• The Hair Clinic

Do You Have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

Women experiencing female hairloss may be concerns about what the causes behind their hair loss are.

If you have polycystic ovary syndrome you may be aware that hair loss (as well as excess hair growth) can be a symptom of this. But what if you don’t have a diagnosis of polycystic ovaries? Perhaps it is worth looking into suggests Anabel Kingsley, a leading trichologist at the Philip Kingsley Clinic in London in Cosmopolitan.

"Hormones play a huge role in regulating the hair growth cycle" explains Anabel. "Oestrogens (female hormones) are 'hair friendly' and help to keep hairs in their growth phase for the optimal length of time. Androgens (male hormones) are not very hair friendly, and can shorten the hair growth cycle."

"An excess of androgens (which could be caused by an endocrine disorder, such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) can cause hair loss. The extent of this is often down to genes - If you have a genetic predisposition to follicle sensitivity, a hormonal imbalance can affect your hair more than it would someone who does not have a predisposition."

It is thought that up to 70 per cent of women with the condition do not know that they have it.

What is polycystic ovary syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome is defined by the presence of cysts on the ovaries, but is actually a far wider reaching condition than the name would lead you to believe. It is caused by problems regulating hormones, and the causes of it are not well understood but it is thought of as an autoimmune disorder.

Some women may have difficulty getting pregnant and investigate this as a potential cause. Some women may experience oily skin and acne, as well as weight gain and occasionally weight loss.

What are the symptoms

It can cause irregular periods, excess hair growth or baldness and also affect a person’s mood. The irregular periods are caused by difficulty releasing an egg due to the cysts and hormonal imbalance, which can cause anovulatory cycles in which a woman doesn’t ovulate.

Periods don’t tend to turn up until 14 or so days after ovulation, which can make periods very unpredictable for women with PCOS.

How can you get tested?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome can be tested for using a range of tests, many of them looking at hormone levels. Follicle stimulating hormone will often be low with PCOS, while luteinising hormones, testosterone and oestrogen will be elevated.

Doctors will generally diagnose PCOS in women with two of the following:

· You have irregular periods

· Blood tests show hormonal imbalance as outlined above

· An ultra sound scan shows cysts on the ovaries.

Severed cases may be referred to a gynaecologist but otherwise it is likely you will be warned about risk factors, such as an elevated risk of type two diabetes. You may be put on the pill to regulate hormones or told to make lifestyle changes such as diet changes or weight loss as increased weight can exacerbate the problem.

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