Polycystic ovary syndrome – better known as PCOS – is a very scary-sounding term for a generally common condition which affects the workings of a woman’s ovaries. Irregular periods and enlarged ovaries are two of the three main symptoms – and you can find out more about them on the NHS website – but we’re going to address the third one in greater detail, which can lead to hair loss.
The third symptom
Said third symptom is a hormonal imbalance which leads to the production of excess androgens and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) – in other words, your body is flooded with higher levels of ‘male’ hormones. And, just as in men, an overproduction in androgen can result in excess hair on the body and less hair on the head.
DHT is a particularly nasty culprit: it attaches itself to hair follicles and stunts that hair’s ability to grow and produce new hair.
Can PCOS be treated?
There is no cure for PCOS, but the symptoms can be treated. However, while the excessive hair growth can be medicated, there is no quick fix for the hair loss.
The one thing that can help your hair grow back is a lifestyle change, which includes diet, exercise and stress management. Going through your regular diet, junking the refined, high-fat and sugary foods and replacing them with the right vegetables, healthy fats and a balance of carbs and proteins can help with recovery from PCOS. So can cutting your caffeine intake.
A fresh approach to exercise can help fend off the worst excesses of PCOS. Certain experts recommend circuit and resistance training that’s specifically tailored to getting your heart rate up, in order to burn fat and release the extra testosterone you’re producing. Others swear by yoga. And one very extremely important thing to do is minimise your stress levels.