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Is There a Correlation Between PCOS and Hair Loss?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (often abbreviated PCOS) is an endocrine condition in which there is an imbalance in a woman’s sex hormones, namely estrogen, progesterone, and androgens like testosterone. PCOS affects as many as 5 million women in the United States alone, and most women are diagnosed between age 20 and 30.  PCOS has a long list of devastating symptoms including acne, weight gain, infertility, ovarian cysts, and thinning hair on the top of the head.

Women suffering from PCOS have increased levels of testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the androgens responsible for hair loss in both male and female pattern baldness.  DHT attaches to receptors of healthy hair follicles causing them to shrink and eventually fall out, while the DHT-resistant hairs around the side of the head above the ears usually remains intact.  It is these DHT-resistant hair follicles that make the hair transplantation process a permanent solution for hair loss sufferers.

Although the cause of PCOS has not exactly been determined, most evidence points to it being a genetic disease. It is estimated that thousands of women with PCOS go undiagnosed each year, and having a mother or sister with PCOS increases your chances of developing PCOS symptoms. One of the most stressful symptoms of the disease is hair loss, and it can be very emotionally devastating to notice your hair thinning or falling out without noticeably growing back.

A PCOS diagnosis can be very stressful, but there are steps patients can take to manage the condition and slow their hair loss.  Eating a diet high in green leafy vegetables, eating healthy fats, and reducing sodium intake are great steps to keep hair strands intact, as well as getting plenty or rest, exercise, and managing stress levels.  Avoiding excessive heat styling, aggressive combing, brushing, and towel drying, and heavy styling products that build up on the scalp can also help negate the effects of PCOS.

If you are suffering from hair loss and are not exactly sure of the cause, Bosley suggests that you seek your physician’s advice & treatment recommendation first, and then set up a free consultation with a Bosley professional.  Once you find out which type of hair loss you are experiencing, our team of experts can help you find the appropriate solutions.

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