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Hi, I’m Alyssa! AKA, The PCOS Nutritionist Alyssa!

I’m a Registered Dietitian dedicated to helping you eliminate your PCOS symptoms with sustainable and realistic nutrition changes.

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How I Reversed My PCOS Hair Loss Naturally

Hair loss is something a lot of people with PCOS struggle with. It’s also one of the hardest to cope with since it can take a serious swipe at your confidence and mental health.. 

As a registered dietitian who also has PCOS, I’ve definitely struggled with hair loss. Fortunately, I’ve incorporated evidence-based natural remedies into my routine, which has resolved my PCOS-related hair loss concerns.

In this blog post, I’m going to share why hair loss happens in PCOS, how you can manage it, and how I reversed my PCOS hair loss naturally. 

woman touching her thinning hair with text overlay stating "how I reversed my pcos hair loss"

Does PCOS Cause Hair Loss?

In short, yes, PCOS can cause hair loss. PCOS related hair loss can present as generalized hair thinning or it could be more pronounced with obvious bald spots.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder that affects approximately 6-12% of women of reproductive age in the United States (1). Besides hair loss, other common symptoms of PCOS include irregular periods, infertility, weight gain, acne, food cravings, hirsutism (excess hair growth such as facial or body hair), and fatigue.

In order to understand how to reverse your hair loss, you need to determine why it’s happening. Let’s dive into what that could be.  

What Causes PCOS Hair Loss?

The underlying cause of PCOS hair loss could be a variety of factors. It’s important to talk to your healthcare provider about your concerns so they can help you identify the reason you’re experiencing hair loss. Many of these can be determined with simple blood tests. 

High Androgen Levels

Androgens are certain hormones that are typically referred to as male hormones since they help in the development of more masculine features. Testosterone is one of the most common androgens. All female bodies make androgens, but to a lesser degree than a male does. 

Women with PCOS tend to have higher levels of androgens, such as high DHEA-S or high testosterone levels. In fact, up to 80% of those with PCOS have high androgen levels (2).

High androgen levels can cause hair loss, which is medically referred to as female pattern hair loss, or androgenic alopecia. If this is the cause of your hair loss, lowering androgens such as testosterone levels will be key to reducing and reversing your hair fall. 

To learn more about how to do this, check out this post: How To Lower Testosterone Levels In Women With PCOS.

Nutrient Deficiencies

For reasons that aren’t completely understood, women with PCOS tend to be at a higher risk for developing certain nutrient deficiencies, which may contribute to hair loss. 

Nutrient deficiencies that may cause hair loss: 

While having PCOS can put you at a higher risk for these types of nutrient deficiencies, there are also other factors that can increase your risk for them as well, such as:

  • Pregnancy or breastfeeding
  • Under-eating and/or malnutrition
  • Following a vegetarian or vegan diet
  • Certain prescription medications common in PCOS such as Metformin and birth control pills
  • Certain malabsorption medical conditions

Your healthcare provider can screen you for nutrient deficiencies. If you are deficient in any nutrients, supplementation may be necessary to correct the deficiency.

If you’re thinking that you want to take supplements to “cover your bases”, I’d reconsider that idea. Without a known deficiency, there’s no evidence to support that taking supplements would be beneficial. In fact, it could actually be harmful since excessive intake of certain nutrients can actually lead to hair loss. 

Hormonal Imbalances

Since hormones are kind of this intertwined system that tend to function cohesively, other hormonal imbalances are common in PCOS. 

An underactive thyroid is particularly common in PCOS. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease that is 3x more common in PCOS than the general population (3). An alteration in how your thyroid is functioning can be the root cause of hair loss. 

woman looking at a hair brush in awe of how much hair came out.

Insulin Resistance & Type 2 Diabetes

While research has shown mixed results, insulin resistance may play a role in hair loss. Up to 80% of women with PCOS have insulin resistance and 50% will go on to develop type 2 diabetes before the age of 40 (4). 

Type 2 diabetes is associated with an increased risk of hair loss. It can cause poor blood circulation which can affect the growth of hair follicles and lead to hair thinning (5). 

The good news is that regardless of the root cause, there are several natural home remedies, such as dietary and lifestyle changes, that can drastically improve your hair loss. Let’s dive into some of those and I’ll talk about my PCOS experience with hair loss.

How I Reversed My PCOS Hair Loss

Before my PCOS diagnosis, I remember always feeling like I was losing an obscene amount of hair daily, whether it was in the shower or when I ran my fingers through my hair. I would ask my hairdressers over the years, and they’d all tell me the same thing: losing about 50 to 100 strands per day was normal. Ok cool…but I wasn’t exactly counting the strands that would fall out…and 100 strands did seem kind of excessive. 

It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with PCOS after going off of oral contraceptives to try to get pregnant that everything clicked. My hair loss had ramped up, my menstrual cycle was missing, and my acne was out of control. I realized the birth control pills had probably been keeping my symptoms at bay just enough to not make them seem too abnormal. 

Here’s how I reversed my PCOS hair loss:

  1. Figured out the root cause. I talked to my doctor and had blood tests done that showed I had high testosterone levels and low levels of vitamin D and vitamin B12. I started to supplement with vitamin D and vitamin B12 to optimize my levels. 
  1. Tweaked my diet. I had already been a dietitian for several years so I already followed a healthy diet, but I needed to tweak some things to improve insulin sensitivity and lower inflammation. For more info on a balanced diet for PCOS, grab your free copy of A Dietitian’s 7 Day PCOS Diet Plan PDF.
  1. Started taking Ovasitol. Inositol is the most well-studied supplement for PCOS. It can lower androgen levels, along with insulin and inflammation. It can also regulate menstrual cycles and improve egg quality, which was important to me since I was trying to conceive. Read more about its benefits for PCOS here: 8 Ovasitol Benefits for PCOS.
  1. Implemented some testosterone fighting foods. I learned about the powerful effects that spearmint tea can have on lowering testosterone levels so I started to have a cup of this herbal tea each night before bedtime.  
  1. Became diligent with a self-care routine. Stress can also play a big role in hair loss, stress-related hair loss is actually called telogen effluvium. Finding ways to relax and de-stress were so important for me. 
  1. Practiced patience. Trust me, I know you want to see results fast, but your hair regrowth just doesn’t work that way. It can take a good six months of consistent changes to really see some healthy hair growth. 

Trust the process, it’s worth it!   

receding hair line.

PCOS Supplements For Hair Loss 

Marketers flood people with PCOS with hair loss supplements, typically cramming them with various vitamins, minerals, and medicinal herbs like saw palmetto and ashwagandha

I know you’re probably wondering whether any hair loss supplements are worthwhile. The true answer is that it depends on the individual and the specific supplement. Most of these hair loss supplements lack specific design for individuals with PCOS, contain excessively high amounts of nutrients that won’t address the root cause, and come with a hefty price tag.

Although supplements may seem like a natural way to treat your PCOS symptoms, they’re not always harmless. In fact, certain supplements can actually be harmful. Always talk to your doctor about whether you would benefit from specific supplements for your symptoms like hair loss. 

Other PCOS Hair Loss Treatments 

Aside from diet, lifestyle changes and supplements, there are many prescription medications and hair loss treatment options that may be helpful. 

Your doctor may prescribe anti-androgen medications such as birth control pills or spironolactone. Topical solutions are also available, such as minoxidil. 

Additionally, other more invasive medical treatments such as hair transplant surgery and platelet-rich plasma, also known as PRP treatment, can help address female pattern baldness (6). 

The Bottom Line

Hair loss is a common symptom of PCOS. High androgen levels, nutrient deficiencies, and other hormonal imbalances, such as high blood sugar levels and thyroid dysfunction, could be the underlying cause. 

Your healthcare team can help you identify the root cause of your hair loss. This will help you to put strategic habits, such as diet and lifestyle modifications, into place that can support your hormones and reverse your PCOS hair loss. 

If you’re feeling stuck on where to start, check out The PCOS Playbook! This downloadable resource is your exclusive guide to finally learn how to manage your PCOS with your eating habits. It covers everything from PCOS basics and macronutrients to label reading and building healthy meals. There’s even 30 PCOS friendly recipes and a Grocery Guide bonus! 

Disclaimer: this is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute for or replace professional medical advice for the diagnosis or treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or any other health condition. Always consult with and receive individualized guidance from your healthcare professionals.

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