Chronic health conditions are, unfortunately, a lived reality for around 15 million people in the UK. Common forms of chronic condition present in the form of physical conditions relating to blood pressure and the muscles, or mental health conditions such as depression; hair loss, hearing loss, and many more however, relatively little weight is publicly given to conditions that relate to reproductive health – particularly where uterus- and womb-health is concerned. PCOS, or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, affects 13% of women worldwide, 70% of whom are thought to be undiagnosed; it also disproportionately impacts trans and non-binary patients, where figures indicate between 23% and 57% are afflicted.
Despite its relative prevalence, it is frequently misdiagnosed or otherwise undertreated by health professionals – and many are unaware of the ancillary side effects that PCOS can cause. One such side-effect relates to the health of our hair.
Managing Hair Thinning with PCOS: 3 Crucial Hair Care Tips
1. Understanding PCOS and Hair Issues
PCOS is named for one of its potential eventualities, wherein cysts form in and on the ovaries to cause chronic pain and problematic periods.
But PCOS does not necessitate the growth of such ovaries; it first presents as an overproduction of hormones called androgens by the ovaries – of which testosterone is one.
This overproduction of testosterone contributes to several potential side effects, a relatively rare one of which is the loss of existing hair: “androgenic alopecia”.
Other mitigating factors can impact the onset of androgenic alopecia, but these factors do not necessarily impact modes of addressing it.
2. Managing Hair Loss
If you are unlucky enough to experience androgenic alopecia or even less evident thinning of your existing hair, there are several ways you can approach mitigating it.
Doctors will commonly prescribe the contraceptive to address the root cause of, and wider issues relating to, PCOS.
As well as attempting to induce regular periods, the contraceptive pill can positively impact hair growth issues. For more involved cases, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be prescribed.
At home, simple changes to diet and lifestyle can help improve the health of existing hair, and promote regrowth in thinning hair.
3. Self-Care and Emotional Wellbeing
The other, equally important side of approaching your PCOS relates to self-care and emotional wellbeing. Medical approaches are great for symptom mitigation, but can take time – and do little for your mental health in the process.
Basic provisions to boost confidence, like the initial bulking-out of hair with hair-building fibers for women or men as part of a hair-styling routine, can be vital in preserving your comfort while treatments start to work.
So too can the institution of regular routines and habits that put your comfort and confidence first, such as morning meditations or attending community support groups in your local area.