There are many symptoms of PCOS that one would deem objectively unideal. From irregular periods, to infertility, to excess facial hair or thinning head hair—it’s certainly not the sexiest disorder to deal with.
If you’re dealing with PCOS and its uninvited symptoms, find validation in knowing you aren’t alone: over 10% of women of a childbearing age have been diagnosed with PCOS. While thinning hair isn’t the most common symptom, it affects a prevalent amount of people living with PCOS. PCOS hair loss can be physically and emotionally traumatic, in many cases directly affecting self-esteem and sense of femininity.
Keep reading to learn about why PCOS hair loss happens, and how to save your follicles.
Why Does PCOS Cause Thinning Hair?
PCOS hair loss can mainly be blamed on excess androgens and elevated DHT(a hormone related to testosterone). These male sex hormones throw your testosterone levels out of whack, which may lead to symptoms like facial hair growth, acne, thinning hair, and hair loss.
Medically, this hair loss can be referred to as female pattern baldness, or androgenic alopecia. If you’re finding more hair left behind on the pillowcase or clumps coming out in the shower, the Ludwig scale describes these three stages of female pattern hair loss:
- Small areas of hair loss, with fragile, thinner hairs among the healthy strands.
- Eventual bald patches and many thinner hair strands.
- Hair becomes ‘fuzzy’ (think peach fuzz) and almost invisible.
While male hair loss usually begins as a bald spot on the top of their head or a receding hairline, women more typically experience a thinning of the hair where it's parted, gradually becoming wider and wider.
Is Hair Loss Due to PCOS Reversible?
Here’s the good news—PCOS and hair loss don’t have to be your destiny! With proper care and confrontation of the underlying hormonal issues, you can stop hair loss from worsening and begin to reverse some of the damage. Here are a few steps you can take in the right direction:
PCOS Hair Loss Treatments
PCOS hair loss treatment can be the same as any kind of hair loss treatment. Traditional over-the-counter remedies like specialized shampoos and hair masks are all good places to start and can help to revitalize any damaged hair follicles.
There are ton of at-home remedies for hair growth for women that have been passed down from generations as well. This includes rosemary oil scalp massages, leaving coconut oil your hair overnight, or consuming fish oil. A few other remedies that you can find in your kitchen cabinet include:
- Geranium oil
- Castor oil
- Onion juice
- Aloe vera
There are also a few supplements for PCOS that can help symptom management, including hair loss. In fact, when people share “how I reversed my PCOS hair loss naturally,” it’s typically thanks to those supplements. Saw Palmetto Extract contributes to healthy hair follicles by helping manage our body’s levels of DHT. DIM is a powerful compound found in leafy greens that supports hormone balance and can aid in regulating hair health.
Lifestyle and Diet
So how do you fix hair loss from PCOS? Diet is truly the number one tool when it comes to fighting your PCOS symptoms. Consuming foods that are supportive in regulating your body’s hormonal function is crucial.
Low-glycemic fruits like green apples, kiwis and plums are loaded with fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins that can help regulate your body’s insulin resistance. Lean protein can also give your body the nutrients necessary to feed a healthy and thriving scalp, including salmon, cod, or low-fat chicken and turkey.
When it comes to lifestyle, refraining from things that may worsen your hair loss can help limit damage. This means using protective hairstyles that aren’t heavy and don’t tug on your hair follicles, like loose ponytails rather than tight braids. It’s also crucial to refrain from using an excessive amount of heat while styling, and to incorporate things like silk pillowcases and bonnets into your routine to avoid friction & pulling while you sleep.
Don’t Lose Hope
It can be isolating to feel like your body is working against you, and dealing with PCOS and hair loss can certainly feel that way. With self compassion and working to heal alongside your body rather than be angry at it, you can begin to reverse your PCOS hair loss and regain your freedom.