This article describes the natural treatments available to combat PCOS hair loss. It may be crass, or in some social circles, politically incorrect to admit it, but for many people, women included, physical appearance plays a major role in one’s personal and business success. With the societal expectations regarding the appearance of women, this issue is especially compounded when it comes to women, unfair as it may seem. PCOS hair loss can be a very embarrassing side effect of the syndrome, but it doesn’t have to be.
One thing that is not debatable is this: a dramatic sudden deterioration in one’s physical looks due to disease has severe implications for the self-esteem and self-concept of those affected. PCOS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, are one of these disorders, as not only does it drive hard-to-control weight gain, acne outbreaks, and cysts that inhibit infertility, but it can also drive embarrassing losses of hair, dramaticallyaffecting their perception in society1, and of themselves.
Hormonal imbalances related to PCOS can cause sufferers to lose scalp hair due to the overbearing influence of testosterone, leading to a worsening self-concept and a negative view of PCOS individuals by other people. Indeed, most women that come to the doctor complaining of excessive sudden hair loss have been found to also have PCOS 1. The mechanisms that drive other PCOS symptoms, such as obesity, also play a role in aggressive hair attrition, as we will show in the para1graphs to come.
It is vitally important that those afflicted by this disease know that there are ways to halt and reverse the damage that this genetic condition does not just to a female’s hair follicles, but to her spirit. In the following article, we will learn how PCOS hair loss works, and then how to take action against these causes, so that those affected can get back on the road to regaining their dignity.
The Evil Origins of PCOS Hair LossOne of the key manifestations of PCOS is the insulin resistance that it causes in affected women. It is this hallmark that contributes to obesity and Type II diabetes in sufferers of this hormone disorder, but the excessive androgen, testosterone, and its converted form, DHT that results from the irritation of excess insulin also drives the process behind PCOS hair loss in patients.
According to a study conducted by the University of Oulu in Finland 2, women with insulin resistance had been shown to experience alopecia (hair loss) in much the same fashion of PCOS women, drawing a solid link between this fact and the scourge of premature loss of hair follicles.
The cause and effect relationship goes deeper than that however, as attempted hair re-growth in women that have PCOS has often hit frustrating obstacles. One of the key discoveries that greatly aided the cause of helping these women regain their dignity was that DHT, a sex hormone that is produced in excess quantities in PCOS sufferers, was squarely behind the PCOS hair loss that this disorder induces.
With it present in abundance, the DHT compound circulates to your scalp and starts to latch onto hair follicles, starting the deterioration process of the hair strand and blocking the absorption of essential nutrients. Eventually, the hair strand dies and falls out, but DHT’s troublemaking doesn’t end there. It remains attached to the follicle, inhibiting or flat-out preventing the regeneration of new hair, posing a significant problem for those looking to rejuvenate the hair on their head to the way it used to be 3.
How To Stop PCOS Hair Loss And Reverse The DamageNow that we know how the factors behind PCOS hair loss work1s, we can begin to craft a plan of action to start tackling the aspects that are wreaking havoc on your beautiful, luscious locks.
The good news that there is a road map that will be laid out in the coming paragraphs that will help you overcome this obstacle to your self-esteem.
The bad news is that it is going to take a lot of work.
The inputs in your daily life that have conspired to cause PCOS to manifest in the manner that it has will need to be changed, with some changes being drastic in nature. In order to reduce the aggravating effects of insulin, androgen, testosterone, and other hormones, lifestyle changes involving the diet you eat, the drinks you consume, and the stressors you allow into your life will need to be controlled, reduced, and if possible, eliminated.
Are you up for the challenge? I know you are, so let’s get started together!
Drugs, Drugs, Drugs: Some Are Good, Some Are Bad!Those looking to treat the PCOS induced loss of their hair have several treatment options available to them, such as Finasteride, which blocks an enzyme that converts testosterone to its more active form, thus suppressing the activities of this hormone that contributes to PCOS hair loss in women.
Side effects of this drug include breast tenderness and increased libido (e.g. it puts you in the mood to get busy). While this may seem like a good thing for women suffering from a disease that stifles fertility, use of this drug while trying to conceive is discouraged, as it has been shown to stunt or deform the growth of male sex organs in a developing male fetus 4.
A supplement you may want to consider adding to your arsenal in your own personal war against PCOS should be N-acetyl Cysteine. Despite the scary-sounding, tongue-twisting name, this compound has been shown to markedly improve the insulin sensitivity in cells of those suffering from resistance to this normally accepted hormone 5, reducing its excess circulation that leads to the problems with androgen that you are familiar with by now.
One thing you will definitely want to avoid in your quest to retain and reclaim your hair from the ravages of this disease are hormonal therapies, such as estrogen and progesterone. While it has been proven that these treatments do succeed in regaining lost hair, it comes at the tremendous risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer, high blood pressure, and potentially fatal blood clots.
Eating A Low-Carb, High Protein DietEating a healthy diet is another big preventative step towards minimizing the PCOS hair loss associated with the metabolic ravages of the syndrome. The overproduction of testosterone that leads to unwanted hair loss is strongly linked with insulin resistance, as mentioned in the introduction to this article. Therefore, if one consumes a diet that is low in simple carbs and high in protein, the spikes in insulin produced by very high amounts of blood sugar will become a thing of the past, reducing the amounts of harmful inputs that drive PCOS hair loss in women 6.
When you are at the grocery store overhauling your diet, it is vital to also ensure that the meats, veggies, and fruits that you are purchasing are also free of environmental pollution, hormones, and antibiotics. The industrial nature of our modern food system has seen all of these unsavoury elements enter it, which has contributing to a creeping toxicity in people throughout the world. In women with PCOS, compounds such as BPA, various heavy metals, and pesticides often interfere with already unbalanced hormone levels, aggravating the effects of this complex disorder 7.
One must also be consistent with regards to eating times, as irregular eating habits have been shown to cause insulin spikes 8. Given insulin’s role in aggressively producing the androgen that is behind PCOS hair loss in women, keeping consistent meal times on a tight schedule (no skipping breakfast/lunch, avoiding later or earlier than usual dinners, etc) along with the advised diet mentioned just previously will go a long way to limiting this all too apparent symptom of PCOS.
In addition to eating properly according to low carb Paleo principles at predictable times, taking additional natural supplements may be advisable as well. For example, it is known that taking saw palmetto suppresses hormonal and enzyme activity that converts testosterone to DHT (its more troublesome form) for PCOS sufferers, not only leading to a reduction in PCOS hair loss, but also outbreaks of acne and unwanted hair in places where they don’t normally occur in women (goodbye ugly facial hair!) 9.
Another wrinkle that you may want to add to your daily routine may also include a refreshing cup of spearmint tea. Already a perky way to begin your day or to relax after the hectic parts of it have past, the compounds within this herbal remedy have been analysed by studies, which have revealed that they have a significant effect in reducing androgen levels in the bodies of women suffering from PCOS 10, which accordingly has the effect of tripping up the mechanism by which hair loss occurs.
Chill Out, Sista! How Sweating The Small Stuff Makes Your Hair Fall OutControlling your stress can also go a long way to reducing PCOS hair loss. When you freak out over the myriad of stressors present in today’s hectic and harried modern world, your body produces cortisol, a hormone that brings more blood sugar out of your cells and into your bloodstream 11.
This response was likely related to our hunter-gatherer past, when constant danger lurked in the shadows, causing this metabolic pathway to evolve to allow for a quick response to any threats that arised. These days, immediate threats to our lives aren’t nearly as present, but these mechanisms are much slower to change.
In PCOS patients, the effect of bringing excess glucose into your body also is a harbinger of excess insulin, which drives androgen that causes rapid hair loss in women in their prime. As such, it is vital to take care of your mental health when the demands of the world hammer away at your door, lest you let it cause your hair to fall out!
Ugh, Nothing’s Working … WHAT NOW?By following the dietary and lifestyle changes outlined above, you can enjoy much of the benefits afforded by this hazardous shortcut, while assuming none of the potential risk to your life. Better off with a little less hair and being fully alive, than gaining back a full head of hair and dying shortly after due to an illness brought on by side effects that are widely known by all in the medical community!
However, if you have done all of the above and you are still experiencing significant problems with hair loss potentially related to PCOS, you may want to book an appointment with your doctor. Ask him or her to check your thyroid gland for hypothyroidism, which can result in slow growth of hair, and hair losses throughout many areas of the body 12.
While it is not fully known whether PCOS can lead to hypothyroidism, or vice versa, women that have PCOS and who struggle with hair loss despite cleaning up their diet and lifestyle should be checked for this thyroid condition 13. Drugs like Levothroid, Levoxyl, or Synthroid will be prescribed to treat this condition, which are generic names for the compound levothyroxine. This drug effective replaces the thyroxine that your thyroid is not producing, allowing balance to be restored to your bodies’ functions.
Dealing With PCOS Hair LossLosing hair in your prime can be a traumatic experience. No matter the cause, the loss of this highly valued barometer of attractiveness can cause anyone to question their self-worth, while certain judgmental gatekeepers in society may be subconsciously influenced by issues of physical attractiveness.
While the latter case is clearly unacceptable in today’s society, the presence of this bias that has predominated in the past still lingers, and while one hopes that one day appearance won’t matter when it comes to one’s merit, maintaining appearances in the present has a much larger net benefit to one’s self-esteem.
However, risking your health to validate yourself in eyes of a few people certainly isn’t worth it either. As such, it is vital to consult a physician before undertaking any of the recommended treatments and modalities laid out in this report.
It is better to take your time, do things as directed as experts in the field, than to get impatient and get sucked in by snake oil peddlers promising a quick fix, or worse, take a dangerous drug in dosages that are outside what was indicated and end up dying of an overdose, or end up getting a chronic health condition such as heart disease or cancer.
Rome took more than one day to construct, but when it was finished, it was the pride of the civilized world. With your scalp, you may not have those smooth silky strands back tomorrow, but one year out from your post PCOS lifestyle change, you’ll look back at where you were compared to the vision of loveliness that you will be, and you will beam with the pride that comes from having earned your reward.
1. European Society of Endocrinology
2. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology
3. Medical News Today (MNT)
4. Clinical Interventions in Aging
5. Fertility and Sterility
6. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
7. Natural Health Solutions for PCOS
8. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition
9. Longevity Medical Health Center
10. Phytotherapy Research
12. Alopecia in Hypothyroidism
13. Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Hi my name is Whitney and I'm a mom to 2 adorable boys. Here you'll find our story of infertility, adoption, grief, and hope. I'm an open book so you'll never know what I'll post next!