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PCOS and Hair Loss: The Basics

In previous articles we’ve spoken a lot about hirsutism or increased hair growth as it relates to PCOS. Something we haven’t covered, though, is the connection between PCOS and hair loss (alopecia).

This is something that I am asked about on a fairly regular basis and it is incredibly distressing for those women struggling with hair loss. Generally speaking, we can hide or manage our excess hair but hair loss becomes difficult to hide without resorting to a wig.

So, let’s have a look at what we need to know about hair loss and how we can best manage it.

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The Hair Cycle

Brush with Hair

The first thing we need to understand is the hair cycle. We have about 100 000 hair follicles on our head and we lose about 100 hairs per day (this is normal) Each hair grows for 2-6 years and then enters into a rest phase before eventually falling out.  A new hair should start to grow soon after the old one has fallen out. At any given time, 85% of our hair is in a growth phase whilst 15% is in the resting phase.

The problem with hair loss is that the hair follicle enters the resting phase but doesn’t re-enter a growth phase, leading to hair thinning and baldness. (1)

PCOS and Hair Loss

Research has shown that 67% of all women who suffer from alopecia or hair loss also have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (2). That shows a significant link between PCOS and hair loss. There can also be other causes that we’ll get into later but for now, let’s stick with PCOS.

How High Testosterone Levels Cause Hair Loss

We know that women with PCOS have higher than normal androgen (testosterone) levels (2). A hormone called Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is converted from testosterone and it binds to the hair follicles, making them go into their resting phase sooner than they should, This means that with each growth phase of the hair, the hair becomes thinner and thinner.

The good news, though, is that the follicle itself is still alive so could be reactivated to produce more hair. (3)

Treatment Options to Manage Testosterone

It seems to me that the most sensible thing to do is to address the high testosterone levels that are causing the hair loss in the first place. There are a number of ways to do this naturally so let’s have a look at some of those options:

Diet

It may seem strange that diet is top of my list but you know how firmly I believe in the importance of diet in Shopping basket fruit and vegetables managing our symptoms. Basically, women with PCOS tend to release too much insulin for the amount of carbs that we eat. This causes higher than normal levels of insulin, which stimulates our ovaries to produce too much testosterone.

So, if we can manage our insulin levels, we’ll get a better handle on our testosterone. Get testosterone under control and hopefully we can prevent any further hair loss.

Supplements

I’ve written loads of articles on how certain supplements help to manage our PCOS and more importantly, improve our hormone levels and androgen levels.  You can find out more info on these supplements here.

Exercise

Exercise has been shown to improve all of the metabolic markers of PCOS, including androgen levels. You can read more about it here.

In the next blog, we’ll look at some other treatment options for hair loss, including surgery and implants, an unusual natural remedy and other medical conditions that could be the culprit, apart from PCOS.

I’d love to hear from you about your experiences with PCOS and hair loss, particularly if you have previously suffered from hair loss but have seen an improvement. I’d love to hear about the things that you have tried that worked and those that didn’t work. Leave me a comment below!

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Tarryn Poulton

Tarryn Poulton

Tarryn Poulton is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and PCOS expert who has been a leader in the online PCOS space for over 8 years. Tarryn has the support of leading clinicians from around the world who support her scientific approach to understanding and talking about PCOS this includes all medical journals and ongoing research. You can read more about Tarryn and the team here.

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58 Responses

58 Responses

  1. Hi ,

    I am 22 years old, I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 15. I have extreme hair loss and hair on my face and around my body has become thicker and I have more hair. I am currently losing weight. I have lost 20kg, unfortunately, my hair loss is getting worse. I wax my face and now I have marks on my face and neck. If anyone has any solutions please help me. I am desperate.

    Thanks,
    Kim

  2. Hi,
    This is the first time I ever post anything regarding my health condition but my hair loss has reached a whole new level.
    I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 20, and have always dealt with hair loss. Back then I had so much I didn’t think there was much to worry about. Now it’s 7 years later and I’ve lost almost 60% of my hair. I first tried to use organic shampoos, which made it terribly, terribly, terribly worst; and the anti hair fall one I’m currently using doesn’t change a thing.
    I’m pretty sure every woman here dealing with this issue feels the same despair. My doctors are finally taking it seriously though (they used to tell me that the amount of hair on my head couldn’t lead to anything) and I’m waiting for my blood test results to start the right medications.
    I just need reassuring on the fact that our hair does grow back. At least some of it.

  3. I have been told my my doctor that I have mild pcos. I get my menstrual cycle every month but just a couple of day late like 12 days max . Will I cause me future health problems?

  4. If your hair is thinning, nuhairrx serum will this fix this problem! I love nuhairrx . This came at an awesome time because my hair has been thinning for a while now. I guessed it was just a thing I would have to deal with. So when I tried nuhairrx, I was guardedly optimistic. After a week or so, I began to notice my morning routine taking a little longer and needing a bit more gel. I realized my hair was getting thicker. I was so thrilled when one of my friends asked me what I was using.

  5. Hi. I have a silly couple of questions. I have PCOS & hypothyroidism. I started Aldactone (spironolactone) about 2 years ago for my facial hair growth. It worked great! I only had to trim every 2-3 days in contrast to daily, but I have noticed that I have slowly been losing hair at the crown of my head since starting this medication. I have tried to wean myself off of the medication, but I lose a gross(hand fulls)amount of hair each time I try to stop. I really feel trapped because I only started this medication so I did not have to trim my facial hair everyday, and now I am going bald. The only other medications I take are Synthroid (levothroxine) and Glucophage (Metformin). I have never had any trouble with my blood sugar, but once I turned 30, my MD put me on it to help with my PCOS. I feel so desperate, and I am VERY insecure. I do not know what to do, and my MD is absolutely no help. He said it was just a coincidence that the hair started falling out when I started Aldactone.

    I feel like I am in a hopeless cycle, and I am getting very depressed. I do not really like taking medications, and now I feel like I can not ever quit taking this one.

    Do you have any advise or has ANYONE out there ever had this experience? I have searched the internet for other people in a similar circumstance, but I have not been able to find much information.

    1. Hi Megan,

      I feel ya. I haven’t actually been dx with PCOS and I haven’t taken those medications, so someone else here may be able to give you some better insights there. But I will say that my PCPs initially brushed off my hair loss and weren’t really willing to hear about it. I recommend finding another doctor if they’re not going to sit down and talk to you about the link between glucophage and the hair loss. you may want to try a dermatologist or gyn too (if you’re not already seeing one) – some have more experience and understanding of how all these things can be interrelated.

      also, has your dr mentioned spironolactone? that’s what my derm gave me for the hair loss and i have read it’s also used for hirsuitism. may be worth a shot but definitely ask a dr about their thoughts. i think it can help some.

    2. Its not the aldactone, it’s the thyroid meds. Thyroid meds often cause hair loss. I’m a hair stylist who specializes in hair loss. Trust me, it’s the synthroid. Talk to your doc and see if you can switch to something else. But be sure to wean off the synthroid. Don’t just stop cold turkey, or you’ll probably see more loss for a bit.

    3. I have tried those medications as well and they did nothing for any of my symptoms. I was highly allergic to the metformin too and after a lot of research I stopped it due to it being a diabetes drug and I am NOT a diabetic.

      My saving grace has been going to see a functional medicine doctor and naturopath and getting a DUTCH test by Precision Analytical run that tells exactly where the problems in the hormones are along the hormonal pathways so we can address the actual issue.

      Hope that helps for anyone who sees this!

      1. Hi Shanna, Metaformin is used for PCOS, but was developed as a diabetic medicine. The way it works is that it makes your body more sensitive to insulin. With PCOS your body usually has enough insulin, but is not processing it properly and this results in higher testosterone levels which in turn leads to a lot of the PCOS symptoms. By taking Metaformin, your insulin levels can return to a more normal level, and testosterone levels decrease.
        Just because it wasn’t originally made for PCOS doesn’t mean it can’t help and you should throw the medicine out the window. As an example, Viagra was originally made to be a heart medication, a side effect of the drug just happened to be more profitable, so it’s more well known as a erectile disfunction pill.
        And just be careful, PCOS goes hand in hand with poor insulin processing, so it can lead to diabetes really easily.

      2. Hi Shanna, Metaformin is used for PCOS, but was developed as a diabetic medicine. The way it works is that it makes your body more sensitive to insulin. With PCOS your body usually has enough insulin, but is not processing it properly and this results in higher testosterone levels which in turn leads to a lot of the PCOS symptoms. By taking Metaformin, your insulin levels can return to a more normal level, and testosterone levels decrease.
        Just because it wasn’t originally made for PCOS doesn’t mean it can’t help and you should throw the medicine out the window. As an example, Viagra was originally made to be a heart medication, a side effect of the drug just happened to be more profitable, so it’s more well known as a erectile disfunction pill.
        And just be careful, PCOS goes hand in hand with poor insulin processing, so it can lead to diabetes really easily.

    4. Hi, I’m afraid to say I also had the same issue. My hair loss started exactly the same time as starting Spiro. Go and see a tricologist and/or a dermatologist that works specifically with hair loss. It’s been 10 years for me and I still have a head of hair but only because of the meds I have been put on. It is slowly thinning though I’m afraid.

  6. I am a 27 year old female who was told I have PCOS late last year. I am very under weight and have normal levels of testosterone, but I have excess hair growth in some areas, and am losing so much of my hair hair! I was told taking metformin would restore hair growth and using a product called Activance? Anyone have any advice or oppinions ?

    1. Hi Sarah, metformin would help if you are insuline resistant which is very common for women with pcos. As for the excessive body/facial hair growth, hair thinning loss and acne those are mostly treated with birthcontrols and spirolactone. Both of these together has worked wonders for my cystic acne.

      1. My doctor is considering putting me on spironolactone for my recent occurrence of continual cysts on my inner thigh and cystic acne (which is fairly mild)… Is spironolactone a lifetime commitment ? She told me I shouldn’t get pregnant on it. Does anyone have anything they’d suggest in place of spironolactone and birth control? I went off bc and was getting my periods at first and no I am not either. A lot of changes and trying to figure out the best plan.

        1. Spiro can’t be taken when you’re pregnant because there’s potential to ‘feminize’ the fetus if it’s male, and cause some hormonal issues. That’s why they usually require you take the pill if you’re going to go on spiro. I think it’s a lifetime commitment, for as long as your hormones are unstable – i don’t know if it’s often used for menopausal women but many times women need hormone replacement therapy to deal with the other various menopausal side effects anyway. since your hormones change with aging anyway.

          as far as other options, i (personally) have found best results from being on spiro and birth control for acne and hair loss (cannot comment on cysts). i have heard about all kinds of supplements (vitex, saw palmetto, estroblock) and i’ve dabbled in them, but none gave me as quick a response in cystic acne as being on the pill (i’m on zovia) and spiro. i went off both for about 1-2 years to see the effects – for me, the effects were bad (terrible acne, horrible cramps, continued hairloss). BUT it sounds like yours is a milder symptom, so you may find more success with supplements. there are quite a few women out there who say those things, or other cleansing methods, like oil-cleansing, helped their acne.

          also, if you haven’t already, you can ask about lower-dose birth control pills and lower doses of spiro if you’re concerned about taking hormonal therapies. if you’re trying to find a solution while trying to get pregnant, i’m guessing the options for your acne will be more topical treatments, and possibly that could help the cysts too but i don’t know much about that symptom. and hopefully if you do get pregnant, your body’s hormonal changes will stabilize during pregnancy anyhow. at least that’s my hope!

          and be sure to tell your dr if you really aren’t keen on the idea of taking spiro or the pill – they may have alternative ideas but i find most drs don’t give you all the options, just the one they’re most familiar with. So you gotta kind of lead the conversation.

  7. Has anyone looked into or tried hair transplants? Hair loss makes me feel like less of a woman. It has stripped me of my confidence and femininity. Despite the idea that we are all special and that ever person has their individual life challenges…. I still am extremely envious if those emails ladies with long, thick, bouncy hair. I have a huge balding patch right on the top of my head.

      1. HI bibi, i’m curious about that too. i haven’t seen much about transplants in women – i have read that it’s not always a good solution since many women deal with diffuse thinning, rather than just 1 spot, so it’s hard to find a good thick area to take from. But i have seen a lot of posts (i think from myhairlossjourney or some site like that) about toppers/hair pieces. That seems to be a fine solution for some people, and may be worth looking into if you’re trying to focus on one spot and also add a little more volume. Also check out some of the cover-the-grey or viviscal products – they’re not permanent solutions, but they are cheaper and quicker routes in the interim even if you decide to look into transplantation. and this may sound too obvious, but try a deep side part. that can go a long way in covering the crown/wide part. also it’s pretty hair-trendy right now!

  8. Paleo diet and exercise. I have thinning hair from pcos and I’ve tried pretty much everything to help. The paleo diet has improved the look of my hair as well as helping it grow. I still can’t believe it. It is also helping me lose belly fat. When you have pcos, you know how hard that is.

    1. Hi Michelle, I feel like i hear so much about paleo but i’m not totally clear on what it is (is it a lot of meat or not meat? no beans? bread?) What do you eat/avoid eating? is it just a good way to eat more ‘whole’ foods? (i hear about that whole 30 a lot too). Thanks!

    2. How long did it take you to notice the difference after following the diet ?
      i suffer from extreme hair loss but im also not overweight

  9. Hair loss makes me want to cry on a daily basis. No change it with diet and exercise. Or supplements. Rogaine has not worked. It makes me sad x

    1. Gemma, i know it doesnt undo that kind of sadness, but know that this is not uncommon. A lot of us have felt the same way and dealt with hair loss. It sucks. But when id walk around, jealous and obsessed with analyzing other peoples hair, it helped to remember that many, many people will go through this. You probably even know someone already who is fightining it and you may not realize it.

      I wont harp on this, but ill say that rogaine took about 5 months to help a little for me, and it was key that i not use more than it said (otherwise, it will cause more shedding for me.) i know it dont work for everyone, but i had written it off a few times before. So just in case you are impatient (as i always am trying things like that.)

      I dont know you, but i bet theres a lot about you that people notice and love. I can think of people who have great hair, but its not the first thing that comes to mind when i think of them. its so hard not to fixate. Clip in extensions and powders can help A lot if ya dont like what you look like. Every freakin celebrity wears fake hair! Play up what you like about yourself and dont be afraid to try extensions or wigs or new haircuts. They can look gorgeous and totally natural. I actually met a girl out dancing and had no idea she had a wig on until she took it off. You can still look $&@/$ing awesome.

      And when yiu really feel down, dont let yoruself go too far down the internet rabbit hole! Just go out, or distract yourself. Im saying this on a message board ironically, but for real! You have all my hope and good thoughts.

        1. Thanks a lot, it is nice to know it may help some people feel a little better on those real bad days – i have definitely been there!

  10. frustration is the first thing that comes to mind after having tried so many different treatments and still my hair continues to fall out. high levels of testosterone is definitely not my problem, Ive tried changing my diet, relaxation techniques, it really is frustrating and demoralizing me beyond belief

    1. Hi Nathalie, first i just want to say you are not alone – i know it is really hard to go through these kinds of changes and not know who to talk to, let alone what to do. i feel an obligation now to respond to all these comments because of that – i read these boards incessantly. i cried whenever i got a haircut (and the hairdresser would inevitably recommend biotin as the solution to my problems.) there were a lot of hard days. just checking – have you already seen a derm or gyn to pinpoint pcos? or do you suspect PCOS based off symptoms?

      obviously, everything we can offer each other is mostly anecdotal, but i will say i believe stress management and diet and exercise are all important (for your whole body), but i don’t think they are the ‘fix’ for things like this. Nor are special supplements, in my experience. these things may be a help, and can foster a better environment for trying to regrow hair, but i’ve spent enough on vitamins and massages and things to know they aren’t miracle workers (again, for me).

      i believe really strongly (at least right now) that monophasic bcp and rogaine foam (NOT the liquid) have made a little difference in my hair. not the answer for everyone, but possibly worth trying if you haven’t already. Also, i don’t know if you’re dealing more with the loss or overall thinness (some people fortunately have thicker hair to start), but if you are worried about the look, there are a lot of products in drugstores/BBB/Ulta that can help add some color to any thin spots and give you the look of thicker hair. that can be a big help when you’re trying to get out the door in the morning. also, hairspray! i also bought clip in extensions, which aren’t something i use every day, but having a little extra oomph (and being able to curl half my hair ahead of time) is a big help for events. i wore one at my wedding and no one can ever tell (i used myfantasyhair).

      this is a long response to your short post, but if you have questions or want opinions or what not, please feel free to reach out!

  11. I’ve been shedding hair for 13 years and from all the research I’ve done there is no product that will restore your hair so please don’t waist your money. Keep your weight down and excerise, this will slow it down but won’t stop the hair from falling out. I tried rogain but it caused more weight gain, fluid retention and heart palpitations so I stopped.

  12. Dear Tarryn

    I usually follow and use the products suggested in your website and believe me I have got results right from weight loss to reduced hirsutism fogginess of the head is also gone along with the other symptoms of pcos.I thank you for that once again.

    I read about the Vitamin D drops on your sight but unable to get them in amazon.in, however Jarrows vitamin d 5000iu softgel is available there.May I use them instead?

    Hope you hear from you soon .
    Thanks
    Jay

  13. Hi
    I am not sure what is wrong with me and what to do. After numerous visits to different drs and specialists no one has actually given me an answer. I have lost most of my hair in a very short period of time and it doesn’t stop falling out . I am 42 and my period is normal always every 28 days and for 5 days however one of the drs I went to recently put me on natural progesterone and my last period started at 24 days and I had spotting . He taught I might have been estrogen dominant . My testosterone levels have always been on the lower side except two tests that where on the higher side but still within range and I had one test with a high FAI result but only the once . I have had blood tests, salvia hormone and urine tests and always normal .
    I have however ended up in hospital twice with lower abdominal pain and was told they didn’t know what the problem was didn’t do any tests on the second visit the first visit they said they found free fluid around my lower abdominal area and liver but didn’t know what caused it. I had an internal examination by the gyno and he said the lining of my uterus was a bit think but he fixed that why I was under I had two small cysts near my clips on my tubes but nothing else he removed my clips under my request as I didn’t want anything forgein in my body . He did find extensive adhesions around my sigmound, lower pelvic area and lower abdomen but no endometriosis and couldn’t explain why I had it so bad.
    I have had a bit of oily skin and have lost weight , I have low blood pressure always have and my cholesterol is on the low side 3.1 . I am wondering what others free testerone levels have been and how fast their hair loss came on and can u still have PCOS if u don’t have cysts , don’t have high testerone or free testerone and an you get it in your 40’s as I am curious why skin has become a bit oily and it happened very quickly . I have been a bit moody which is made worse by the fact I have lost so much hair . I really would love your advice or help .

  14. I was wondering does hair loss and menstual problems usually always link together with PCOS? I have long dark hair and in a short space of 2 weeks I have noticed alot of thinning on top. I am suffering with several gynie problems and pains down below but I do not have achne and I am very slim and unsure whether I do have PCOS or not (No one in my family has this) can untreated illness or disease such as severe PID lead to hair loss?

    1. Hi, it is possible to have PCOS and be thin with no acne issues. I am one of those cases. I never believed that I had PCOS since I’ve never had acne issues and I am thin but I was experiencing hair thinning on my crown and I went to several doctors that were not helpful until I met my current doctor that finally diagnosed me with PCOS based off of symptoms and blood work which indicated I was estrogen dominant . Have your doctor check your hormone levels to see if they could be unbalanced.

  15. Thank u for this post! I havent been dx with pcos but im pretty convinced it is the issue. I had tsh testing. I eat healthy, no big stress, no big weight change. My pcps just said its genetic, oh well, and my derm said rogaine and spiro. But the rogaine destroys my scalp (the flaking is worse than the baldness!) and i am getting into the childbearing stage so i am afraid of relyin on spiro… Xiomara, im happy to talk/help select styles! I think we are hardest on ourselves. Just have to try to look at positives. Ive never heard of betnivate ill look into that..

  16. Yes, there are many things you can do to prevent your current hair loss from getting worse. Avoid wearing hats/caps for long periods of time (and, when you do wear them, make sure they’re not pulling your hair) – they’re important when you need to protect your hair from strong sun, witch does great damage to your hair; don’t shower with too hot water.

  17. Hey all! I have tried everything.

    I started with thinning hair and hair loss and was when I went to the doctor and got diagnosed PCOS. My ovaries were not good at all and my symptoms: non regular period, painful periods, hirsutism (I won’t say it was really bad) and hair loss.

    I tried the pill, metformine and to be honest anything worked very well and without any side effects. I started to take Vitamine E + Selenium and I gotta say that my periods came back, my hair started to grow, my mood is better, and I don’t even have any pain, however, when I don’t take it, the symptoms come over again, though apparently I don’t have many cysts on my ovaries.

    I am currently on a homeopathic treatment, looking forward to fix my body and find the balance, trying to get a new haircut (which is not an easy thing with PCOS hair), and also a better lifestyle.

    Any questions or comments please contact me, I am as interested in you in helping each other to fight this battle.

    Hugs!

    PD. I would like to talk to people, Im feeling a little blue about my hair, and I want a change, however nobody understands it and I think they say that I better leave it as it is, because right now dent look “that bad”, and Im feeling pity from my relatives, I want a constructive opinion, if u read this you can talk to me and if you have thinning hair, I would trust your opinion more
    Thanks. 🙂

    1. I have PCOS and went off the pill about a year ago, and the hair loss is getting worse and effecting my confidence and overall well being. I have an endocrinology appt in Jan and hoping she can offer sound advice! Hang in there.

      1. I know how that feels! I actually went back to my PCP office and demanded a battery of hormone testing – i’ve had horrendous menstrual cramps and i was convinced they’re related. The doc said I have general anxiety disorder and should be on an anti-depressant…which actually sent me into a tailspin of further depression (and insurance won’t approve the med she prescribed). I don’t think that diagnosis is way out of line though, so perhaps it’s another possibility for some of us with ‘normal’ labs. The most difficult thing sometimes is being told ‘you’re fine, you’re just stressing yourself out’ when the stress is because things aren’t fine… On another note, a coworker of mine is trying tape-in extensions to fatten up her hair and thus far she loves them. i am waiting to see what kind of damage results from removing them, but it may be a good option for those looking to add some volume. i also bought some ‘cover the grey’ powder from bed/bath/beyond that isn’t a great color, but it helps a little since i have dark hair/white scalp. Also recommend henna to dye – it kind of stains, which helps things look a little more blended. Remember, people don’t notice as much as you notice about yourself!

        1. That is my plan, to ask for a battery of hormone testing. I’ve done that in the past though, and have been told its difficult to do because of how much hormone levels change on a daily basis but i will try again! Thank you for reminding me that people don’t notice as much we notice about ourselves. Important to remember especially because i worry about stressing myself and making it worse!

          My hair loss is pretty much only in my bangs (didn’t have bangs until it started and then got them to try to hide it) so i don’t think extensions would help. As far as grey, i’ve been going grey since my early 20s (now 35) so it doesn’t bother me, in fact I embrace it. I like the way it looks. Thanks for your reply! Onward and Upward!

  18. Do you happen to know of any relation between grey hair and PCOS? I have been getting grey hair since I was at least 14, and now I’m almost 25 years old and have 25% grey hair coverage. Amongst all of the other issues that come along with having PCOS, this is also embarrassing and takes a lot of time and money to keep it maintained. If PCOS can affect hair loss, can it also affect grey hair and how can I help it?

  19. hi. my name is christi and I’m new to the world of pcos. at the age if 18 I had an ovary removed because of a cyst and went on to have 2 babies ( 3 pregnancies) and flew under the radar for many years until the fall of 2012. I noticed small changes in my hair but blamed going off the pill and coloring too often. then hair and lots of it were on the shower drain and on my hands every morning. my mom has VERY thin hair ( see the scalp thin) and I knew there was a problem. my hair also takes on a weird texture at certain times of the month . I saw my ob/gyn which was a waste of time. after 5 months I went to a different a different dr and begged for help. a simple blood test gave me answers, hope, and peace. I’m on meds and praying for this to be the right path. vanity is on my mind but I am SO relieved to find out that I am not going crazy… there are weird explainable changes going on in my body. thanks for being out here for girls likeme.

  20. I have had alopecia 3 times.The 1st couple of times they were just small patches & my doctor referred me to a dermatologist who prescribed Betnovate Scalp application (GlaxoSmithKline), within about 3 months the hair had grown back both times.
    This time my Doctor (I moved & had to change Doctors) wouldnt prescribe anything, despite me asking for the Betnovate again & just told me to relax more & not get stressed.This was over a year ago, all that has happened is the original patch has got bigger & bigger, other patches have also formed, so a large percentage of my scalp is bald.I am lucky that most of the patches are underneath so not immediately obvious (except if the wind is blowing!) About a month ago i went back to the Doctors & demanded that she give me the Betnovate again, fortunately she relented. I am hoping & praying that it will be 3rd time lucky again. It is early days at the moment, but fingers crossed.

  21. Not only have I battled PCOS symptoms most of my life but last year my thyroid decided to run amok leading to a full thyroidectomy due to the size of the goiter that had developed and the cancerous tumor within. My hair had already been extremely thin from the PCOS and then with the added thyroid malfunction I was tempted daily to shave off what little hair I had left and resort to wearing wigs. Thankfully it did not get to that point because my endocrinologist prescribed 5 mg/d of Finasteride (not suitable for everyone) and this helped enormously with hair regrowth. You can no longer check your makeup by looking at my scalp! I will caution though that women of potential childbearing age should not take Finasteride or even handle crushed or broken tablets. It is neither approved nor currently intended for use in women who are or may become pregnant due to the potential for birth defects in the fetus. Since I had previously had a partial hysterectomy, therefore no risk of becoming pregnant, my doctor felt it was appropriate for me to take and I am grateful he suggested it! I had tried Metformin and Spironolactone to try to help with PCOS symptoms in the past with no success but Finasteride was one medication I tried that helped with at least one of the very frustrating symptoms I experience from PCOS.

  22. Hair loss was actually what led me to find out I had PCOS. It was ten years ago, I was 20, and one day my aunt told me that my hair looked like it was falling out. I guess I didn’t notice it because it was slow. I had been battling my weight, but always ranged from 125lbs to 165. And I had regular periods. So I went to a slew of doctors, including endocrinologists and dermatologists. No one could give me answers. It wasn’t until 5 years ago I was properly diagnosed with PCOS. When it comes to hair loss the best treatment I know of if minoxidil. You can buy a 6 month supply at Sam’s or Walmart for $30. I buy the men’s and just use half. If you buy the women’s you are just buying diluted product. Makes more sense to buy the men’s and just take half the dose. But, if you aren’t trying to get pregnant, it can’t hurt to take the full dose. Nioxin is a good shampoo line designed specifically for thinning hair. I take spironolactone to lower my testosterone levels. That helps with the hair loss. My stylist also recommends coloring your hair, as the coloring process actually thickens the hair. Also keeping a shorter hair cut at or above the shoulders helps. Thinning hair only looks worse the longer it gets. Mostly, I just wear my hair up in a pony tail. I just don’t worry much about doing my hair. Men don’t have to spend a half hour styling their hair every morning, why should I? I think it is important to “roll with the punches” and adapt to however your body changes. I don’t define my self worth or my beauty by my hair, and in so doing, it has gone from a big deal to something I just live with and accept. Acceptance doesn’t mean you stop fighting, it just means you stop suffering.

    1. Oh and since following Taryn’s low glycemic diet I have lost almost 60 lbs and am off of Metformin and the Pill. My periods are regular like clockwork. My mom has stage 4 breast cancer, so I want to stay as far away from the pill as possible due to my increased risk of developing breast cancer myself.

    2. Casey- how long on the spiro did your hair finally stop falling out? Did it come back- the hair you lost? I am on metformin and spironolactone . I am taking vitamins which include biotin and saw palmetto. I have never had thinning with my PCOS until recent. I feel like my endocrinologist is not really helping.

    3. I am suffering from 13 month of hair thinning and acne. My Dr. just told e she thinks its PCOS and I have testing for the next couple weeks. I just found this board and stumbled upon your response. I have to say Ive been pretty miserable this past year watching my appearance change. I don’t feel sexy for my husband, which he would say is ridiculous, but I personally am just down and out about it. Your post is amazing, so positive and such truth. I need to stop suffering! Thank you for your uplifting words. I needed to read them.

      1. Trish, I felt these same things, and that pain and strain in a marriage is so disheartening, i wish i could send you a hug. and while i havent been tested for pcos, ive found that rogaine foam has def helped my hair (i swear im not a salesperson but it really has) since january. The liquid was a disaster but the foam has helped me regain my confidence. Im still a little jealous of thicker haired friends but i dont have to try ss hard to cover spots to feel comfortable. If you are not seeing much success with other methods, i really recommend it, amd i wish it was available earlier. I also went back on zovia and spiro after no bc and then aviane (bad fir my acne!) and my skin is finally getting better (had a few meltdowns over that too and tried all kinds of topical methids to no avail.) i really recommend reading up on bcps before you try a new kind (if you go that route) since some drs just dint know much about the effectiveness of different kinds of hormones in treating acne.

        I wrote before about tape extensions (which looked great but were brutal to remove on many levels) and being told i had GAD (which is not the cause of my issues) and i can say that i felt better thenpast 2 months than in the past 2 years. Please remember it can get better AND that you are seeing more than anyone else notices. I went through a very dark time and i know it can truly mess with your head but be patient when trying new therapies and please feel free to holler on a bad day. I relied a lot on my husband to pick me up on bad days but forums like this can be a great sounding board! And casey was so right, you can deal with it and also accept yourself at the same time. Hair may not be my greatest asset but its not what i look for in a person either.

  23. I had mild hair loss my freshman year at college. To be honest, I noticed my hair thinning but wasn’t sure if I imagined it or not. And regardless, I was busy with school, so I mostly ignored it and never really thought about whether my PCOS was the cause. Fast forward to the end of freshman year, and I decided to go on the pill, hoping it would clear up my acne, regulate my periods and provide me with contraception as an added bonus. Unluckily for me, my gynecologist simply handed me whatever brand of birth control she had free samples of – two months later my hair was shedding like crazy every time I took a shower. Doing some research, I found that all hormonal birth control can lead to hair loss – sometimes while on the pill or sometimes after going off. I also discovered the pill I was one, had “high androgen activity” and is listed as one of the pills most likely to cause hair loss. I switched to a different pill and then stopped all together because of other side effects. I have been told it will take 3 to 6 months for my hair to stop shedding because of the way the hair growth cycle works. Right now I’m basically in the wait-and-see period. First I was sad about the hair loss. Then angry at my gynecologist. Most days I’m just sick of my hair shedding and half of me wants to just cut it all off so that I don’t have to deal with it any more.

    Long story short, is in general I think the pill is a bad idea for PCOS. I was hoping for a quick fix, especially for my acne. But the pill just puts fake hormones into your body, it doesn’t really “fix” anything. My acne actually got worse/stayed the same on the pill. If you are considering bc pills, I would just say to be aware that hair loss is a possible side effect, and that to avoid pills with high androgen activity.

    1. Elena, have you tried going on Metformin? See an endocrinologist or your primary doctor and ask them to see if you would be okay to take it. Since starting Metformin, my acne has completely cleared up. I saw it clearing up within a week. And it helps regulate your insulin levels, which in turn regulates the amount of testosterone your ovaries are producing.

      1. Hi Imma,
        I came off the pill a few weeks ago & I am really worried about my skin getting bad again ( when I was on dianette it was clear) My endocrinologist started me on metformin last April along with Dianette so I can’t tell if it helped my acne. I’m still taking metformin & I’m hoping it will help keep my skin clear. Did it take long for it to work for you?

      2. I was put on Metformin and I couldn’t eat because my food would go straight through me. 3 pills 3 times a day.. I could barley take one. And I was 16. That was a very rocky spot in my PCOS journey.

  24. I suffer with hair loss & it has affected my self confidence. I am applying minoxidil daily to my scalp & it has helped stop the hair loss but I still have thin hair & very thin areas on the top of my head. Minoxidil is expensive though, I attend a trichnologist two/three times a year for it & for a check up.

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