Polycystic ovarian syndrome and hair loss
Polycystic ovarian syndrome and hair loss


Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a condition where the ovaries do not respond as the should to hormones released from the pituitary gland.  Ovaries become enlarged and contain fluid- filled surrounding the eggs that are usually released during ovulation.  the ovaries are responsible for the production of androgens and estrogens.  When this balance of hormones are disturbed and this imbalance can lead to hair thinning, decreased fertility, acne and increased body hair.

When sex hormone balance is disturbed this often leads to a condition known as androgenic alopecia.  With each hair cycle, the hair on the scalp grows for a shorter duration of time and becomes thinner in diameter.  Whilst this type of hair loss is common, research shows that hair loss affects less than 40% of women with PCOS.

Hair loss linked to PCOS can have the following characteristics:

  • A wider hair parting with more scalp showing
  • Hair loss mainly in the front and side areas of the scalp
  • Recession at the temples appearing as an increase in ‘baby hairs’ or a receding hairline
  • Dry and frizzy hair that breaks easily


  1. Use a vasodilator – Vasodilators increase blood flow by decreasing vascular resistance and allowing more blood to enter the capillaries that directly feed the hair follicle.  Vasodilators include topical solutions that contain minoxidil or methyl nicotinate.
  2. Eat a balanced diet  – PCOS is linked to higher insulin levels and obesity, a healthy diet will reduce blood glucose and in turn support healthier hair growth.
  3. Anti-androgen medication – Some anti-androgen medication can be successful in helping hair regrowth in patients with PCOS.
  4. Use good quality hair products – Moisturising shampoos and conditioners can help alleviate dry hair and scalp conditions to help prevent breakage and retain length.


Hair loss due to PCOS can be reversed if the underlying hormonal imbalance is corrected.  Once PCOS is diagnosed with blood tests or with an ultrasound, treatment may help with symptoms.  Blood tests may also reveal other medical issues such as low thyroid function or vitamin and mineral deficiencies that contribute the the severity of PCOS symptoms.

If you are experiencing hair loss and you have PCOS, talking to your doctor can help give you more clarity on what options are available.  Hair regrowth is certainly possible with the right guidance and advice.