Loose strands of hair falling out in the shower is normal, but when hair loss exceeds the usual amount, it can be deeply upsetting. Unfortunately, this is a reality that some women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) live with daily.

With PCOS, the ovaries produce more than the normal amount of the male sex hormone androgen, resulting in numerous fluid-filled cysts in the ovaries. Symptoms of PCOS include abnormal menstruation, acne, infertility and issues with hair.

This hair condition, referred to as androgenic alopecia (AGA) or female-pattern hair loss (FPHL), strikes a blow to a woman's self-image and self-esteem, said Felice Gersh, M.D., an OB-GYN in Irvine, California. It is similar to male-pattern baldness and occurs in women who have PCOS or a family history of hair loss, or because of aging or certain medications. Hair loss also occurs among women with congenital adrenal hyperplasia and other conditions where an excess of male sex hormones flows through their bloodstream.

Gersh said hormonal changes such as the drop in estrogen levels during perimenopause, thyroid issues, anemia, nutritional imbalances,