Managing PCOS-Related Hair Loss

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormone disorder with a wide range of symptoms which may also include hirsutism (excess facial and body hair) or female pattern hair loss (hair thinning and hair loss)

The condition may cause extra androgen production, which results in virilization. This refers to the development of more masculine features, including excess hair in places such as the:

  1. Face

  2. Neck

  3. Chest

  4. Abdomen

These extra androgens can also cause androgenic alopecia or female pattern hair loss. This refers to the thinning of the hair, especially near the front of the scalp.

Hair loss due to PCOS won’t grow back on its own. However, treatment can stimulate the growth of new hair.

Medical treatments that can help

Hormone regulation is one of the important parts of the treatment. A combination of medications usually works better for most people.

Oral contraceptive pills

These pills can lower androgen levels, which may help to reduce excess hair growth and slow down hair loss. For PCOS-related hair loss, an anti-androgen drug is often prescribed in combination with oral contraceptives.

Spironolactone

Spironolactone is an aldosterone receptor antagonist. Apart from the diuretic function, it is also effective for treating androgenetic alopecia. It acts by blocking the effects of androgen on the skin and is usually prescribed together with an oral contraceptive.

Minoxidil

Minoxidil is an FDA-approved drug for treating female pattern baldness. It’s a topical treatment that can be applied to the scalp daily. The drug helps to promote hair growth and can even give it a thicker appearance.

Finasteride and dutasteride

The FDA approves both finasteride and dutasteride for the treatment of male pattern hair loss. However, these drugs are not approved for female pattern hair loss, some doctors still prescribe them to those with PCOS.

Hair transplant

A surgical option to implant hair on the scalp is a hair transplant. In this procedure, hair and hair follicles are removed from one area with a lot of hair and transplanted into the area of thinning or baldness.

What about home remedies?

Some of the home remedies that can help reduce androgen levels, lessening their effect on the hair include:

Zinc

Administering a zinc supplement may help with PCOS-related hair loss. A study looked at the impact of zinc supplementation on PCOS and found that using 50 mg of elemental zinc daily for eight weeks had beneficial effects on hair loss. It was also found to help hirsutism.

Weight loss

Losing weight is known to lower androgen levels and reduce the effects of androgens in women with PCOS. This can lead to less hair loss, as well as a reduction in other PCOS symptoms.

Biotin

Biotin is a popular supplement that’s often used for hair health and growth. Taking supplements containing biotin for 90 days results in significant hair growth.

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