PCOS and Hair Loss
Excessive hair thinning is a severe challenge to a woman’s self image and her standing in society and business. Although we think of balding as a man’s problem, women actually make up forty percent of the people in North America experiencing the distress of excessive hair loss. Women losing significant scalp hair have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Safe, effective will also restore your hair to optimum wellness. I am delighted to provide you with these indispensable tools to help you revive your health and your hair.
Women lose ground fast in today’s world. At work and in her private life a woman’s appearance has much to do with her financial and social success. Men may prefer not to go bald. But since balding is known to be caused by elevated levels of testosterone, a person that was bald may be credited with additional virility. There’s absolutely no such happy story for balding women. The appearance of thinning scalp hair translates into a loss of personal power for women.
The community in general treats the hair loss as a health issue that is minor of women. Most physicians have little inclination to address. In many cases physicians treat balding as if it had been”only” a vanity issue; they might not recognize hair loss as a red flag pointing to serious metabolic conditions, including PCOS.
The psychological pain of hair loss and its effect on the sense of empowerment is as devastating as any disease. If you’re a lady that is balding, your hair loss is a life altering condition with consequences for your wellbeing. Driving yourself and getting your hands on the wheel is the first step toward reviving your sense of power and personal strength. The effort you make to restore your physical health will renew hair hair development if hair loss is part of PCOS.
You need expert support to diagnose the cause of your hair loss. Hair loss that might have been temporary may become permanent if you’ve got a diagnosis. Misdiagnoses is perhaps the most frustrating aspect of hair loss for women. The information I present here will help you determine the cause of your hair loss and ideally lead you and your doctors to appropriate treatments for your kind of hair loss, sooner rather than later.
Alopecia is the medical term for abnormal or excessive hair loss. There are different kinds of alopecia. What all baldness has in common, whether it’s in men or women, is that it’s always a symptom. Your hair will stay on your head if some other condition, disease, or hormone imbalance isn’t occurring, where it belongs. That condition may be as simple as having a gene that makes you susceptible to female or male pattern baldness. Or it may be as complex as a whole host of diseases. Hair loss may be an indication of a short-term event like anxiety, pregnancy, or a side effect of certain medications. In these situations, hair grows back when the occasion has passed. Substances including hormones and medication can cause a change in the hair growth patterns. Growth and shedding occur at the exact same time when this occurs. Hairs go back to their pattern of growth and shedding, and balding stops, once the cause is dealt with.
Alopecia: A Problem
The most common causes of baldness in women can include:
- Essential fatty acid deficiency from a low calorie diet or eating disorders
- Mineral or vitamin deficiency – biotin, zinc, manganese, iron, vitamin B6
- Protein deficiency, as is common with vegetarian diets
- Anemia from a low iron diet, poor digestion or any blood loss
- Eating disorders, like anorexia, bulimia, even’yo-yo’ dieting; also compulsive or excessive exercise
- Drug toxicity, for Example anesthesia with chemotherapy or surgery for cancer
- Prescription drugs have hair loss as a potential’side’ effect, anti-cholesterol brokers, such as bromocriptine, beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, amphetamines
- Acute infections, either viral or bacterial
- Stress, either a sudden extreme event or long term challenges
- Any disorder that is hypothalamic or pituitary
- Any liver, thyroid gland
- Any sexual steroid imbalance such as estrogen dominance, low progesterone, testosterone that is excessive or insulin
- Starting or stopping any hormone therapy, such as menopausal hormone replacement treatment, birth control pills or thyroid hormone replacement
- Any event that causes hormone changes, like child birth, breastfeeding and weaning or menopause
- Perms bleach, pulling on the hair
- Allergies to foods, medicines substances or medication
- Autoimmune disease like multiple sclerosis or lupus
- Hepatitis B shot. There may be a connection because this hair loss started if you had a Hep B vaccine. An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (278:117-8, 1997) joins the Hep B vaccine to increased incidence of alopecia in women.
How can an individual woman figure out why she is losing too much of her hair? To understand that, it is important to understand how hair grows.
Hair Grows in Cycles
A single strand of hair will grow for two. Eventually each hair”rests” for a little while, and then falls out. That follicle will begin developing a new strand after. A scalp will let about 100 of those cycling hairs fall.
In folks with a genetic predisposition to hair loss, and for women with PCOS, hormones called androgens drive this procedure. Androgen hormones include testosterone, androsteinedione, and dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Men use large amounts of androgens and make. Appropriate, smaller amounts of androgens are crucial to the health of women .
In those who are genetically susceptible, testosterone triggers enzymes produced in the hair cell, which then cause it to be converted into the more potent androgen DHT. DHT then binds with receptors deep within the hair follicle. Finally, DHT that is so much builds up that the follicle begins shrinking. New hair can’t be produced by it . A few of the follicles stop producing hairs. The end result is hair loss. The medical term for this condition is alopecia. Testosterone converts to DHT with the aid of the enzyme Type II 5-alpha reductase, which is held in the oil glands of a hair follicle. It’s not the quantity of circulating testosterone that’s the problem but the amount of DHT and scalp follicles that are shrinking, which makes it impossible for hair that is healthy to endure.
The procedure for testosterone converting to DHT, which then hurts hair follicles, occurs in both women and men. Women have a fraction of the amount of testosterone that men make. An increase in hormone levels triggered by other or lifestyle factors, will cause DHT- triggered baldness in women. If you are extremely sensitive to normal levels of compounds, including hormones the levels may not rise at all and still be a problem.
Because our hormones function via a finely balanced comments system, together with signals sent via the blood between the brain and body tissues, androgens do not need to be raised to activate a problem.
Hormones are changing. Testosterone levels in men drop by as much as 10 percent each decade after age thirty. Women’s hormone levels shift with every menstrual cycle, or due to a lack of menses, in pregnancies and menopause. Excessive exercise, eating disorders, drugs and toxins may also impact hormone levels.
Keys To Successful Treatment
In changing the habits you might have that support androgens treatment of thinning scalp hair has to be grounded. Diet and exercise are key to maintaining hormone balance. For women with PCOS, in fact, research is clear- there is no drug therapy better than exercise and diet. First, you get your health habits that are foundational in order; then, therapies that are specific have the best chance of being successful for you.
Women with PCOS may have coarse dark hair on body and their face. The only way to cover the black, coarse hair that grows out of follicles which have already been changed by excessive androgens, is to destroy the follicle with laser or similar treatment. Once the type of hair it produces has changed, it won’t change back. It’s crucial to tame the excess androgens and protect against conversion of additional follicles, before investing in a therapy to permanently ruin facial or body hair follicles.
What Causes Women to Lose Too Scalp Hair?
For a long time doctors believed that androgenic alopecia has been the primary cause of balding in women and men. We know that the process which leads to hair loss in women is different. It is called female pattern baldness.
A significant distinction between male and female balding is the pattern where the hair loss occurs. Female pattern baldness tends to happen as an overall thinning across every area of the scalp, such as the back and sides. Men lose hair like the temple which spot at the back of the head. Male and female hormone and enzyme receptor sites can also be in different areas of the scalp, causing the various sex related loss patterns of baldness.
A second difference is that balding in men is usually caused his era and by a person’s genetics, but for women, balding may happen at any age.
Lifestyle Illness Choices and Health Care Treatments Cause Hair Loss
Most women with hair loss have. Sex hormone fluctuations are responsible for many female hair loss, including those who have PCOS, a recent pregnancy, menopause, hormone replacement therapy or birth control drug side effects. Chemotherapy for cancer medications, iron- deficiency anemia, autoimmune disease can cause hair loss. Any disorder involving hormone producing glands, including the thyroidgland, the adrenal and pituitary glands may trigger balding in women. Before engaging any treatment it is essential for all women to learn the cause of the baldness.
The complex hormonal changes that accompany polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) often result in scalp hair loss. Sometimes hair loss is the first sign that a woman is suffering the metabolic disease that also causes problems with acne, body and facial hair growth, irregular menstrual cycles and infertility. PCOS is associated with increased risk of some cancers, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Autoimmune disorders will result in somewhat different hair loss known as alopecia areata — an inflammatory condition in which hair comes out in clumps or patches.
Any fall in estrogen levels, as occurs after pregnancy, with menopause, or when changing your hormone treatment including birth control pill use, will cause what’s called alopecia. In contrast to testosterone, estrogen helps scalp hair grow faster and stay on the head longer, resulting in hair that is thicker. This is the reason when estrogen levels are quite high sheds weeks after the baby is born, women’s hair becoming fuller during pregnancy.
For women who do not have hormone changes, estrogen-deficiency scalp baldness generally starts around menopause. This form of hair loss can be the first indication of approaching menopause. Sometimes the alopecia will not start until a few months or years after menstruation has finished. Most although not all women get alopecia after menopause have a little thinning.
It’s not uncommon to have multiple factors involved in hair loss. Not only does hypothyroidism contribute to weight problems, it can contribute to hair thinning. Some women with PCOS have an excessively high level of testosterone and an under active thyroid.
If your hair is thinning, you might have heavy metals such as mercury lead or cadmium in your tissues. These residues saturate our environment. You may be contaminated, In case you have lived near what is, or ever was an industrial or mining site, or lived with somebody who works in a industry. In case you have ever smoked tobacco, then you have a lot of cadmium in your system.
The vast majority of women with alopecia have diffuse thinning on all regions of the scalp. Some women may have a combination of two pattern types. Androgenic alopecia is caused by many different factors tied to the actions of hormones such as PCOS, using pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause. Any blood glucose and insulin hormone imbalance will result in excess androgens.
Women with insulin resistance, from of carbohydrate foods that is refined, will see effect. Insulin resistance is associated with PCOS as well as Type 2 diabetes. Stress that depletes glands can change the levels of androgens a woman produces as well. This is frequently the source of problems like infertility, acne and hair thinning in lean women with PCOS. Heredity may play a part in androgenic alopecia.
You will notice this change in the rate of hair loss 6 months to three month after the stressful event. This is known as telogen effluvium. It’s possible to lose bunches of hair daily with telogen effluvium that is full-blown. Usually this sort of hair loss is reversible, if stressors are avoided. For some women however, telogen effluvium is a disorder that is mysterious and may persist for months or years, without completely identifying each the triggering factors.
When the hair follicle cells are so damaged they can not recover or reproduce, anagen effluvium occurs. This is usually due to toxicity of chemotherapy for cancer. Anagen effluvium usually means the hair shaft narrows to the follicle as a consequence of damage. The shaft breaks off at the narrowing and leads to the loss of hair.
If the condition is detected early enough, you may change your styling clinic to be gentler on the follicles, and your hair will regrow.
Contraceptives are other symptoms in women and a primary cause of hair loss that is distressing.
Unfortunately, many girls are given contraceptive pills even when they are not sexually active, as a’treatment’ for acne or irregular menses. This is a mistake. This is not a treatment that addresses the underlying cause of pimples or difficulty periods. Hormones will complicate a woman’s hormone balance and may lead to a lot of health issues, including substantial hair loss and worsening acne.
All drugs that are contraceptive use synthetic hormones to suppress ovulation. There are many long and short -term consequences to ovarian suppression. Most women experience side effects using contraceptive drugs, including hair loss either during or several weeks or months after stopping the medication.
In order to treat baldness, it’s crucial to know your hair follicles aren’t healthy. There are diagnostic tests that may help identify the biochemistry that’s currently contributing to your hair loss. However, many women with significant chemical imbalances linked to their baldness will find that these test results are within the”normal” range. That’s because in most instances hair loss represents a period of ill-health that is an early stage of a disease that will eventually completely grow. The lifestyle and dietary habits which eventually result in Type 2 diabetes and heart disease will cause scalp baldness and hair coarsening in young girls. Before these same women have tests that reveal they are diabetic or have coronary artery 22, it is usually many years.
Selective Sensitivity is the inherent problem
Another reason why tests may be confusing is because of something called ‘selective sensitivity’ or’selective resistance’. It turns out that some body cells are more sensitive than others to the amounts of hormone. A major complicating factor for some women is that while fat and her muscle may be resistant kinds of organ cells are not. The high levels of androgens in turn increase risk for diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers.
Despite these difficulties that are possible, it is necessary to do our best to determine what is and is not the cause of a symptom like persistent hair loss.
The hair pull test is a simple diagnostic test in which the physician gently pulls a small amount of hair (approx. 100 simultaneously) so as to determine if there is excessive loss. Range is zero to three hairs each pull.
Hormone levels: Dehydroepiandrosterone, testosterone, androstenedione, prolactin, sex hormone binding globulin, follicular stimulating hormone, and luteinizing hormone. It is ideal to sample for FSH and LH on day 19 to 21 of your menstrual cycle, even if those days could be identified.
- Fasting insulin levels and blood sugar as well as cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- A complete blood count plus ferritin, serum iron and total iron binding capacity
- Thyroid stimulating hormone and a thyroid function panel including T3, T4, and T3 % uptake
- VDRL to screen for syphilis
- Before picking surgical transplant, A scalp biopsy should be done
- Densitometry, a magnification device, used check for shrinking of the hair shaft.
- Conventional Medical Remedies For Hair Loss
You may be interested in drug therapies of surgery to deal with the profound distress of excessive hair loss. It’s simply human nature to hope for a pill or procedure that will free us. Unfortunately drugs never offer a solution that is very simple. As soon as a chemical is swallowed by you, it is delivered all over your body; it affects your entire body. So that they have we can’t control drugs – there are always side effects which are problematic. Using drug therapy means trading one problem for a number of others. Sometimes this is the right thing. Other times it is a personal disaster. All your tissues will be acted on by drugs there is. Topical treatments applied directly to the scalp use the lowest doses, and are the least dangerous drug choices.
When you begin any treatment as soon as possible after hair loss begins, you may enjoy the results. Stopping the effects of androgens means you can prevent further hair loss. And you’ll be able to encourage regrowth from the follicles which were dormant. Based on how the agent you choose works, stopping treatment will bring about the hair loss resuming, unless you have also made other changes in your lifestyle that keep androgens in a level that is healthy and not harmful to you.
Below you’ll find a listing of treatments currently being used to treat hair loss in women. Some of these drugs have not been approved by the FDA for this particular application, however they have all been approved for other applications and are used”off label” to treat baldness.
The effectiveness of the agents and methods will differ from woman to woman, but many women have found that using these remedies has made a difference in the character of the hair and their self-esteem that is positive. As always, remedies have the best chance of being effective if they are geared to hair growth that is triggering as well as to the cause of the hair loss.
The production of ovarian androgens wills reduce, and thus can be used to treat the androgenic alopecia of women. There are reasons to prevent the use of synthetic or bio-identical hormone treatments. Some birth control pills really contribute by raising it once it has been triggered by something else or triggering it. Any woman that is individual may have a sensitivity to some hormone mix – what’s a low androgen effect formula for one woman.
I am able to recommend using birth control pills or other hormone-based contraception to young women. Decades of evidence suggest there are loads of known, and possibly as yet unknown health risks associated with the use of ANY from of hormones, either prescription or over-the-counter forms. It is clear that the advantages of hormonal contraceptives are accompanied by risks, including making it much more probable that a woman will experience hormone imbalances that lead to a long list of effects that are negative. Hormone replacement puts you are risk for:
Other or depression mood disorders;
- Diminished libido
- Migraines and headaches
- Breast lumps, tenderness and enlargement
- Vaginal bleeding between periods
- High cholesterol
- Blood clot in the leg pain in the calf; leg cramps; foot or leg swelling
- Blood clot in the lung, felt as: shortness of breath; sharp chest pain; coughing up blood
- Heart attack chest pain or heaviness
- Sudden loss of vision or vision changes, which can be a sign of a blood clot in the eye
- Cerebral vascular accident (a stroke): impaired vision or speech; weakness or numbness in a limb; acute headache
- Damage, seen as: skin or yellow eyes; dark urine; abdominal pain
- Allergic reaction: rash; hives; itching; swelling; difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Bloating, nausea and vomiting
- Changes in your eyes that make it difficult to wear contact lenses
If you picked a hormone prescription for any reason, you should make certain to use just low-androgen content methods. In case you’ve got a predisposition for any organ cancer, insulin resistance, diabetes, heart disease or hair loss in your family I recommend the use of another non-hormonal form of birth control.
The hormonal contraceptives have a possibility of making it worse or causing hair loss:
Progestin implants, such as Norplant, are rods surgically implanted under your skin. The rods release a continuous dose of progestin to prevent ovarian function.
It releases estrogen and progestin to prevent your ovaries from producing cycles.
This procedure releases the lowest amounts of progestin and estrogen.
Minoxidil 2% Topical Treatment – Minoxidil seems to be more effective for women than men, for increasing scalp hair growth. The manufacturers of minoxidil recommend minoxidil is used by women. A solution is available that has been tested and found safe enough for guys. Because the manufacturers of minoxidil haven’t invested in the expense of gaining FDA approval for promoting minoxidil for use by women, it must be prescribed and used under a physician’s supervision. Small clinical trials on 5 percent minoxidil for women reveal that the 5% solution is in fact more effective in both retaining and regrowing hair than the 2% solution.
Spironolactone (Aldactone) is a potassium-sparing diuretic used to treat high blood pressure and swelling. Spironolactone slows the production of androgens from ovaries and the adrenal glands. It prevents DHT from follicles.
Advanced Trichology DHT Blocker with Immune Support can be used as a more readily accessible, natural DHT blocker.
It prevents the stomach from producing digestive enzymes. Cimetidine also has been shown to block DHT from binding to hair follicle receptor websites.
Cyproterone acetate is used to reduce aggression. Acetate blocks DHT in hair follicle receptors. It isn’t available in america and has significant toxicity and long term side effects.
Ketoconazole is a prescription therapy. For treating skin fungus, It’s largely used. It inhibits production of androgens by ovaries, testicles and glands. There is an version. It has active ingredient and is not as effective as prescription strength. Most commonly found in Nizoral A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo.
Finasteride is a drug that inhibits the enzyme 5-alpha reductase. It is marketed as Proscar to treat prostate enlargement. Sold as Propecia the FDA for balding approves it. It should not be taken by women if they’re pregnant or might become pregnant because of the risk of feminization effects on a male fetus.
Since hair restoration surgery is an option for the majority of the men, women might want to consider it. The sort with makes hair transplants a terrible idea.
Women have the type of baldness that make them candidates for a solution. Hair is lost by most men for the classic round spot on the surface of the skull or instance the receding forehead. Clumps or plugs of hair are removed from areas where follicles are stable and plentiful, and these are transplanted to other regions of the head. Women experience an overall thinning across their whole scalp, including the back and sides. The majority of women have few secure donor sites. Offering to transplant hair from unstable donor sites is unethical about balding to get in the way of a cool and women must not allow their distress – look at the reason for treatment options provided.
Are any women candidates for hair transplant? 2% to 5% of women, A small percentage will have. They are:
Girls who have scalp scars from some sort of cosmetic or wound wish to fix hair loss around the incision or injury sites and surgery.
Women who have stable and healthy donor sites along with thinning on the very top of their head or balding in a pattern that is distinct, like a receding hairline.
Natural Treatments for Women’s Hair Loss
Safe, therapies that are effective are available to help you restore scalp health and increase hair growth. Like all therapies, so as to be effective, it is essential to work with you. Some treatments will be useful for you based upon your personal physical, mental and emotional health status. It is always important to spend your medical care dollars well. I offer a consultation service to assist you select and make best use of the available options for treatment. Please visit your local ND to find out how to benefit from a consultation. You will receive recommendations your scalp hair to it’s fullest and most enjoyable attractiveness, and for specific therapies, designed for your unique health status, so you can restore your health.