you will need a separate hair care regime to fix it. It may also take time depending on how fast your hair grows. Along with it, having nutritious food will help your hair to be stronger and lustrous.

Wrapping Up

PCOS hair loss is a common symptom among women with PCOS. The good news is, it can be treated when the underlying issue is addressed with medication and other lifestyle changes. Speak to your doctor to understand your PCOS treatment plan.

Begin By Knowing Your Skin