Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Can it Trigger Hair Loss?

    As a number of us battle to retain our hair through various ways, there are other medical conditions that trigger hair loss indirectly. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, also known as PCOS is a common reproductive health condition that affects 80% of women, though its severity differs.

    What is PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)?

    Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is generally a hormone-related disorder that leads to the development of numerous cysts in the ovaries of a woman. These cysts tend to be small in size, but can enlarge and cause various complications, including infertility.

    These cysts are normally filled with liquid and burst or dissolve by themselves during the normal menstrual cycle. Cases where these cysts prevail and increase in number, they can lead to other conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and endometrial cancer.

    What’s the actual cause of PCOS?

    Medical experts are still unaware of the actual cause of PCOS, but the condition is associated with hormonal imbalances. There is also a genetic link, meaning that one’s chances of battling PCOS increases in case her mother, sisters, or female relatives have ever suffered from the condition.

    To elaborate on hormonal imbalances- women have various hormones such as; estrogen, progesterone, LH, and FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) that aid in the preparation of the womb for pregnancy. Apart from these hormones, they also have testosterone, though in a very low amount as compared to males. This hormone is responsible for maintaining muscle strength and mass as well as enhance the sex drive.

    Women with elevated levels of testosterone, LH, and prolactin have less than the required Sex Hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). In the same way, their testosterone level increases, which pave a way for hair loss.

    Do I have PCOS?

    You may never know that you have PCOS until you get examined by a gynecologist or a fertility expert. Currently, PCOS victims seeking IVF treatment are escalating due to infertility that the condition triggers. The commonest symptoms of PCOS include;

    • Irregular or heavy Periods

    • Acne

    • Multiple cysts in the ovaries

    • Mood swings

    • Hirsutism

    • Hair loss (Scalp Alopecia)

    • Sleep apnoea

    • Anxiety

    • Depression

    • Darkening of the skin

    • Weight Gain or Obesity (Metabolic syndrome)

    PCOS Diagnosis & Treatment

    Through regular examinations, your doctor may diagnose you with PCOS through a pelvic exam. That is generally through the symptoms and your medical history. In other cases, blood tests to evaluate your insulin and cholesterol levels are performed.

    An ultrasound to look at your entire reproductive system may also be conducted to check for PCOS.

    When it comes to treatment, a number of approaches are considered to reduce the effects and complications of PCOS. These include

    • Weight loss programme

    • Clomifene

    • Metformin

    • Regular exercises

    • Diet alteration

    • Contraceptive pills

    • Lifestyle changes

    • Surgery

    To extract the oversized cysts, a laparoscopic surgery, which is minimally invasive is conducted to improve a woman’s pregnancy chances. Women with PCOS induced infertility may be helped via IVF treatment, where hormonal drugs are provided to stimulate the ovaries in order to extract multiple eggs.

    These eggs are fertilized in a Petri dish with the male sperm after which a viable embryo is taken back to the woman’s womb for development.

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