PCOS & Hair Loss: Is There a Relationship?

Dr. Pakhi Sharma (MBBS)
Dr. Pakhi Sharma (MBBS)

General Physician | 6+ years

PCOS Hair Loss
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Mirror mirror on the wall, sick of losing hair y’all?” Hair loss can be distressing and it may be caused due to a huge list of reasons. Even with hormonal conditions such as PCOS, hair loss can be one of the most troubling problems. If you see a lot of hair flowing away in the shower or are experiencing bald patches on the scalp, PCOS may be the cause. Read on to know more!

Contents:
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    How Does PCOS Cause Hair Loss?
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    Hair Loss in PCOS: Symptoms
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    Is PCOS Hair Loss Reversible?
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    PCOS Hair Loss: Treatment
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    Hair Loss in PCOS: Home Remedies
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    When to See a Doctor About Hair Loss Due to PCOS?
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    How to Hide Hair Loss Due to PCOS?
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    Don’t Have Time To Read?
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    FAQs
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How Does PCOS Cause Hair Loss?

PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome comes with multiple symptoms that affect your body and hair loss is one of them.

PCOS and hair loss can be a distressing combination. Hair loss in PCOS is believed to be caused by a number of genetic and environmental factors that can trigger the imbalance of oestrogen (female hormone) and androgens (male hormones) such as testosterone

In PCOS, there is extra androgen production, which causes the hair on your head to start thinning. This hair loss is medically termed androgenic alopecia and is commonly known as female-pattern baldness in women.

In both men and women, around 10% of testosterone is converted into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Once released into the bloodstream, DHT can link to receptors on hair follicles on your scalp, resulting in the shrinking of the follicles. Because of this, your hair can become visibly thinner and even fall out.

Hair Loss in PCOS: Symptoms

Unlike complete baldness in male pattern hair loss, women with PCOS experience typical thinning of hair and shorter hair. Hair thinning in PCOS can also expose a large area of your scalp.

Some of the hair loss symptoms in PCOS include:

  • Unusual shedding of hair on a daily basis.
  • Finding hair on clothes, furniture or even on the pillowcase due to overnight hair fall.
  • Finding clumps of hair in the shower.
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Is PCOS Hair Loss Reversible?

No, PCOS hair loss is not reversible. Hair that is lost due to PCOS does not grow back on its own. However, with effective care and treatment, you may be able to stimulate your scalp to grow new hair.

PCOS Hair Loss: Treatment

PCOS hair loss is mainly caused by hormonal imbalance, so hormone regulation becomes very important as a treatment for hair fall in PCOS. Some of the commonly prescribed treatments include:

1. Oral Contraceptive Pills

Oral contraceptive pills, also known as birth control pills, contain female hormones ( oestrogen and progestin). Their main purpose is to prevent pregnancy by blocking ovulation. However, they also help to reduce the levels of androgens in the body, which can be the main cause of hair loss in PCOS. These pills are often used with other medications such as spironolactone (a high blood pressure medication).

2. Spironolactone

Spironolactone is a diuretic prescribed for treating health conditions such as high blood pressure, liver disease, and kidney disease. It is now prescribed by doctors to treat hormonal hair loss such as hair loss in PCOS. Spironolactone reduces the production of androgens, slows down the progression of hair loss, and may encourage new hair growth.

3. Minoxidil

Minoxidil is the only US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved topical medication used for the treatment of female pattern baldness. As it is a topical treatment, you need to apply it daily on your scalp. It helps in hair growth and even makes the hair appear thicker. It requires at least one year of regular use to show significant results.

4. Hair Transplant

A hair transplant is a surgical procedure to implant hair on the scalp. The hair along with hair follicles are removed from an area with a good amount of hair and transplanted to the scalp area showing thinning or baldness. It requires a few seatings as suggested by your doctor.

5. PRP Therapy

Platelet-rich-plasma or PRP injections are gaining wide popularity in hair loss treatment. In this therapy, a sample of your blood is taken and the PRP component is extracted using a centrifugal procedure. The PRP is transferred to a syringe which is then injected into the scalp to stimulate hair follicles to keep growing and prevent hair loss. Though effective for most people, it can be an expensive procedure.

Hair Loss in PCOS: Home Remedies

Some home remedies that might work for hair fall due to PCOS are:

1. Weight Loss

By now you must be well aware that excess weight can be the root of various problems. Many studies have shown that weight loss can help lower your androgen levels and reduce its effects in women with PCOS. This can also result in a noticeable reduction in hair loss and other PCOS-related symptoms. Focus on a well-prepared diet plan and exercise plan for PCOS.

2. Supplements

Taking supplements such as zinc, biotin, and iron may help with PCOS hair loss. However, it is advisable to consult your doctor before any supplement intake.

When to See a Doctor About Hair Loss Due to PCOS?

Hair Loss in PCOS is not a dangerous condition. However, due to the distress it causes, it is best to consult a doctor about it before the hair loss gets too severe.

How to Hide Hair Loss Due to PCOS?

You can minimise the appearance of hair thinning and loss by styling your hair in different ways. Consider the following options:

  • Getting bangs (a type of haircut) that start from the top of your head.
  • Wearing a partial wig without glue or clips to cover the thinning of your hair.
  • Getting a shorter or layered haircut to add volume to hair.
  • Wearing a hair band or scarf wide enough to cover the bald spot.

Don’t Have Time To Read?

  • Hair loss is one of the main symptoms of PCOS. The hair loss seen in PCOS in women is medically termed androgenic alopecia or female-pattern hair loss. It is believed to be caused by an imbalance of oestrogen (female hormone) and androgens (male hormone) and the conversion of the male hormone testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
  • Symptoms of PCOS hair loss include unusual shedding of hair on a daily basis, finding hair on clothes, furniture or pillowcases due to overnight hair fall, and finding clumps of hair in the shower.
  • Hair lost due to PCOS does not grow back on its own. However, with effective care and treatment, you may be able to stimulate your scalp to grow new hair.
  • Some of the commonly prescribed treatments for PCOS hair loss include oral contraceptive pills, spironolactone, minoxidil, hair transplant, and Platelet-Rich-Plasma (PRP) therapy.
  • Home remedies for hair fall due to PCOS include losing weight and taking zinc biotin, or iron supplements. However, it is advised to ask your doctor before starting supplement intake.
  • You can minimise the appearance of hair loss by styling your hair in different ways. These include getting a bangs haircut, wearing a partial wig without glue or clips, getting a shorter or layered haircut or wearing a hair band or scarf to cover the bald spots.
  • Use the Phable Care App to consult India’s leading diabetologists, order medicines, book lab tests, integrate blood sugar monitoring and other devices to get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Also, check out our Diabetes Management program which provides ‎360º care. Let’s treat diabetes together.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, PCOS hair loss cannot be reversed, i.e., the hair lost due to PCOS does not grow back on its own. However, effective care and treatment may stimulate your scalp to grow new hair. Some of the treatments include oral contraceptive pills, minoxidil, spironolactone, hair transplant, and PRP therapy.

Yes, PCOS can cause hair loss from the scalp. This is due to the increased levels of the male hormone testosterone in women, and the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, which causes hair thinning and hair loss.

Biotin is a popular supplement used for better hair growth and hair health. However, there is not enough evidence to support that biotin supplements may help with PCOS hair loss. You can consult a doctor before taking any supplements for hair loss.

Yes, losing weight can help reduce hair loss due to PCOS. Excess weight can be a trigger for your PCOS symptoms and even 5 to 10% weight loss can help lower your androgen levels and reduce PCOS symptoms such as hair loss in women.

Dr. Pakhi Sharma
Dr. Pakhi Sharma, MBBS
(General physician, 6+ years)
An expert in obstetrics and medical emergencies, Dr. Pakhi Sharma, an alumni of Sri Devaraj Urs University of Higher Education and Research Centre, is a general physician working at Phablecare. She has 6+ years of work experience spread across gynaecology and obstetrics, family medicine, and medical emergencies at renowned hospitals and clinics.

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