Do PCOS symptoms include issues with abnormal hair growth and hair loss in places where we want hair?
Yes. Higher levels of androgens, specifically, testosterone and DHT (dihydrotestosterone) can cause both Hirsuitism (hair growth in abnormal places for women) and male pattern hair loss.
Hirsutism (HUR-soot-iz-um) is a condition of unwanted, male-pattern hair growth in women. Hirsutism results in excessive amounts of stiff and pigmented hair on body areas where men typically grow hair — face, chest and back.
In hair loss, the androgen DHT eventually causes the hair follicle to stop growing new hair by clogging the follicle. This condition is called androgenic alopecia. Both of these conditions can be reversed with the right food, movement, nutrients and lifestyle choices.
The Insulite 5-Element System helps in all of these areas. Learn more here: Insulite PCOS 5-Element System
What signs should you look for physically if you suspect PCOS ?
The exact reason of PCOS is not known, but was shown that at patients with this pathology pulse secretion of a hormone of hypothalamuses in the accelerated rhythm is noted. At patients with PCOS irregular periods, Insulin Resistance , and a hyperinsulinemia are often noted. The implemented researches show the decrease in the sensitivity of adipocytes and muscular cells to insulin without the revealed pathology of linkage of insulin, but in comparison with a control group the sensitivity of a liver was not revealed. It was shown that post receptor defect of the alarm transduction mediated by insulin receptors leads to the defective autophosphorylation at some patients.“Physical symptoms include reproductive, metabolic, and cardiovascular disturbances. Reproductive issues include (a) menstrual irregularities, (b) failure to ovulate, (c) infertility, (d) elevated male hormone levels, (e) male pattern hair growth or loss, (f) acne, (g) ovarian cysts, and (h) ovarian dysfunction. Metabolic complications result from (a) low glucose levels, (b) decreased insulin ratio, (c) diabetes, and (c) obesity”.
Hirsutism is a superfluous growth of hair in an androgen – dependent zones: a nose tip (in nostrils), over an upper lip, on a chin, on cheeks (whiskers), auricles, a back, a breast, an areola, in axillary hollows, in the bottom of a stomach, on a pubis, on a forward surface of hips. Hirsutism is often combined with irregular periods and acne. Hirsutism should be differentiated with hypertrichosis, andro-gene independent increase in the growth of lanugo hairs.
“Hirsutism” in women may be defined as the presence of terminal hair in areas where it is more usual for men to grow hair-the face, shoulders, chest and back. Each hair follicle has receptors to both oestrogen and androgen, but the main culprit in this story is not the androgen testosterone, but rather a more potent male hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The skin takes up testosterone from the bloodstream and converts it in the hair follicle into DHT, under the influence of an enzyme called 5u-reductase. As I discussed in the previous chapter, our twin study of PCOS showed that the activity of this enzyme is virtually entirely genetically controlled”.
Virilescence includes Hirsutism , acne and irregular periods in a combination to masculine signs: decrease in a timbre of a voice, increase in a muscular weight, a high temple on temples, increase in a clitoris and libido strengthening. Virilescence grows out of a high level of circulating hormones close to those ones at men, as a rule, owing to the existence of an androgen-secrete of a tumor.
Why are hair issues linked to PCOS ?
Hirsutism is a hyperadrogene consequence. Androgens turn a thin, soft, and little pigmented lanugo hair in a rough, pigmented rod in an androgen – sensitive zones. A source of 25 % of testosterone are ovaries, 25 % – adrenal glands, 50 % – peripheral conversion of androstendion, produced both of adrenal glands and ovaries. Testosterone turns in dihydrotestosterone with the assistance of enzyme 5 – an alpha reductase which is present at hair follicles. Dihydrotestosterone is responsible for the transformation of lanugo hair in the rod. Hair follicles also contain the enzyme converting dehydroepiandrosterone, secreted by adrenal glands and androstenedione in testosterone. Therefore, the increase of any androgenic steroids leads to the increase in the level of dihydrotestosterone in hair follicles, and as a result, to Hirsutism.
A low level a sexual hormone-connecting globulin can also promote Hirsutism development. About 80 % of circulating testosterone are connected by PGSG, 19 % are connected with sexual hormone-connecting globulin, and 1 % – free. The decrease of this hormone leads to the increase of a free fraction operating on an androgen – sensitive hair.
The increase in the activity of the 5 – alpha-reductasa even at normal levels of circulating Androgens can also cause Hirsutism on the mechanism of a superfluous conversion of testosterone.
What conditions lead to Hirsutism :
- PCOS ;
- Congenital dysfunction of a bark of adrenal glands;
- Cushing syndrome;
- Hyperthecosis of ovaries;
- Idiopathic/family Hirsutism ;
What can be done to manage PCOS Hair symptoms?
The following methods used while treatment of Hirsutism :
Irrespective of the chosen therapy, a patient should expect the results not earlier than in 3-6 months.
- Estrogen. Oral contraceptives are the most often used therapy. They raise the level of an estrogen in plasma that reduces the level of testosterone. Monophase and three-phase preparations are equally effective. The preparations containing progestins desogestrel and norgestimate are considered to be the best as they possess the smallest androgenic activity.
- Spironolactone blocks the receptors of Androgens, and is a weak inhibitor of the production of testosterone. It can be used as monotherapy; however, it is necessary to avoid pregnancy as spironolactione can cause feminization of a male fetus. The increase belongs to the other side effects of diuresis in the first few days, fatigue and dysfunctional uterine bleedings. The initial doses make 25-100 mg twice a day with the subsequent decrease to 25-50 mg/days while achieving of the necessary effect.
- Flutamid can be applied as mono therapy. The combined therapy gives considerably the best effect, and Hirsutism recurrence after the cancellation of preparations is in much smaller degree. Feminization of a male fetus, an increase of hepatic enzymes and a hepatotoxicity belongs to its side effects. One dose makes 125-250 mg twice a day.
- Finasterid, inhibitor 5-alpha-reductass, is also effective for the treatment of Hirsutism . The feminization of a male fetus, a headache and a depression belong to the side effects. The implemented research did not show the difference between finasteride and spironolactione (100 mg/days). The dose makes 5-7.5 mg/days.
- Cimetidine is a weak anti-androgen though its efficiency in treatment of Hirsutism is not proved.
- Providing a constant pulse rhythm influence on a hypophysis, gonadotrophin releasing hormone agonists reduce the secretion of gonadotrophins and in this connection reduce the production of ovaries, both estrogen, and Androgens. In order to avoid an inflow, the replaceable therapy by an estrogen is necessary for the dryness of a vagina and a loss of a bone weight. Leuprolid (3.75 mg/months), nasal sprays of basreline and nafareline (3 times a day) and hypodermic implants of gosreline effectively reduce Hirsutism . These preparations are very expensive; therefore, they are used as a reserve at PCOS heavy form treatment.
- Progesterone preparations. Cyproterone acetate is progestine and a moderate anti-androgen; it is applied in Canada and Europe, but it did not find a wide application in the USA. It is used as mono therapy or in a combination with an estrogen. The delay of liquid, mood change, and decrease in a libido and increase of lipids belong to side effects. The researches showed good results in comparison with the control groups though one of the researches did not show the distinctions between cyproterone combined with spironolactione (100 mg/day).
Can other actions be taken to help PCOS Hair issues?
There is no cast in stone solution to solving hair issues associated with PCOS but you can use natural methods to attempt to minimize the symptoms associated with hair. Some possible choices can include:
- Cosmetic measures.
- Decolouration, shaving, plucking out, and removal by wax; depilation and electrolysis are the effective measures, used along or in combination with the other methods of treatment. They delete rod hair before the medicines reducing a new growth and transformation in rod hair will start to operate.
- Laser removal of hair is the newest method of treatment of Hirsutism . It is the out-patient procedure using both ruby and the YAG laser for the damage of hair follicles. The ruby laser affects directly hair follicles. The use of the YAG laser demands the preliminary application of the mineral oils containing carbon particles. Both techniques lead to the removal of hair for 2-6 months after which there is a new growth of thinner and fair hair. The minimum discomfort, local hypostasis and reddening belong to side effects within 24-48 hours, seldom petechia and infrequently hyper pigmentation which is passing less than in 6 months.
- As by means of a diet it is possible to lower effectively the level of Androgens at corpulent women with obesity the diet is recommended to patients. If you have PCOS , managing and reducing obesity and treating Insulin Resistance may result in lower androgen levels, including testosterone, and greatly improve Hirsutism .
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Since June 2008, Insulite Laboratories and Insulite Health has supported more than 2.4 million women through the Insulite PCOS System, through this website, through emails providing information and support, through consultations with our Consulting & Advisory Team, through telephone conference calls, through online webinars, through published articles, and most recently, through social media community building and support efforts. Insulite Laboratories and Insulite Health are singularly dedicated to improving the lives of women with PCOS and conditions resulting from Insulin Resistance.