HORMONAL IMBALANCES / HAIRLOSS
HORMONAL IMBALANCES / HAIRLOSS
How can hair loss be associated with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, aka PCOS? Well, the short answer is hormones. The longer, more detailed answer is slightly more complicated. While the symptoms most associated with PCOS are infertility and excessive hair growth, hair loss also affects most women living with the condition. Here’s how hormones and PCOS can lead to loss of hair.
PCOS is an Endocrine, or hormone imbalance that impacts how your ovaries grow and release eggs during your menstrual cycle. Essentially, it can have a huge effect on how often, or even if, you ovulate. And it affects at least 10% of women worldwide.
That imbalance generally presents in three main ways.
1. The first is irregular periods or having no periods at all.
2. The second is a higher relative level of Testosterone, which can lead to facial and body hair.
3. And the third is having multiple fluid-filled sacs, also known as follicles, in your ovaries leading to little or no ovulatory activity. These occur when the sac doesn’t quote develop as it should, stopping its egg from maturing properly or being released.
In order to be diagnosed with PCOS, you need to have experienced a minimum of two of the three main characteristics. The thing is, around 50% of women with PCOS experience no symptoms at all.
Technically, PCOS is a hormone imbalance. Although it can be down to a single or combination of suboptimal levels of, for instance Insulin, or Testosterone. But what that actually translates to is a huge number of physical symptoms. The biggest of which is the disruption it can cause your menstrual cycle, or rather ovulation.
Here’s how that works. During the early stages of your cycle, Estrogen levels are low, but climbing slowly. It’s being produced by your ovaries as the follicles containing potential eggs begin to grow.
As you head toward ovulation, one follicle becomes dominant, and continues to grow, while the others die back. Estrogen peaks as the egg reaches maturity and is released during Ovulation. At which point your Estrogen levels fall again, before the cycle restarts, pregnancy notwithstanding.
But with PCOS, that cycle is interrupted. Eggs either don’t grow, or aren’t released, and the sacs stay on your ovaries. That can affect your cycle in two ways.
1. The first is the hormones those follicles continue to release.
2. The second is that they block new sacs from growing new eggs correctly, and round and round it goes.
You’ve probably noticed that PCOS has a clear effect on fertility. If you’re not ovulating, you can’t get pregnant. But this particular hormone imbalance can also have a very real effect on your hair. Firstly, it can cause extar hair growth in typically male patterns, including on your chest and face.
PCOS, though, can also cause hair loss. Yes, that hormone imbalance can in essence stop your hair growing and cause it to fall out. And that’s more than likely down to higher relative levels of Testosterone in women with PCOS.
Believe it or not, your ovaries also produce Testosterone. If your cycle is working the way it should, most of it will be turned into Estrogen, and your hair will barely notice. If you’ve got PCOS, though, that higher level leads to an increase in DHT, a more powerful form of Testosterone.
And one of DHT’s jobs is, for some reason, shrinking hair follicles. Which it does really, really well. Affected follicles eventually stop being able to support healthy hair growth, leading to loss. And even if your hair does grow back, more often than not, it’s fine and breakable.
The bad news is that it can take years to get a PCOS diagnosis.
But that doesn’t mean you have to wait that long to start working on your hair loss. Chances are, if you’ve been discussing irregular periods and possible PCOS with your doctor, you’ve talked about hormonal birth control.
Using HBC in any form can help slow and even stop the hair loss in a few months, but it may not improve hair regrowth. Then there are topical gels and creams applied directly to the scalp containing Minoxidil. They can also be effective in around 12 months from the start of treatment.
The latest therapy for PCOS-related hair loss doesn’t involve any hormones or chemicals. Known as PRP, it actually uses your own platelets to improve long-term follicle health and hair growth.
As with all hair loss treatments results can be highly individual, but most patients will see an improvement in both hair density and regrowth in as little as three months.
At Hormona, we understand the emotional challenges that come with hair loss, and we are here to support you every step of the way.
Our advanced hormone tracking features allow you to monitor hormonal fluctuations throughout your menstrual cycle or different life stages. By understanding these patterns, you gain valuable insights into how hormones may be affecting your hair health.
Partnering for change
We are proud to be partnering up with Nordic Hair Clinic –Leading hair clinic in the Nordics. Together we want to change how women perceive their hormonal health and hair growth, and help them feel confident and empowered in their bodies.