Hair loss is one of the unfortunate symptoms of an endocrine disorder called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), which affects the function of a woman’s ovaries. Other common symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, and increased facial hair. The excessive hair shedding and thinning that PCOS causes is primarily due to a genetic predisposition, coupled with sensitivity of the hair follicle.
But exactly what is it about PCOS that makes women to lose their hair? In reality, it is because of something called hyperandrogenism. This basically means that your body is producing an excess of male hormones called androgens. These hormones are found naturally in all women, but PCOS causes a dramatic increase that throws your hormonal system off balance.
Androgens affect the frequency and degree of bleeding when you menstruate, and they can also cause oily skin and acne. Typically that’s about it, but when you also have androgen-sensitive hair follicles, the hormones can actually decrease hair growth on your scalp and increase hair growth on the rest of your body!
Follicle sensitivity is genetically inherited, so it isn’t something that you just catch or randomly acquire during your lifetime. It’s been with you since birth. If you don’t have significant follicle sensitivity, PCOS may not really affect your hair. However if you do carry this sensitivity, an imbalance of androgens may cause hair loss.
The treatment for PCOS can be complex depending on your various symptoms. Fortunately, if you only struggle with hair loss or if it is simply your predominant symptom, treatment is quite straightforward! We recommend consulting your doctor about an oral or topical anti-androgen solution. If you would also like help styling and cutting your hair to make it look the best it can be while undergoing treatment for PCOS, make an appointment with one of our skilled hair technicians today! Contact our office for a free consultation.