Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal condition common in women within their reproductive years. While the exact cause of PCOS isn’t known, factors that can increase your predisposition to this condition include:
– Excess insulin produced by the pancreas
– Excess androgen (male hormone)
– Low-grade inflammation
It’s estimated that 10% of American women experience this condition, which must be diagnosed by a women’s health provider. For many women affected, PCOS may include symptoms that affect hair growth.
Female Pattern Hair Loss (Androgenic Alopecia)
If you’ve noticed expanding patchy or bald spots that are struggling to grow new hair, the underlying reason could be hormonal or related to PCOS. If you’ve been diagnosed with this condition, PCOS may increase your levels of androgen, a hormone that supports your body’s development through puberty and stimulates the growth of underarm and pubic hair. As the ovaries develop into cysts, excess androgen is produced. This increase in androgen production can also lead to thinning hair on your scalp, which can develop into baldness in severe cases.
Hair loss linked to PCOS likely will not grow back on its own. However, platelet rich plasma therapy and other hair loss treatments have been proven effective to help combat thinning hair and female pattern hair loss.
Excess Face and Body Hair (Hirsutism)
On the opposite side, PCOS can also lead to excess hair growth throughout the body, including the face, arms, neck, chest, and abdomen. Known as hirsutism, this phenomenon of excess hair growth in abnormal places is also linked to increased androgen production. You may also notice more aggressive breakouts that require professional acne treatment if you’ve been diagnosed with PCOS. Pay attention to the growth rate of stray chin or facial hairs throughout your menstrual cycle, and schedule an appointment with your OB-GYN if you’re concerned about potential hormonal issues. You can schedule laser hair removal with a dermatologist to explore options that can work for your hair and skin type.
The doctors at The Dermatology Clinic can help you navigate your options for restoring a healthier head of hair or treating excess body hair due to issues with PCOS. Schedule an appointment today at our Baton Rouge or Walker clinic to meet with one of our board-certified dermatologists and discuss your treatment options.