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PCOS and Hair Loss: A Comprehensive Guide to Causes and Cures

PCOS hair loss can happen either because you have PCOS or because of the medications you use to treat the disorder. PCOS can create various physical and emotional challenges. Among one of the most exhausting ones is PCOS hair loss since it’s more noticeable. 

So, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide/manual about hair loss from PCOS  in the hopes that it’ll help clear up most of your questions.

Before jumping in, let’s touch upon some key points;

  • HAIR LOSS IS A SYMPTOM OF PCOS.
  • IT AFFECTS 25% OF WOMEN WITH PCOS ON AVERAGE.
  • THE MAIN REASON OF PCOS HAIR LOSS IS HORMONAL IMBALANCES.
  • MOST OF THE TIME THE HAIR WILL GROW BACK.

What Is PCOS Hair Loss?

PCOS hair loss is a type of hair loss caused by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) which is a mostly genetic condition that makes ovaries produce more androgen hormones than they should. 

This hormonal imbalance shows that this is also a kind of androgenetic alopecia. According to a 2023 study led by Dr. Stuti Khare, 20-30% of women who suffer from PCOS experience this kind of female pattern hair loss too.  

Does PCOS Cause Hair Loss?

Yes, PCOS can cause hair loss but not in each case. There’s no such thing as every woman who is suffering from PCOS also experiences hair shedding.

As a matter of fact, along with hair loss, some are reported having issues with hyperandrogenism, which causes hirsutism and affects 65–75%  of women with PCOS. 

One of hirsutism signs is excessive dark hair growth. For example, you can notice growing dark and coarse facial hair or body hair if you have ovarian syndrome. It’s kind of the opposite of hair loss, so to speak.

Why Do PCOS Cause Hair Loss?

With PCOS, hormone imbalances cause ovaries to either not be able to produce normal levels of androgen (sex hormones) or produce too much. 

High levels of testosterone turn into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which makes hair follicles miniaturized as well as disrupt the hair growth cycle. Still, not everyone with this condition is sensitive to DHT on their scalp, so not all will be affected by hair loss. 

SHBG, or Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin, also has a crucial role in this situation. Its job is to attach to sex hormones, including testosterone. In women with PCOS, there’s often less SHBG, leading to higher levels of free testosterone. These hormonal dynamics collectively contribute to symptoms such as hair thinning and excessive hair growth in women with PCOS. 

According to one study by Dr. Frank González , 50-70% of women with PCOS have insulin resistance, which explains the high androgen levels and hair loss as a result.

Can PCOS Cause Dry Scalp?

Yes, PCOS and dry scalp are related.

According to a 2020 study by Amanpreet Kaur Sekhon, it can cause a skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis which is the reason for a dry, flaky scalp as it’s also related to hormone level changes caused by PCOS. However, it doesn’t always have to be PCOS to be causing dry scalp.

Most of the time the reason is the lack of moisture on the scalp. So, it can happen because of hair products, weather, age, or other underlying issues such as psoriasis, tinea capitis, solar keratosis, etc.

Does PCOS Hair Loss Happen During Pregnancy Also?

It depends on the person actually.  Even if you don’t show any signs of hair loss before with PCOS, you can still experience it during pregnancy. It can be the opposite also. It’s possible not to face hair loss in both situations. 

It’s also worth mentioning that the main factor for pregnancy hair loss is telogen effluvium (TE). TE happens because of sudden physical or emotional stress or hormonal imbalances, thus can be expected during both pregnancy and PCOS.

PCOS Hair Loss Symptoms

Signs of PCOS hair loss are usually;

  • HAIR SHEDDING MORE THAN USUAL
  • SEEING CLUMPS OF HAIR ON YOUR HAIRBRUSH, SHOWER DRAIN, PILLOW
  • BALD SPOTS
  • HAIR THINNING ON TOP OF THE SCALP
  • DRY/FLAKY SCALP SKIN


It’s possible to have just one or a couple of these symptoms. However, PCOS has various other symptoms other than just hair loss.

By consulting a gynecologist, you can find out if you’ve been suffering from this condition. You can also consult a dermatologist to get your scalp checked or you can do a test at home to see if you’re hair shedding is normal.

Is Hair Loss a Symptom of PCOS?

Yes, hair loss is one of the symptoms of PCOS. Keep in mind that to be diagnosed with it, hair loss is not enough by itself.

It’s even possible not to show this specific symptom at all while experiencing the other ones. Some women are not even affected by PCOS hair loss at all.

Pcos Receding Hairline

Since PCOS is characterized by hormonal imbalances, it’s also related to androgenic alopecia. This means women with PCOS are likely to experience male-pattern hair loss, characterized by a receding hairline, often starting with thinning at the temples.

Can PCOS Hair Loss Be Reversed?

Yes, reversing hair loss from PCOS is possible. You need to find out if the reason of your hair loss is the condition or the medication. If you the reason can’t be found or ignored, it might be hard to reverse the damage.

Treating PCOS Hair Loss

Treatments usually aim to relieve the symptoms through lifestyle modifications such as diet plans, oral contraceptive pills (birth control pills), acne treatments,  taking supplements such as vitamin D and inositol, etc. 

Birth control pills have a tremendously important role in reversing PCOS hair loss. They’re able to balance hormone levels. 

Where it gets tricky is, if it’s ignored the hair follicles will become miniaturized (hair miniaturization) because of the increased levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This means hair won’t be able to regrow within the shrunk hair follicles, leading to extreme hair loss. In these cases, hair loss treatments such as androgen blockers, minoxidil, and some natural vasodilators might help reverse the damage. 

Hair Transplant

If you are too late to reverse your hair loss, hair transplantations will be such a savior. 

The procedure itself is not that invasive, and it won’t take long hours.

Even though seeing results needs some patients, knowing that you can get your hair back could be a good motivation. 

How to Prevent Hair Loss With PCOS

There’s no specific way how to prevent only hair loss from PCOS, so the bottom line is to try to balance hormonal levels by treating PCOS altogether. To do so, using oral contraceptives especially the ones containing estrogen and progestin, maintaining a balanced diet and an exercise routine, reducing stress levels, along with proper hair care are the best ways. 

A gynecologist can also give medical advice for your specific situation such as topical treatment to prevent this hair loss, along with relieving the other common symptoms of PCOS.

Does Spironalactone Work for Pcos Hair Loss?

Yes. Sprinolacatone is known to help prevent hair loss and even promote hair growth. It works by blocking the androgen receptors so that receptors on hair follicles are no longer affected.

Because androgen is minimized, it also reduces the effects of hyperandrogenism, thus hirsutism. 

Does PCOS Hair Loss and Breastfeeding Related?

No, PCOS and breastfeeding are not related at all. Breastfeeding is a part of postpartum and it is very common to experience hair loss during postpartum period of time. Because you have PCOS and you are breastfeeding your hair loss will not be doubled or worsen.

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