Irregular periods do not necessarily lead to hair loss, but they can be signs of conditions that are related to hair loss, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Keep reading to find out more about how these two conditions are related.
What Makes Periods Irregular?
While there is no "normal" schedule for menstrual cycles, most women have cycles that range between 24 and 35 days. Almost every woman has at least a couple of irregular periods over the course of her reproductive years. However, if your periods are so unpredictable that they constantly vary from month to month or are especially painful, you are suffering from irregular periods. In some cases, irregular periods are connected to PCOS.
To understand this relationship, one must first be familiar with polycystic ovarian syndrome. PCOS is a condition where many small cysts appear on the ovaries. PCOS occurs when the ovaries produce too many hormones, specifically androgens (male sex hormones). This overproduction can be spurred by the production of too much luteinizing hormone (LH) in the pituitary gland.
Why Does PCOS Cause Irregular Periods?
Normally, ovaries routinely prepare up to 20 eggs to be released during each menstrual cycle, each developing in their own “pocket” or cyst. Throughout the process, one egg usually begins to attract more of the hormones needed to mature and be released.
However, when women suffer from PCOS, no one egg receives enough hormones to mature and be released, and so the ovaries end up developing cysts that never release eggs. When ovulation does not occur, the end result is experienced as an irregular period.
Why Does PCOS Cause Hair Loss?
Since women with PCOS have too many androgens in their bloodstream, it is common for them to notice changes in hair growth patterns. Specifically, these hormones can lead to more body hair growth across the facial, chest, stomach, and back regions. Hair follicles across the head, however, respond differently to male sex hormones. This is why many women with PCOS first begin to notice a loss of hair on the scalp.
More Information about Irregular Periods and Hair Loss
Irregular periods alone do not induce hair loss, but if menstrual irregularity is due to PCOS, hair loss could be the result. If you suspect that PCOS may be responsible for your hair loss and irregular periods, it is important to see a doctor. Untreated, PCOS can lead to serious conditions, such as diabetes and obesity.
In order to learn more on how to deal with irregular periods, follow the link below.
- Hutchinson, Susan M.D. "The Stages of a Woman's Life: Menstruation, Pregnancy, Nursing, Perimenopause, Menopause". November 2007.
- Love, Susan M.D. Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.
- BMJ Group. "Menopause: What is it?" Patient Leaflet. 2007