PCOS — Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a hormonal disorder among women of reproductive age. If you or a loved one have a noticeable hair loss (like plenty of hair falling in the shower or hair strangling on the brush) and are looking for answers, you landed on the right page.
You may be asking, can PCOS cause hair loss? The short answer is YES. Thinning hair, significant hair loss, or female-pattern baldness are one of the symptoms of PCOS. Some women diagnosed with PCOS may experience it while some may not. Keep reading to know the what, why, and how of PCOS-related hair loss.
What Is PCOS?
It’s time to learn what PCOS is and why it causes hair loss. First of all, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a disorder caused by hormonal imbalance. The male hormone called androgens increases in women who have PCOS, which causes a variety of symptoms.
When male hormones increase in women, this may lead to PCOS. The extra androgen production in PCOS is called virilization. Virilization leads to the manifestation of masculine features in women, thus hair thinning just like in men.
Other than thinning hair, other PCOS symptoms may include:
- Irregular periods
- Unintended weight gain
- Acne breakouts
- Excess hair growth like facial hair
- Darkening of the skin around the neck, groin, or breast
- Skin tags in the armpits or neck
Women who have PCOS are at increased risk of developing health issues like increased cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes. So if you or a loved one have been dealing with PCOS and hair loss, it may be time to discuss options and solutions with your Doctor.
Why does PCOS cause hair loss?
The hair loss caused by PCOS is mainly due to the increased level of male hormones called androgen. The excess amounts of androgen cause hair thinning starting at the front of the scalp. This is called female pattern hair loss or androgenic alopecia.
Women with PCOS do not cause complete baldness, like male pattern baldness, but there may be patches and hair thinning in women. If your hair doesn’t look like what it was before, or there has been a lot of hair fall when showering, it is best to seek professional medical advice.
Will hair loss from PCOS grow back?
Hair loss from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) doesn’t grow back on its own. But when reversing the main cause, which is the increased androgen levels, hair regrowth caused by PCOS is possible.
Hair loss due to PCOS will typically continue because the androgens block the hair follicles. As long as there are increased levels of androgens, it will continue to block your hair follicles from growing, thus continuing hair loss along the process.
Additionally, lifestyle changes, supplements, and treatments can play a significant role in stimulating hair growth. This leads us to the ‘how’ of hair loss caused by PCOS. There are remedies and treatment options for how to address hair loss caused by polycystic ovary syndrome.
How do you address hair loss caused by PCOS?
The main cause of PCOS has increased androgen levels, and that needs to be addressed. Hormone regulation plays a big factor in addressing PCOS hair loss. There are cosmetic procedures you can consider as well. Here’s what you need to know:
Image from PxHere
40-80% of women with PCOS may be overweight or obese. Weight plays a significant role in hormonal imbalances and lifestyle changes for better overall health. Weight management with a healthy diet and exercising can help.
- Weight management: Losing weight can help make the symptoms of PCOS less severe. Weight loss (for overweight or obese women) lowers androgen levels and this equates to lessening the effects of hair loss.
- Eat healthily: To facilitate weight management, maintaining a healthy diet can help with lowering androgen levels.
- Exercise regularly: Part of weight management is to exercise regularly. Also, exercise reduces the risk of developing other health issues associated with PCOS.
Taking supplements can address further hair loss. But it is best to talk to your healthcare provider before taking any supplement. Here are the supplements that may address androgenic alopecia caused by PCOS:
- Zinc: Zinc deficiency is common in women with PCOS. Zinc is a natural mineral available in dietary supplements. Studies found that taking zinc decreases PCOS-related hair loss in eight weeks.
- Biotin: Biotin is a popular supplement taken for hair health and growth. Along with other supplements, lifestyle changes, and other remedies, biotin helps to regrow hair.
Just a note, you should see a doctor before taking any medication to address PCOS-related hair loss. Here are the most common medications prescribed for PCOS hair loss:
- Oral contraceptive pills: Oral contraceptives or birth control pills can help lower the androgen levels in the body and reduce hair loss. Aside from hair loss, birth control pills have also been found to reduce other PCOS symptoms like acne outbreaks and irregular menstruation.
- Steroid medications: Steroid medications like finasteride and dutasteride (FDA-approved drug) halts the overproduction of male sex hormones and turn them into another hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
- Minoxidil: Minoxidil is a topical treatment solution applied directly to the scalp to treat female and male pattern hair loss. Minoxidil stimulates hair growth and helps make the hair look thicker. This however takes months and will revert if discontinued.
If the medications or supplements don’t seem to work, some people opt for hair transplantation surgery. In this procedure, a graft is taken from the hair-bearing scalp and transferred to the bald or thinning area.
There are downsides to a hair transplant. This procedure is done under anesthesia so you’ll feel no pain. However, its unpleasant side effects may vary from person to person.
The recovery period is crucial, and when not followed properly as recommended by the healthcare provider, unpleasant side effects may occur like infection or scarring.
In combination with the lifestyle change, medications, and supplements above, you can also opt for non-invasive treatment. Scalp micropigmentation (SMP) is a known effective solution for hair loss, thinning hair, or even hairline recession.
SMP is a non-invasive cosmetic procedure that replicates the look of hair follicles. During SMP, micro-needles are used to deposit pigments to the scalp. This results in creating an appearance of tiny hair follicles on the scalp to restore the look of fuller hair and cover the bald spots.
Aside from replicating the look of hair follicles, SMP also helps conceal burn marks, scars, and birthmarks. For years, many men and women with receding hairlines, alopecia, and thinning hair resort to scalp micropigmentation with positive reviews.
Let’s Talk about Scalp Micropigmentation
For sure, you may be curious about scalp micropigmentation. Medication treatments like steroids and contraceptives may have unpleasant side effects. While other remedies like lifestyle change and supplements may take time to see the results.
Consider SMP as a painless, quick fix, without the lengthy maintenance routines and unpleasant side effects. If you’re considering scalp micropigmentation to address hair loss caused by PCOS, here are other facts you need to know about the procedure.
How long will the effects of scalp micropigmentation last?
The results of SMP, with proper care, after all the sessions required may last up to 4-6 years. The effects of scalp micropigmentation and its vibrance are expected to last for a long time before you may or may not need a touch-up session. The treated area will fade because the skin of the scalp naturally exfoliates itself and ages, causing the ink to metabolize over time. Consider the touch-up as a follow-up session to restore the original vibrance on the SMP.
What to expect immediately after SMP?
After the SMP session, you can expect redness in the area of treatment for the first 24 hours. The redness in the first 24 hours may be less visible for some people who have darker skin tones.
After the redness has subsided for the first 24 hours, you can expect the pigmentation to appear darker for the first 7 days of treatment. After 3 to 10 days, the darkness will start to subside and the scalp will appear softer and lighter.
The pigment-filled follicles will start to flake away so this is expected. You may also experience some itchiness, which also subsides in a few days. We typically like to book 2-3 sessions for a full, coverage look spaced out between 7-10 days apart.
When the final healing process has been completed, the final dots are expected to have a diameter of 90 to 170 UM, and they will blend seamlessly with the natural hair.
Whether it be female pattern hair loss or male pattern baldness, scalp micropigmentation can help make you feel a better and more confident. Read further to know more about scalp micropigmentation.
The before and after effects of scalp micropigmentation
Photo from Studio Conceal
Where to book a Scalp Micropigmentation appointment?
If you or a loved one want your hair to look different and consider booking a scalp micropigmentation appointment, book a free consultation with Studio Conceal. It’s always better to look for options and talk to a professional when deciding when to get this procedure.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can hair loss from PCOS be reversed?
Hair loss from PCOS cannot be reversed on its own. Supplements, lifestyle changes, medical treatments, hair products, and a few procedures can help with new hair growth caused by PCOS. Polycystic ovary syndrome is caused by hormonal imbalances and cannot be reversed without intervention.
Why does PCOS cause hair loss?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) causes hair loss because of hormonal imbalances due to excess androgens. Hair loss may appear as a receding hairline, dry and damaged hair, and eventually hair fall.
What helps PCOS hair growth?
Lifestyle change, oral contraceptive pills, supplements, and a few medications (prescribed by a physician) can help with hair growth caused by PCOS. You can also try home remedies like essential oils and moisturizing shampoos to help with hair growth.
What should I eat to help prevent PCOS hair loss?
If you have hair loss caused by PCOS, it is recommended to eat iron-rich foods. Women with PCOS have been found to have an iron deficiency that’s why an iron-rich diet is recommended. You can eat iron-rich foods like red meat, seafood, beans, dark green leafy vegetables, and iron-fortified cereals.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can’t be cured, but the symptoms can be managed especially when it comes to hair loss. With every problem, there’s a solution. When it comes to PCOS hair loss, at the end of the day, living a healthier life and managing the hormonal imbalance can get you through.
Healthy hair growth with PCOS is possible. With the right treatment combination combined and lifestyle management, you’ll see your hair bouncing back beautifully in no time. Additionally, with scalp micropigmentation at Studio Conceal, you will see your hair differently, way better than before. Book an appointment now!