PCOS and Hair Loss: Its Causes and Treatment Options

pcos and hair lossPolycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects many women worldwide. One of the distressing PCOS symptoms is thinning hair or female pattern hair loss. Explore what PCOS is and other PCOS symptoms, examine the causes of female pattern hair loss in PCOS, discuss various treatment, and provide tips for coping with this condition.

What is PCOS?

PCOS, short for polycystic ovarian syndrome, is a common hormonal disorder among women of reproductive age. It occurs when a woman’s body produces an excess amount of androgens, which are often referred to as male hormones. This underlying hormone imbalance disrupt the normal functioning of the ovaries, leading to the development of small ovarian cysts.

Defining Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a complex condition that affects multiple aspects of a woman’s health. Along with causing irregular periods and fertility issues, PCOS can also lead to various physical and emotional symptoms.

When it comes to the physical symptoms of PCOS, they can manifest in different ways. One of the most common physical symptoms is excessive hair growth, known as hirsutism. This can be distressing for many women, as it often affects areas such as the face, chest, and back. Dealing with unwanted facial hair and body hair alone can be time-consuming and can impact a woman’s self-esteem.

Another physical symptom that women with PCOS may experience is acne. Hormonal imbalances can lead to an increase in sebum production, which can clog pores and result in breakouts. Acne can be particularly frustrating, as it can be difficult to manage and may leave behind scars or hyperpigmentation.

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Weight gain is also a common physical symptom associated with PCOS. The hormonal imbalances in people with PCOS can affect metabolism and lead to weight gain, especially around the abdomen. This can further contribute to other health issues, such as insulin resistance and an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Aside from the physical symptoms, PCOS can also have a significant impact on a woman’s emotional well-being. Dealing with the physical changes and challenges that PCOS brings can be emotionally draining. People with PCOS may experience anxiety, depression, or a decrease in self-confidence. It is important to address these emotional symptoms alongside the physical ones to ensure comprehensive care.

Symptoms of PCOS

Women with PCOS may experience a range of symptoms, which can vary in severity. Common symptoms include irregular or absent periods, excessive hair growth (hirsutism), acne, weight gain, and, of course, PCOS hair loss. If you suspect you may have PCOS, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional who can perform a thorough evaluation and provide an accurate diagnosis.

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Diagnosis of PCOS

Diagnosing PCOS involves a combination of medical history assessment, physical examination, and laboratory tests. The healthcare professional will inquire about your menstrual cycle, symptoms, and any family history of PCOS or other hormonal disorders. They may also perform a pelvic examination to check for any abnormalities in the ovaries or uterus.

Laboratory tests are crucial in diagnosing PCOS. These tests may include blood tests to measure hormone levels, such as testosterone and insulin, as well as glucose tolerance tests. Ultrasound imaging may also be used to visualize the ovaries and identify the presence of cysts.

It is important to note that PCOS is a complex condition, and not all women with PCOS will experience the same symptoms or have the same severity of symptoms. The diagnosis and management of PCOS should be tailored to each individual’s specific needs and concerns.

The Connection Between PCOS and Hair Loss

PCOS hair loss is a distressing and common symptom of PCOS that affects many women. Understanding the connection between PCOS and hair loss involves delving into the intricate relationship between sex hormones used, hair growth cycles, and the impact of PCOS on the hair glands.

How PCOS Affects Hair

Hair growth occurs in cycles, with each hair strand going through a growth phase, a transitional phase, and a resting phase before falling out naturally. In women with PCOS, the hormonal imbalances disrupt the natural hair growth cycle, leading to excess hair growth, some hair thinning, and eventual female pattern hair loss.

When a woman has PCOS, her ovaries produce higher levels of androgens, which are male hormones that are also present in females. These androgens can interfere with the normal functioning of the hair, leading to hair falls, a condition called androgenic alopecia. Androgenic alopecia is the most common cause of female pattern hair loss with PCOS.

Furthermore, PCOS can also have hormone imbalance and lead to insulin resistance, a condition in which the body’s cells become less responsive to the hormone insulin. Insulin resistance can increase the production of androgens in the body, exacerbating the hair loss problem. This vicious cycle of hormonal imbalance and insulin resistance further contributes to the hair loss experienced by people with PCOS.

The Role of Hormones in PCOS Hair Loss

Hormones play a crucial role in healthy hair growth and health. Elevated levels of androgens, such as testosterone, in women with PCOS can lead to an overproduction of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This hormone can bind to hair glands and cause them to shrink.

In addition to androgens, other hormones such as estrogen and progesterone also play a role in hair growth. Women with PCOS often have imbalances in these hormones as well, further contributing to the disruption of the hair growth cycle. Estrogen, for example, promotes new hair growth, while progesterone helps to maintain the hair’s thickness and health. When these hormones are imbalanced, it can lead to hair thinning.

It’s important to note that the specific hormonal and underlying cause these imbalances vary from woman to woman with PCOS. Some may have higher levels of testosterone, while others may have higher levels of estrogen or progesterone. This individual variation in hormone levels can influence the severity and pattern of hair loss experienced by people with PCOS.

Furthermore, stress can also impact hormone levels and contribute to hair loss in women with PCOS. Chronic stress can disrupt the delicate balance of hormones in the body, exacerbating the hair loss problem. Finding effective stress management techniques, such as exercise, meditation, or therapy, can help mitigate the impact of stress on hair health.


PCOS related hair loss is multifaceted, involving hormonal imbalances, disrupted hair growth cycles, and the impact of insulin resistance. Understanding these factors can help women with PCOS better manage and address their hair loss concerns. By working with healthcare professionals and implementing lifestyle changes, such as a well balanced diet, regular exercise, and stress management, women with PCOS can take steps towards improving their hair and overall well-being.

PCOS cause Hair Loss

While the hormonal imbalances associated with PCOS are primarily responsible for losing hair, other genetic and environmental factors also can contribute to this condition.

PCOS, or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, is a hormonal disorder that affects many women worldwide. It is characterized by the presence of cysts on the ovaries, irregular periods, and various symptoms related to hormone imbalances. One of the distressing symptoms experienced by women with PCOS is hair loss.

The Impact of Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is a common feature of PCOS, where the body fails to respond effectively to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels, but in PCOS, the body becomes resistant to its effects. This not only disrupts glucose metabolism but also leads to increased androgen production.

In PCOS, the elevated levels of androgens, such as testosterone and DHT (dihydrotestosterone), can have detrimental effects on the hair follicles. These male hormones can bind to androgen receptors on the hair glands and trigger a process called follicular miniaturization.

Follicular miniaturization is a process where the hair glands shrink in size over time, leading to hair shedding and the gradual thinning of hair strands. As the hair glands become smaller and weaker, the hair renewal cycle is disrupted, and hair loss becomes more noticeable.

Consequently, insulin resistance can exacerbate hair loss in women with PCOS. The combination of hormonal imbalances and increased androgen production creates a perfect storm for hair loss to occur.

The Role of Androgens in Hair Loss

As mentioned earlier, elevated levels of androgens, specifically testosterone and excess DHT, contribute to hair loss in PCOS. These hormones can bind to androgen receptors on the hair glands and trigger a process called follicular miniaturization, leading to the gradual thinning of hair strands.

It is important to note that not all women with PCOS experience hair loss to the same extent. The severity of hair loss can vary depending on individual factors such as genetics, overall health, and the specific hormonal imbalances present in each person.

Managing hair loss related in PCOS can be challenging, but there are various medical treatments available. These may include medications that target hormonal imbalances, such other medications such sex hormones such as anti-androgens or oral contraceptives, as well as topical treatments that promote hair renewal.

Additionally, lifestyle changes can also play a significant role in managing hair loss in PCOS. Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and managing stress levels can all contribute to overall hormonal balance and improve hair.

In conclusion, female pattern hair loss in PCOS is a complex issue influenced by hormonal imbalances, specifically insulin resistance and elevated androgen levels. Understanding the underlying causes male pattern hair loss and seeking appropriate treatment can help women with PCOS manage and minimize the impact of hair loss on their overall well-being.

Treatments for Hair Loss and Bald Patches Due to PCOS

Dealing with hair loss can be a challenging experience, especially for women with PCOS. However, there are various treatment options available that can help manage and address this issue.

One of the most common treatment approaches for male pattern baldness in PCOS is through medications and therapies. Medical interventions that focus on treating the hormonal imbalances associated with PCOS can be effective in managing male pattern baldness. Anti-androgens, such as spironolactone or finasteride, are often prescribed to block the effects of androgens on the hair glands. By reducing the impact of these hormones, these medications can help slow down hair loss and promote hair regrowth too.

In addition to anti-androgens, topical minoxidil is another FDA-approved over-the-counter medication that can be used to stimulate the hair follicle growth. Minoxidil works by increasing blood flow to the hair glands, which can help revive dormant follicles and promote the growth of new hair.

While medications and therapies can be effective, lifestyle changes and natural remedies can also play a significant role in managing PCOS hair loss. Making certain adjustments to your lifestyle can contribute to minimizing PCOS hair loss and promoting more hair.

Regular exercise is one lifestyle change that can have a positive impact on hormonal balance. Engaging in physical activity on a regular basis can help regulate insulin levels and reduce the production of androgens, which can contribute to hair loss. Additionally, maintaining a balanced diet that is rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals is essential for promoting healthy hair. Including foods that are high in antioxidants, such as fruits and vegetables, can help protect the hair follicles from damage and promote their overall health.

Stress reduction techniques, such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises, can also be beneficial in managing hair loss. Chronic stress can disrupt hormonal balance and contribute to hair loss, so finding ways to relax and manage stress levels is important.

Adequate sleep is another crucial factor in maintaining hair regrowth. During sleep, the body repairs and rejuvenates itself, including the hair follicles. Lack of sleep can disrupt this process and lead to hair loss, so ensuring you get enough quality sleep each night is essential.

While scientific evidence supporting their efficacy is limited, some individuals have reported benefits from natural remedies such as essential oils and scalp massages. Essential oils like lavender, rosemary, and peppermint are believed to have properties that can promote hair renewal and improve scalp health. Massaging the scalp gently can help increase blood flow to the hair follicles, which can stimulate new hair.


There are various treatment options available for women with PCOS who are experiencing hair loss. From medications and therapies that target hormonal imbalances to lifestyle changes and natural remedies to treat hair loss, finding the right combination of treatments can help manage treat male pattern baldness and promote healthy hair renewal.

Coping with PCOS related Hair Loss

Living with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and experiencing thinning hair can have a significant impact on a woman’s emotional well-being. Coping strategies are essential in managing the emotional toll that this condition can take.

Emotional Impact and Support

Experiencing female pattern baldness can be emotionally distressing, affecting self-esteem, body image, and overall quality of life. The sudden change in appearance can lead to feelings of insecurity and loss of confidence. Women may find themselves questioning their femininity and attractiveness. It is important to acknowledge and address these emotions.

Seeking support from loved ones can make a world of difference. Sharing your feelings and concerns with family and friends can provide a sense of comfort and understanding. They can offer a listening ear, words of encouragement, and help you feel less alone in your journey. Additionally, joining support groups specifically tailored to PCOS related hair loss can be incredibly beneficial. These groups provide a safe space to connect with others who are going through similar experiences, share advice, and exchange coping strategies.

For some women, seeking professional counseling or therapy may be necessary to navigate the emotional challenges associated with PCOS related hair loss. A trained therapist can help you explore and process your emotions, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and regain a sense of self-worth and confidence.

Tips for Managing Female Pattern Hair Loss in Daily Life

Managing PCOS hair loss requires consistent effort and care. Simple practices can make a difference in maintaining hair and boosting self-esteem.

First and foremost, adopting a gentle hair care routine is crucial. Avoiding harsh chemical-laden products and opting for gentle moisturizing shampoos and conditioners can help minimize further damage to the hair. It is also advisable to avoid excessive heat styling, as heat can weaken the hair and lead to increased breakage. Embracing air-drying or using low-heat settings on styling tools can help protect the hair from unnecessary damage.

Experimenting with flattering hairstyles can also help women feel more confident and comfortable with their appearance. Consulting with a hairstylist who specializes in hair loss or has experience with PCOS can provide valuable insights and suggestions. They can recommend styles that work well with thinning hair, such as layered cuts or shorter lengths that create the illusion of volume.

For those seeking temporary cosmetic relief, there are various concealing products available in the market. Hair fibers, for example, are tiny, colored fibers that adhere to existing hair, making it appear fuller and thicker. These fibers are easily applied and provide an instant boost of confidence. Another option is wearing wigs or hairpieces, which can completely become body hair and transform your look. Also use natural bristle brushes and avoid tight hairstyles.

While managing hair loss is important, it is equally crucial to address the underlying hormonal imbalance caused by PCOS. Seeking medical advice from a healthcare professional specializing in PCOS is essential. They can provide guidance on treatment options, such as hormonal therapies or lifestyle changes, to help manage PCOS symptoms effectively.


PCOS is a complex hormonal disorder that affects many aspects of a woman’s health, including hair loss. Understanding the causes and treatment options for hair loss in people with PCOS is crucial in managing this symptom effectively. By seeking medical advice, embracing lifestyle changes, and adopting coping strategies, people with PCOS can regain control of their hair and overall well-being.

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Faye D. M.