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Dr. Christopher Tzermias

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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Does it affect the health of hair?

Hormonal disorders pave the way for the emergence of androgenetic alopecia.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common of all endocrine system disorders experienced by women of reproductive age. It has been estimated that it affects 10% of women between the ages of 18 and 44 years worldwide, leading to hormonal fluctuations that increase the difficulty to achieve a pregnancy. In addition to this, it also affects the health of hair and skin.

Estrogen levels decline leaves testosterone to act undisturbed

Polycystic ovary syndrome, i.e. the presence of small ovarian cysts/ tiny growths that appear throughout the ovaries, can lead to weakened hair follicles and the existence of thinner hairs, which may be followed by hair loss. Despite the fact that the cysts themselves are not harmful, they do impair the production of an essential ovarian enzyme that may significantly reduce estrogen production. This results in a rise of androgen levels in the female organism (hyperandrogenism), leading to an increased abundance of hormones, mainly testosterone. As a result, hair becomes thinner and finer over time and, eventually, miniaturisation turns into hair loss.

Sudden influxes in testosterone may lead to androgenetic alopecia, a specific type of hair loss caused by hormonal changes in the scalp. In this case, hair follicles become weaker and cannot sustain normal hair growth. As a result, hairs become weaker and finally only vellus hairs are present.

Hair loss in women with PCOS may occur either according to female-pattern hair loss, i.e. preservation of the frontal hairline and hair loss in the central part of the scalp, or – less commonly – according to male-pattern hair loss, in which hair loss starts from the frontal hairline and extends to the top of the scalp.

Hormonal balance and strengthening of the hair follicles

The management of hair loss in women suffering from the polycystic ovary syndrome is based on the treatment of the main cause of this disorder, i.e. the syndrome itself. Therefore, the first step is a check-up of the endocrine system and hormonal regulation through the appropriate treatment method. At the same time, hair follicles should be strengthened through therapies that enhance blood flow and oxygenation of the area, thus contributing to better absorption of nutrients from the hair follicles.

Electro-trichogenesis is the most advanced and effective treatment method and it is performed using Low Level Laser Therapy. It has been estimated that Laser energy, which is absorbed by the scalp and acts upon the weakened hair roots, stabilises hair loss in 90% of women and stimulates hair growth in 50% of them. Synergistically local injections of minoxidil can be applied, as well as mesotherapy with autologous growth factors (PRP) and carboxytherapy.

 

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