Hair loss is one PCOS symptom that many men can relate to. That is why I jumped at the chance to have Alex Eriksson, a men’s health blogger share some insights on hair loss treatments. Thank you, Alex, for lending your expertise!
For some women, going bald is either a bold choice or a health complication. But although several female celebrities have sported a shaved head proudly, many women still find it a tough choice, especially for those who deal with health conditions or undergo certain treatments that bring about extreme female hair loss.
This also includes women with PCOS. This is not to scare you. Rather, this should serve as a way for you to improve your awareness about your condition and prepare for one of its possible complications.
How PCOS Triggers Female Hair Loss
More than half of the male population is bound to experience some sort of baldness by the age of 60 and beyond. There are many different types of baldness. The type that most men experience is called androgenic alopecia, also known as male pattern baldness.
Although it is more common in men, some women may also have this type of baldness as a sign of other health conditions such as PCOS. Hair loss may also be caused by problems with nutrient delivery, genetics, aging, and extreme imbalances in estrogen and other hormones.
Androgenic alopecia stems from hormonal imbalance involving the sex hormones. As you know, PCOS can cause such imbalance in your body.
Thankfully, female hair loss problem is often manageable. It is much easier to deal with compared to the other signs and symptoms of PCOS such as fatigue. Below are the best treatment options available for you as backed by science:
Originally named Rogaine, Minoxidil is currently the most sought-after hair loss treatment. Aside from being effective, this is also a popular option due to the affordability of generic brands.
At first, Minoxidil was intended for hypertensive individuals. However, it caused excessive hair growth as a side effect. What was once seen as a disadvantage is now viewed as an advantage for people who experience hair loss. The FDA even approved its use as one of the few effective hair loss treatments.
What Minoxidil does is improve blood circulation in the hair follicles. As a result, more oxygen and nutrients are delivered into the follicles which promote hair growth.
There are various brands you can choose from for this hair loss treatment. But, your main shopping consideration should be the concentration. A study suggests that brands with higher concentrations are more effective.
Just like Minoxidil, Ketoconazole wasn’t originally developed as a hair loss treatment. It was actually intended as an anti-fungal medicine at first. It was, later on, discovered that it can counter male pattern baldness as well as fungi-induced baldness. You can also find this chemical in some of the most popular hair loss shampoos on the market today.
Ketoconazole attaches to androgen receptors on hair follicles and thus, prevents the receptors from interacting with the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Excessive DHT causes the receptors to receive fewer nutrients, which then results in thinning of the hair. Therefore, it is important to block DHT from interacting with the receptors.
However, keep in mind that Ketoconazole doesn’t prevent DHT production. It simply stops the interaction between the androgen receptors and DHT. If you want a more effective hair loss treatment, you have to combine this with another treatment that controls DHT production.
Spironolactone works similarly to Ketoconazole and has been successful in treating PCOS symptom like hair loss. It also prevents DHT and androgen receptors interaction. It has some similarities with Minoxidil as well. Both Spironolactone and Minoxidil are originally intended for the management of hypertension.
However, Spironolactone might adversely affect your outlook and sexual performance as it is a strong pro-estrogenic medicine. To avoid this, you may opt for the topical formulations instead of the oral ones. Topical spironolactone treatments are effective in countering hair loss without any adverse effects. They don’t cause side effects because they don’t enter the bloodstream like their oral counterparts.
Men use Finasteride to manage some symptoms of prostate problems. However, it is now also being used by both men and women alike in treating hair loss. It is among the most effective options out there although it was once deemed as ineffective.
In fact, Finasteride is only one of the two hair loss treatments approved by FDA. In a recent study, it is found to be effective if you use it along with Minoxidil.
Among all the treatment options herein, Finasteride is the only one that targets the root cause of hair loss. As a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor, it stops testosterone from being converted into DHT. Without DHT, no DHT hormone can interact with androgen receptors that can trigger the hair loss.
However, Finasteride is far from being the perfect medication against hair loss. In men, the use of this hair loss medication can cause erectile problems among many others. Both men and women alike may suffer from depression, suicidal ideation and loss of sexual function due to the use of Finasteride.
Natural Treatments for Female Hair Loss
If you have some issues with the treatment options mentioned above, you can always go for natural remedies. You can incorporate foods rich in the following nutrients in your diet plan.
Some studies suggest that carnitine, particularly L-Carnitine, stimulate hair growth. The substance does several things; however, it is carnitine’s ability to enhance the follicle mitochondria’s performance which is deemed to be the cause for its hair growth promoting properties. Seafood, pork, chicken and dairy products are the best sources of this substance. Supplements containing carnitine are also available and highly recommended as the amounts in foods are often not enough to reach clinical effects.
Capsaicin and Soy Isoflavones
Capsaicin is the culprit behind chili pepper’s spiciness. However, this substance is deemed effective as hair loss treatment when combined with soy isoflavones. Based on a study, the combination can promote hair growth by improving the dermal levels of IGF-1. Both of these can be consumed in effective amounts through diet alone by eating chili peppers and soy products such as tofu.
Raspberry ketones are more popular as a weight loss supplement than as a hair loss treatment. As of now though, there is still no study that shows that it can actually help in losing weight. In contrast, a study has been made about its efficiency as a hair loss treatment and based on that; raspberry ketones can help stimulate hair growth by also enhancing dermal levels of IGF-1.
Having PCOS should not mean you have to say goodbye to your beautiful hair. There are medications and natural remedies you can choose from to bring your locks back to life.
Going on with your daily life is tough if you have PCOS and experience hair loss from it. But it’s always possible to fight it by trying different treatments. It is a bolder choice than letting it control your life. Are you ready to make that choice?
About the Author
Alex Eriksson is the founder of Anabolic Health, a men’s health blog dedicated to providing honest and research backed advice for optimal male hormonal health. Anabolic Health aspires to become a trusted resource where men can come and learn how to fix their hormonal problems naturally, without pharmaceuticals. Check out https://www.anabolichealth.com/ to learn more about Alex and his work. You can also find him on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook