Early Onset Male Pattern Hair Loss ‘Equivalent of PCOS in Women’

An Indian medical team set out to test if early-onset of the genetic hair loss condition Male Pattern Baldness is biologically synonymous with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), a condition which can cause a variety of medical problems in women.

PCOS has a number of characteristics which help identify it, and because it can lead to obesity, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and infertility, the team at the Lady Hardinge Medical College in New Delhi thought it would be worth knowing if premature male hair loss was essentially the same thing.

Male Hair Loss ResearchPhenotypic equivalent

According to the team’s report, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, early onset MPB (they use use the term ‘early androgenetic alopecia’ which means the same) is “frequently reported as the phenotypic equivalent of PCOS in women. Very few studies have been conducted to evaluate this.”

To rectify things, between January 2014 and March 2015, they studied 57 men aged between 19 and 30 who were all losing hair to Male Pattern Baldness. Thirty-two age-matched men with no hairloss were also recruited as controls.

The two groups were compared for their levels of testosterone, follicle-stimulating hormones and insulin, among other things, and it was discovered that men with early-onset MPB showed significantly increased levels of testosterone and well as certain other hormones when compared to the other group.

The Indian team wrote: “These hormonal parameters more or less resemble the profile of women with PCOS, and we propose that these men can be considered phenotypic equivalents to women with PCOS. These men could be exposed to the same risks as women with PCOS, including metabolic syndrome, IR, cardiovascular disease, and infertility, which needs to confirmed by large, multicenter studies. Men with early androgenetic alopecia may be exposed to these risks regardless of grade or severity (of their hair loss).”

Self-esteem dented

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It is not exactly blissful news to men who have started to lose their hair in their 20s; in many cases their self-esteem is already deeply dented without having to contend with the notion that losing their hair so young might be an indication of future medical problems. As the study report says, however, larger tests are needed to properly confirm the link with PCOS and its associated risks.

It is also worth pointing out that millions of women are affected by PCOS and are able to manage their condition. Women, in fact, are doubly-unlucky when it comes to PCOS, as not only is one possible symptom the early onset of Female Pattern Hair Loss, but the various prescription drugs used to treat other symptoms can sometimes lead to hair loss, too.

With cases of hair thinning in both men and women aged 16 , help in the form of clinically-proven hair loss treatments is available and, when used as part of a bespoke course from a dedicated hair loss clinic, can often produce encouraging results. This is true for men with hair loss, women with early-onset Female Pattern Hair Loss, and indeed women whose regime of medications designed to manage PCOS has led to excessive shedding from all over the scalp due to a condition called Telogen Effluvium.

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The Belgravia Centre

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