Polycystic ovary syndrome and the effects it can have on your hair.

Polycystic ovary syndrome and the effects it can have on your hair.  

It is suggested that 50% of women who suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome can easily go undiagnosed. Even though the symptoms of PCOS can be quite vast, one of them including hair loss.  

This article created by Bloomsbury of London has been particularly written to help you understand and verify the signs and symptoms of this condition to distinguish whether the reason you are suffering from hair loss is due to PCOS. When reading this we strongly advise that you seek medical advice from either your Dr, GP or trichologist.   

What is Polycystic ovary syndrome  

Polycystic ovary syndrome is estimated to affect around 1 – in 10 women of the childbearing- age, women in their teens are usually diagnosed around this age. Polycystic ovary syndrome is quite common, annoyingly it is still unanswered the cause of this condition. It is said that PCOS is a hereditary condition that can be passed down from your parents.  

Women that are diagnosed with PCOS will generally experience enlargement of their ovaries causing follicular cysts, which can be related to a certain amount of hormone levelling in the body mostly known as insulin (the function in your body that regulates your sugar levels) having PCOS means your body produces more than it generally should because it is more resistant to the action of insulin.  

Because of this, your body is forced to produce an excess of testosterone, an androgen hormone that controls male characteristics. Although women carry a small amount of this hormone polycystic ovaries force a woman's body to produce more at a high level. 

Unfortunately, the vicious cycle continues as resistance to insulin causes you to gain weight, which then contributes to your body producing more insulin leading to the unwanted hormone level.  

Getting a diagnosis 

There is still no specific test or examination that is performed to diagnose PCOS, which explains the reason behind an undiagnosed in many people. However, once you seek medical advice explaining the symptoms you are experiencing, your doctor will be able to suspect the signs and carry out a further examination. These tests may include, blood and hormone tests or an ultrasound exam.  

What are the symptoms?  

The following symptoms are some of the most common when diagnosing PCOS; 

  • Heavy or irregular periods
  • Skin problems such as acne or oily skin 
  • High Blood Pressure 
  • Noticeably Darkened skin patches particularly around the neck, groin or armpit area
  • Conception problems due to the high level of testosterone in the body which can have a negative effect on the ovaries. 
  • And lastly, hair loss from your scalp, another unfair aspect of PCOS can cause excess hair growth in unwanted places such as your stomach, breast or on your face. This is caused by the high level of androgens also known as hirsutism. 

So, hair loss and PCOS why are they connected?  

Researchers suggest the reason behind hair loss in connection with being diagnosed with polycystic ovaries, is that the body is producing a high level of testosterone, particularly for women, meaning that the testosterone converts it to a very popular cause of hair loss known as dihydrotestosterone also known as DHT. DHT is a known contributory factor that causes your hair follicle to shrink, making new hairs thinner and finer eventually leading to hair loss altogether. 

Have a look at this detailed page on DHT. 


Women who are suffering from PCOS related hair loss will usually be diagnosed and be prescribed with a one or a few different of the following products/medication, this is because PCOS tends to manifest in its own way and can affect one person differently to another person. When it comes to the symptoms some people may only experience one whereas some may experience more at one time, therefore the symptoms that they are complaining about will need to be treated.  

  • Minoxidil (Rogaine) –  medication used to promote hair growth when high blood pressure occurs, read more on this here https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/hair-loss/hair-loss-treatments#1


  • Propecia (Flutamide) – a prescribed drug used to prevent the conversion of testosterone to DHT in the body. Have a look in detail here https://www.drugs.com/propecia.html 


  • Oral Contraception – contraceptive pills can be used to lower androgen levels, which can also reduce excess hair growth and slow down the effects of hair loss.  It can also help to reduce irregular periods and acne, some of the common symptoms of Polycystic ovary syndrome. 


  • Spironolactone (Aldactone) – this oral medication that can be effective for treating androgenetic alopecia, by blocking the effects of androgen on the skin. Spironolactone is generally prescribed together with an oral contraceptive. 

Another product that can be prescribed can be known as metformin a medication usually prescribed to people who suffer from diabetes.  

Metformin is used to help your body become sensitive to insulin, in the result of your insulin levels drop, this will then contribute to a fall in your testosterone levels, reducing the overall effects it has on your body.  

You must bear in mind that the medications mentioned above can be a cause for concern as they do not treat the cause, but they are there to treat the symptoms of PCOS. 

However, fortunately, there are many other methods that can use and as part of your day to day life that can help to tackle the effects of hair loss due to polycystic ovary syndrome.  

Healthy Diet and Lifestyle  

Suggesting that switching to a healthy diet and lifestyle can help to control polycystic ovary syndrome can seem to be more simplistic, however, it is important to understand that the connection is clear, and the obesity rate correlates with the rising rate of people experiencing Polycystic ovary syndrome.  Which can show the important role your diet plays.  

Unfortunately, because of this, the vicious circle continues as PCOS can cause you to crave foods that are high in carbohydrates and fats. It is sometimes best to avoid extreme dieting but to simply concentrate on making food choices that are healthier and to maintain a healthy blood sugar level.  

Additionally, foods that are high in healthy fats and protein are good for you the condition and growth of your hair, even if you are not suffering from PCOS.  

“In this case, it is best to eat little and often” 

Foods high in proteins are advised in order to keep fuller for longer, Studies have shown that eggs are packed with protein and can help with weight loss, but also keep you fuller for longer.  

Other foods that are high in protein; 

-    Chicken or Turkey  

-    Lentils  

-    Nuts  

-    Fish  

-    Greek Yoghurt 

When it comes to craving fatty foods, try the following as these are healthy fats; 

-    Avocados  

-    Fatty fish such as sardines, mackerel, salmon and trout.  

-    Coconut oil  

-    Nuts  

-    Olive oil 

It is also known that physical activities such as walking, gym workouts, or dancing can also contribute to a healthy lifestyle.  


Although the intake of nutrients is not usually prescribed by doctors, some nutrients can play an important role in controlling PCOS. These nutrients can include the following:  

-    Magnesium  

-    Copper  

-    Zinc  

-    Chromium  

Other ways to control PCOS 

There are many other ways of normalizing your hormones to help control the experience of suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome without having to use medication.  


It has been researched that women who smoke tend to have higher male hormone levels, which as explained above can be one of the main causes of polycystic ovary syndrome.  


Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol can have a negative impact on PCOS so it is best to avoid alcohol as much as possible.  

Avoid Stress & sleep well 

As much as it is easier said than done, lack of sleep and stress can contribute to your health, and cause a negative impact.   

Other recommendation that can contribute to keeping your hormone levels low to decrease PCOS related hair loss.  

If you are a PCOS suffering it is time to take particular care of your hair. Avoid using harsh chemicals e.g. perms, hair dyes and bleach, it is also recommended switching to products that do not contain sulphates or alcohol.  

Opting for a shampoo that is good for hair loss, hairmax offers a range of shampoos and other products for thinning/ hair loss.  

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms related to polycystic ovary syndrome we always advise that it is best to seek medical advice from a professional.  

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