Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a very common hormonal disorder. PCOS causes a range of physical symptoms, including stubborn acne, hirsutism, which is excess facial and body hair and thinning of hair from the scalp.
On average a woman loses about 100-150 hair stands. Usually the excessive hair loss is noticeable while combing or after washing the hair. Hair loss from PCOS is due to the effects of increased male hormones (androgens). Increased male hormones cause virilization which refers to the development of more masculine features like excess hair growth on face, neck or chest.
Will the hair grow back?
Hair loss due to PCOS is difficult to reverse but, with proper treatment, focusing on normalising the hormonal levels, you may be able to stimulate the new hair growth. Also, there are several things you can do to stop losing the remaining hair.
Doctors focus on different medical treatments of PCOS hair loss, including medications, dietary and lifestyle changes.
Oral contraceptives (OCP) in combination with spironolactone
A combination of an oral contraceptive pill or OCP along with an anti-androgen medication like spironolactone is given to prevent chronic anovulation and to increase the elevated testosterone levels which causes various symptoms.
Having a balanced diet can improve PCOS symptoms caused by increased testosterone levels. PCOS symptoms including hair fall can happen when your body becomes insulin resistant. This causes your body to make more insulin than normal, which inturn causes your ovaries to make more testosterone and causes PCOS symptoms.
It might seem a tough grind to lose weight in PCOS. But losing only 5-10% of your bodyweight can improve PCOS symptoms as it helps to lower the insulin and testosterone levels.
There are other ways that you should try to keep your hair healthy.
- Keep you hair clean
- Don’t use hair brushes with sharp bristles, instead use wide tooth combs.
- Avoid taking stress
- Avoid using a lot of hair care cosmetics like sprays or gels
- Avoid blow drying and using direct heat on your hair
- Do not tie your hair too tightly with elastic bands, they can cause traction alopecia.
Do consult a doctor if you suffer from PCOS and you have started losing a lot of hair. Early diagnosis can lead to effective treatment.