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Excess Hair Growth and Loss due to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

By HERWriter
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Hair growth and loss often give us clues that something may be out of balance in our bodies. As a young woman, I had irregular periods and developed extra facial hair that I had removed by electrolysis. I had always had irregular periods and as a teenager was examined by doctors who could not find anything wrong. Many years later I was told I had polycystic ovaries which must have been the cause of that unwelcome mustache that tried to grow on my face.

Normally, our ovaries produce very small amounts of male hormones (androgens) in addition to the major female hormone of estrogen. However, in PCOS, this balance becomes disrupted and a greater amount of male hormone is produced. The increased male hormone level causes the ovaries to stop ovulating by suppressing estrogen production. Additionally, the male hormones can stimulate increased facial hair to grow that is thicker and darker than usual and even cause hair growth on other parts of the body such as the chest, back and abdomen. Some women develop facial acne despite being long past their teens.

The continued higher levels of male hormone can also contribute to hair thinning in women and possibly baldness in the same way this occurs to men. "Often these women are also suffering with polycystic ovary syndrome, and sometimes their hair loss is the only obvious sign." according to Ricardo Azziz, MD, director of the Center for Androgen-Related Disorders at the Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles reported in WebMD

Treatment for PCOS first pays attention to other common health issues that may occur with this syndrome such as high blood pressure, insulin regulation for diabetes risk and other hormone imbalances. There is no “cure” for PCOS.

In terms of controlling hair issues, treatment with birth control pills that regulate the body’s hormones may reduce facial hair and acne. If your hair and skin problems are more severe, doctors can add “Spironalactone” which will further reduce the androgen levels. Neither of these medications is used if pregnancy is desired.

Of course there are traditional hair removal methods such as the electrolysis, topical hair waxers or depilatories. Laser light is also a new method aimed to reduce hair growth though it can be expensive. There is even a prescription cream called Vaniqa to reduce facial hair your doctor can prescribe.

It can be frustrating for women who struggle with hair growth issues. Sometimes it is a relief just to know the reason behind excess growth or loss even though the original cause can not be solved.



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Add a Comment10 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

If you have been diagnosed with PCOS their is something really important to look in to not just choosing to go with natural medicines.

July 9, 2014 - 8:50am

To those people who are suffering with hair loss and PCOS problems this is something I know you would really want to hear. If you have irregular periods, PCOS symptoms, hair loss, etc. that means your hormones are all imbalanced. 90 percent of women's issues are hormonal and it's due to environmental exposures. You can take supplements of black cohosh which helps to balance the hormones. You can also try a complete system for PCOS from here www.insulitelabs.com. If you have irregular periods you can try something called vitex chasta berry. Many women find this supplement helpful which helps to get your period back to normal. I hope these helps.


January 6, 2013 - 6:10pm
EmpowHER Guest

Here's more that I have found on Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: http://yupside.com/web/Polycystic%20Ovary%20Syndrome.html

December 20, 2012 - 11:03am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

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May 14, 2014 - 8:55pm

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June 16, 2012 - 8:57pm

If you have been diagnosed with PCOS their is something really important to look in to not just choosing to go with natural medicines. I was told that having PCOS means your DHEA level is high and high DHEA has such symptoms. High DHEA means you have a benign tumor near kidneys or another region in the body. Once the adenoma is removed the DHEA goes back to normal range and symptoms goes back to normal. I'm seeing my doctor for this soon.

World Vitae if you see this message I have just sent you a private message I'm really interested in your topic and it's really important to me. I will wait for your response by message.


June 15, 2012 - 9:47pm

I was diagnosed with borderline PCOS about 9 months ago, and it was simultaneously scary and revealing. Finally I had something to explain why I had such irregular periods, hair loss, and severe skin darkening (melasma). I quickly and actively took measures into my own hands to clean up my diet: no more grains, no more processed foods, no more sugar, no more dairy, no more GMOs, and as much organic as possible.

Meanwhile, after 3 years of trying to remove the skin darkening with all sorts of traditional medicine, I finally found something (a supplement!) that corrected the hormonal imbalance, cleared my skin, and made my hair grow back in thicker & stronger than ever. Another bonus? My boobs are bigger.
No joke.
PM if you want to know what it was.

June 15, 2012 - 11:08am
EmpowHER Guest

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March 29, 2012 - 1:31am
EmpowHER Guest

Thanks for such an interesting article here. I was searching for something like that for quite a long time and at last I have found it here. I had been searching on this topic for a long while but I was not able to find great resources like that. Now I feel very confidence by your tips about that, I think you have chosen a great way to write some info on this topic. Thanks for sharing.

March 25, 2012 - 4:42am
EmpowHER Guest

Additionally, the male hormones can stimulate increased facial hair to grow that is thicker and darker than usual and even cause hair growth on other parts of the body such as the chest, back and abdomen.

October 10, 2011 - 4:37am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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