PCOS AND HAIR LOSS – What Works for Me

Of the myriad of PCOS symptoms, I find hair loss to be the most difficult to cope with.  Thick, radiant hair is a symbol of beauty and femininity.  When it seems like you see more hair in your hairbrush and in the bathroom sink or tub than on your head (okay, maybe I am exaggerating a bit here) it can be really depressing. 

The medical term for PCOS hairloss is androgenic alopecia.  Androgenic alopecia in women is due to the action of androgens which most of us with PCOS have an excess of.  Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a derivative of the male hormone testosterone (an androgen) is the enemy of hair follicles on your head. DHT appears to be at least partially to blame for the miniaturization of hair follicles in women suffering with androgenic alopecia. Testosterone converts to DHT with the aid of the enzyme Type II 5-alpha reductase, which is held in a hair follicle’s oil glands. Scientists now believe that it’s not the amount of circulating testosterone that’s the problem but the level of DHT binding to receptors in scalp follicles. DHT shrinks hair follicles, making it impossible for healthy hair to survive.

I have spent countless hours researching PCOS  hair loss solutions.  After trial and error,  here is what works for me.  I just want to preface with the fact that you don’t want to use/take any of the following if you are trying to conceive.

  1. Nizoral Shampoo-  a potent anti-dandruff shampoo, also helps to block the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). I use this to shampoo most days and leave on for a few minutes before I rinse. You can get this at any drugstore for around $10.

 

Spironolactone (Aldactone) is a potassium-sparing diuretic used to treat high blood pressure and swelling. Spironolactone slows the production of androgens in the adrenal glands and ovaries. It prevents DHT from binding to receptor sites in the hair follicles.  You will need a prescription for 100mg 2x day from your doctor.  You also periodically need to get potassium levels checked while you are taking this drug. This is the only prescription drug that I take to help my PCOS. 

5% minoxidil  My naturopath recommended that I use the men’s formula as the women’s 2% is not effective. I have been using this for  a year now with no side effects. Minoxidil stimulates hair growth. I purchase mine at Walmart - 3month supply for $19

Natural progesterone cream days 14-28 of cycle It inhibits the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, which prevents excess DHT from being produced from testosterone.   By ensuring that your progesterone levels are balanced you can ensure that your body is not producing too much DHT.  I use 1/4tsp of  Emerita Pro-gest 2x days 14-28. 

Saw Palmetto  blocks the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). I take 320mg a day.

Next time I’ll share my favorite hair products that help thin hair look a ton thicker.  In the meantime, I encourage you to do your own research into remedies for androgenic alopecia and please post a comment if about what works for you.

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  • http://www.twitter.com/pcosstinks Robin

    Thank you so much, this helped tremendously. I’m headed to the store right now. Hair loss didn’t start out as a symptom that I was concerned with, but it has certainly become one now…that needs immediate attention for sure. Thanks again! I really appreciate it. GREAT GREAT GREAT and VERY HELPFUL POST!!!

    • Amy

      Thanks Robin-
      Give it some time. It will probably take about a month for the hair loss to subside. Let me know how it is going!

  • Jessie

    I was wondering if you have dealt with the facial hair problem or if had any information/advice?

    • Amy

      Hi Jessie-
      The saw palmetto and spironolactone should help. Laser hair removal is wonderful. If you can afford it do it!

  • bj

    Do you still follow this regiment? How long before you seen results? I have pcos but not as severe. i have always had regular periods the only syptoms I have is severe hair loss especially after the birth of my children and excessive unwanted hair. My Dr. recommended Minoxidil with Finestride.

    Last Q how do you use the natural progestrone cream. Also is it available otc?

    • Amy

      Yes I still follow this. It takes about 6 months to really notice your hair getting thicker. I noticed that the hairloss subsided after about a month. You may ask your Doc about spironolactone. I purchase Pro-gest cream from Emitra at my drugstore but you can get it online as well.

      • bj

        Thanks for your reply. I noticed you have 2 shampoos mentioned Nizoral & KM. So do you use both of them on alternate washes or one for a periosd then the other? Also how often do you wash you hair. I have recently (in the new year) taken up walking on the treadmill for 30 min (M-F) as my exercise regime and I sweat. I am fearful to wash my hair too often though because it makes it very dry and brittle. Also I color my hair to cover the greys so washing often would mean coloring more. Right now I stick to twice a weak.

        Also q regarding your earlier post. Why is dairy bad for pcos? I drink 2 glasses of milk + a calcium vitamin every day to get my daily dose of calcium. Is that bad?

        Thank you the site, please keep posting.

        • Amy

          I have read that it is helpful to wash your hair everyday because it washes away the DHT, so I do wash my hair everyday and use the Nizoral and KMS conditioner. In regards to milk, and calcium you can get calcium from sources that are dairy-free like dark leafy greensl like kale and sea vegetables. Many are lactose intolerant as well. Dairy can also mess with our hormones because of the hormones of the cows. These hormones in cow’s milk are particularly high in pregnant cows, which make up 75%-90% of the dairy milk market. High milk intake has been shown to increase blood levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). High IGF-1 levels are believed to promote acne. Cow’s milk contains 5 alpha-reduced steroids and other hormones that can be broken down to DHT. I would suggest eliminating the milk for a while and try to get your calcium from other sources.

  • Dolly

    Hello Amy!!
    I also suffer from PCOS. I love your blog because is soooo helpful!! I have a question. Have you experienced facil hair growth due to the usage of minoxidil 5%? I’m currently using the 2%. Im afraid to use the 5% minoxidil because I read in a couple of places that can increase the growth of facial hair in women.
    Thanks,
    Dolly

    • Amy

      Dolly-
      Thanks so much for your nice comments. I was concerned about the 5% minoxidil too. My naturopath was the one who suggested trying the 5%. She said that the 2% was basically useless. I have not had any side effects and am very happy with the results.

  • Dolly

    Amy-

    Thanks for replying! I also wanted to let you know that I’ve been using this product and is working for me. If you want to take a look..

    http://www.buzzillions.com/reviews/organic-root-stimulator-scalp-scrub-oxygen-therapy-6oz-reviews

    Thanks again :)
    Dolly

  • jasmin

    hello i have the same syndrome.. aside from obesity..what i feel the worst things that comes with my PCOS is my excessive hairgrowth on my legs and practically everywhere..i think.. and also my problem in hairloss ( crowning glory) ..please help me out with this.. sometimes it’s really depressing to have all these.

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      Jasmin-
      Hair loss and Hirtuism are possibly the hardest part on us mentally. Please see my post on what works for me regarding hair loss.
      -Amy

  • Deirdre

    Dear Amy,

    Thank you so much for creating this blog! Your story is very inspiring and I’m happy to feel less alone in this journey. Hair loss has been the only symptom of PCOS (so far) that has caused me to lose sleep. I have thin PCOS and have been on Yas for over 10 years and Spiro for 3 years. A few months ago I stopped Spiro and started Metformin (my husband and I plan to start trying for a baby in the near future) and ever since then, my hair has been shedding like mad. I’m not sure if it was going off of the spiro or adding the Met that caused this awful hair loss, but I never thought it could be this bad… If I could only go back to the hair that I had before I started the spiro, I would’ve never complained about a thing – sure, it was a little thin back then, but not so much that you could see my part from a mile away and I was never paranoid to stand directly under bright lights fearing my hair crown was over exposed. Nonetheless, since I have read this post, I have gone from washing my hair every other day to washing it everyday and I have noticed a big improvement! I think that you are right about the testosterone being converted to DHT from hair oil, and the excessive scalp oil was partly to blame for my problem. So the more I keep that oil at bay, the less shedding I have! Really excited to have at least made a little progress here. After my husband and I have a baby I’d like to switch over to your regimen completely. I’m wondering what plan you have for birth control though? I can’t wait to go back on the Spiro as I found it practically eliminated all oil from my scalp and after reading your blog about birth control pills, I’d prefer not to return to Yas if possible. However, I’m concerned about getting pregnant accidentially while on Spiro given the horrible side effect of possible birth defects. Thanks again for all of your help!

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      Deidre-
      I am glad that my tips have worked for you. I don’t have to worry about pregnancy on the spiro. My husband and I have 3 beautiful kids and he can’t have more if you know what I mean. I would not chance a pregnancy if you are 100% certain that you can’t get pregnant. You can use natural family planning – I used the Creighton Model. I would look using natural progesterone cream. You can start that while you are TTC. Best of luck!
      -Amy

  • April

    Hi Amy~
    I love your blogs! Thank you so much for talking about hairloss. The few things that have worked for me are: finding out I am hypothyroid and taking the t4 pill, taking 200mg Chaste Tree berry and 4 tablets of the Femtrol formula by Enyzmatic Therapy (blend of chaste tree, dong quai, licorice, and hisperidian), taking 400mg chromium, taking Evening Primrose oil and Fish oil, and exercising (nothing crazy-just things like power walking and lifting weights). I also wash my hair everyday and use a natural shampoo without SLS or harsh detergents ( I like Chinese Herbs Stimulating shampoo by Peter Lamas) I believe the regime above has helped with slowing down the hairloss for me! Thanks for the posts, again!
    April

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      April-
      Thanks for sharing what works for you. I will have to look into that shampoo!
      -Amy

  • Jennifer

    I just recently found your blog and am loving it!! I was diagnosed with pcos a couple of months ago, but it started when I took the Depo shot and it accelerated my hair loss to big chunks. It took some months of getting that out of my system. I’ve been taking Saw Palmetto for over a month and paired it with Nioxin (available at Walmart) and have already noticed the slowing of hair loss. I hope to start on either Channel Wrack or Dong Quai to hopefully get back some fullness as my herbalist suggested. Thank you for the time you put in to help others with this.

  • Whitney

    Thank you for sharing your regimen.

  • Michelle

    Did you find that the 5% minoxidil caused the increased shedding in the first few weeks that the bottle warns of? I am scared to start it for fear of more shedding…

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      Michelle-
      I didn’t find that it increased shedding. We are in shedding season right now. In the summer 90% of hair is in the shedding mode. I am also experiencing shedding right now but know that it will ease up as the days grow shorter.

  • Nancy

    Where do you get pro-gest cream?

  • Whitney

    I love your blog! Do you use the minoxidil 1 or 2x a day?

  • Tahnee

    I am about to get off my Bc and start metformin. I am worried that I will start to lose my hair again. How do I take the progesterone cream on days 14/28 if I don’t get a regular period??

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      Tahnee-
      Taking progesterone will help with the hair loss. Ideally you use the cream in the morning and evening on day 14-28 of your cycle and then you stop until you bleed. The first day you bleed becomes day 1 and you start the cycle again. Talk to your doc about using NPC.

  • http://www.hairlosshell.com/. Jeni

    I don’t think I have PCOS, but I do have Androgenetic Alopecia, and it sucks! Nothing I’ve tried has worked to fix my hair loss. I’m glad you’ve had some success controlling it. I’ve tried Nizoral (it made my hair shed more), I just went off Spiro after being on it for almost a year with no results, I’m on 2% Rogaine (5% gives me migraines), and Saw Palmetto didn’t do anything for me. The one thing I haven’t tried is progesterone cream, since I’m on the pill (for hair loss) and you can’t use the cream and the pill together. Anyway, I’m always trying new stuff – something has to work, right?? (ps. I posted this comment on the old version of your blog too).

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      I am trying a new product by Joico called Clinicure. I have read good reviews and my hair stylist said it is really working on her clients. We will see…

      • Angela Lowe

        Hi Amy,
        What products are you using from clinicure? How do you find it now that you have been using for a while? Hope its going well.

        • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

          Angela-
          I will answer this question in next Week’s Diva Dish – so be sure to sign up!

  • Peggy Bauer

    I can’t find Nizoral shampoo anywhere! I googled it and it said that there won’t be any available until the end of the year. Any other suggestions?

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      You can ask your doctor for the 2% prescription Nizoral.

  • Melisa

    Hi Amy,

    I anm sooo excited about your blog!!! Finally someone who understands and I don’t feel so alone with PCOS. I feel that I am losing my hair at the top were it is visable, I hear of this vitamin called Nutricap to prevent hair loss, I was wondering if it was ok for people with PCOS to take it??
    Thought maybe you would know?

    Thanks :)

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      Melisa- If you send me what is in the vitamin I can tell you if I think it will be helpful or not. Just email me amy@pcosdiva.com.

    • Holly

      Dear Amy

      Amy-to echo all of the comments above, thank you so much for this blog – I refer to it constantly like a bible!
      I am currently taking 25mg twice a day Spironolactone for shedding hair but mostly for my oily, acne prone skin. I started on 25mg a day but then went up to 50mg and the benefits have been unbelievable! Firstly, my skin is about 70% less oily, I still get the odd breakout but nothing vicious or stubborn. I don’t get cystic spots anymore either which is heavenly! My back, which was constantly blemished has cleared completely too. Secondly, my hair, which was shedding to the point it was blocking my drain, has got so much fuller and my drain is now hair-free! What I wanted to ask was, how long do you take Spiro for at a time? I’ve been on it for 6 months nearly and my dosage is low. Do you know anything about long term use and if its safe? My potassium levels are OK and I have normal energy levels etc. Thanks again for your wonderful blog! X

      • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

        Holly-
        I have to update this blog post. I had been using Spiro for about 3 years. I became concerned about the long term usage and did a ton of research. I decided to come off of it last fall because of the info I found regarding increased cancer risk. For me it wasn’t worth the risk and I can now say that I manage my PCOS completely naturally. My hormones are very balanced so I haven’t had any issues with acne or excess hair loss since I have come off of it.

        • http://pcosdive.com Jess

          Amy,
          I found a small note way down on the replys that said you had quit spironolactone after 3 years with no excess hair loss because you had balanced your hormones. Please tell me how you did it. I’ve tried 3 times to quit spiro. (am having bad long term side effects) and have encountered massive episodes of hair loss that wouldn’t quit. Would you please address this. I’m desperate.
          Thank you.

  • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

    Stay away from saw palmetto, spironolactone and minoxidil if you are trying to get pregnant. Biotin and liquid silica I think would be okay but be sure to ask your doctor. I have been using a new product from Joico that I think helping with regrowth. It is called Clinicure. It is natural and shouldn’t be an issue. I have found that short hair does wonders for me. I don’t have the anxiety about thinning hair that I did when it was long.

    • Amy E

      I’ve been using the Clinicure (after reading your post) for 3 weeks now. I have already noticed a difference! No regrowth yet (naturally), but I’m not losing fistfuls (or brushfuls) on a daily basis anymore. I so hopeful about this product. Thank you Amy for the suggestion, and for all the information on this blog. I’m new to PCOS (well…not new…just newly diagnosed). It’s so nice to feel hopeful about my health for the first time in over 8 years!

      • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

        This is awesome. I too am seeing a big difference with Clinicure – I see a new post coming. Can I quote you? My hairdresser also says that all her clients that are using it have seen improvement. Thanks for posting!
        -Amy

  • Monica

    I’ve been using the minoxidil for 2 days now and my head is itching like crazy!! Did you experience this? If so does it go away?

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      Monica-
      I haven’t experienced itching. I would ask the pharmacist or doctor. Perhaps you are having an allergic reaction?

  • Kathleen

    I’ve been using Saw Palmetto for about 4 years and it totally reversed my hair loss. I take 325 mg along daily and it stopped the bald patches and weird itchiness on my scalp. I also started using Biotin 5g 2x daily and my hair and skin are nice and soft. I used to have really dry skin and hair, but it’s gone away now.

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      Thanks for Sharing Kathleen!

    • Jennifer

      Hello Kathleen,

      Your post was from over a year ago but I’m hoping you still receive this reply. How is your hair loss doing now? How much hair loss had you experienced before you started taking Saw Palmetto? Also, do you take anything beaides Saw Palmetto and Biotin to combat your PCOS?

      Thanks! Jennifer

  • RRod

    Amy, have you ever heard of the product Hair Essentials by Natural Wellbeing? I came across it on Facebook. I used it off and on for a couple months, noticed a difference but looked like a porcupine with hairs sticking out everywhere;) I stopped that along with my Insulite Labs as I was having anxiety for the past month and haven’t been able to eat that much. I’ve been on Spiro for about 4 years and wasn’t sure about HE bc it has horsetail extract and I thought I read it could affect potassium? I hope to figure out a good balance and help others. You’re so inspiring!

  • Sandy

    HI AMY,

    Wondering how did you get the spiro? Dr. dont normally prescribe it? Was it a special doc? Also do you use minoxidil generic form 1-2 x a day as it states on package? I have severe hair loss due to post pardom from being preg. I also have PCOS. My hair is shedding like mad. Im almost done BF so I really need to start a regimin for my hair.

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      Sandy-
      Your hair will come back. I had severe postpartum hairloss and it took some time and effort but it did grow back. Your doctor won’t prescribe if there is a chance you could become pregnant again as spiro can cause birth defects. Look at my ASK AMY: What products do you use for hair loss? article – you may want to try Joico Clinicure.

  • Paola

    Hi, not sure if you are still responding on your website. Should I email you directly at your email? Hoping for an answer as I am desperate for some help, thanks!

  • Paola

    Hi again Amy, not sure why my post from a few weeks back still says “comment is awaiting for moderation” but I’ll repost and hopefully get some advice. Thanks!:

    My biggest issue is high androgens and hair loss and insomnia. My periods have always been regular, taken no bcps, may have an insulin issue but whenever docs did the GI test, always came out normal. I wanted to incorporate progestrone to help calm androgens but I am really confused about how to use the cream. You had a great blog about how to use progestrone, but I am confused as I do get my periods on a normal 28-30 day cycle. I picked up some Emerita progestrone (hope that’s ok to use) but not sure when to start as I have only read tips on how to use for women who DONT have periods or are TTC or are getting off BCPs. I also was afraid that taking them on the last two weeks of period will stop me from getting my period. So as you see, I am very confused. Thanks for any insight!

  • Paola

    Hi Amy,

    Do you know of any other good natural or artificial DHT blockers?

  • Joanie

    Hello, I am 45 years old and I have PCOS. I stopped taking Metformin this past November and stopped the pill this past February. About 3 weeks ago I noticed several small bald spots on my scalp. I’m wondering if stopping either of the medications have caused this. It’s awful and I’m shedding more and more. I was also just told that my iron is low, 2 weeks ago. I started taking suppliments. Any advice you could give me would be GREATLY appreciated! I also have hypothyroidism.

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      Joanie you have a lot of things go on. The hypothyroidism can cause hairloss but what I think is going on as a result of coming off the BCP in February. You can experience hair loss (I did when I came off the pill) The good news is that it isn’t permanent it will grow back if you get yourself back in balance.

      • Joanie

        Hi Amy,

        How long did you hairloss continue on for? I’m so frustrated because I can’t get in to see a Dermatologist yet. I’m ready to go back on the pill if it means it’ll save my hair. But I don’t want to complicate things or make them worse.

        • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

          Joanie- it was like postpartum hairloss about 6 months but it did grow back.

  • Kruti

    I have been taking folic acid and evening primrose oil supplements everyday, I think my hair has improved alot after taking these! Do you recommend these for ladies with pcos?

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      I do take evening primrose oil during when I experience PMS. I think it is helpful for PCOS and healthy fats do help with hairloss.

  • Andrea

    I found topical spironolactone online, have you heard of this or tried it?

  • Kaye

    Hi Amy,
    I am trying to regulate my hormone to have regular periods. I haven’t had one in four months and have been taking Vitex, which only worked the firs tmonth I took it. I am thinking of trying the progesterone cream to see if that would “bring on” my period. Also, for the DHT issue I started Saw Palmetto but read that it increases breasts size and got nervous and stopped. I really need to find something that will block the DHT and I’m willing to get back on Saw Palmetto but wonder, have you heard any claims of increased breast size while taking Saw Palmetto? I’ve been experiencing breast soreness ever since I started taking it and wondering if that is the cause.

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      Kaye- I only wish it increased size. I have not experienced that and haven’t heard from any other PCOS women with that side effect.

    • Llemmingtron

      There is anecdotal evidence that Saw Palmetto increases breast size in some women, but it also adds that it is temporary (as in, your breasts will go back to their normal size after a few months). This is all based upon reports from other women I’ve received over the years–so I have no sources for you and no studies. My breasts personally feel much fuller, but I have not grown in size. I am also ridiculously large-breasted but not firm and so that could explain why I’ve got fullness but no increase in size.

      If your breasts do enlargen and don’t go down in size after a few months, it is totally reversible just by stopping taking the herb. Keep that in mind.

  • ChocB

    Hello All,

    Are people still on this blog? Cos I just came across this and saw most of the posts are from 2011.

    I am 23yrs old. I was first diagnosed with pcos when I was about 17. But the hair loss started 2yrs prior to that. Before I turned 15 I had thick black beautiful hair. Then all of a sudden one day it started falling off like crazy. I went to the dermatologist who asked if my periods were regular. They had always been regular since I first got it when I was 9. He then put me on a multivitamin called Hair Push. The first 5-6yrs on hair push I kept growing new hair and very strong nails even though it never stopped the shedding. Because I was growing new hair till I turned 21 my head still seemed fine. It does not seem to have any effect on my hair at present anymore. Hair push also grew a lot of hair on my lefs, face, etc but seriously those can be dealt with. But how to grow hair on my head?

    After it was established that I have pcos when I was 17 (2yrs after starting hair push for hair loss) I was not put on any medication by any doctor. Why? Because I was still a teenager and my parents were not ok with me taking bc pills. The daily shedding of hair took a severe toll on my self esteem and confidence and I suffered from depression. It was still alright. I could still deal with things because maybe my hair was thin but I was not balding and new hair was always growing.

    Tha past 2yrs have been different though. Nothing will grow me hair. At times I am so upset I have found myself seriously considering suicide. I know right? People would think I am crazy. Its just hair loss! Its not like I got cancer or something. Truth is, its terrible. I am so young. I dont want to look like this. If I were losing hair at 40 it would be one thing but I started losing when I was 15. Why me? I dont know. At present these are my medications:

    Saw Palmetto: 144mg x 2 daily
    Licorice Extract:2ml
    Sprionolactone: 50mg (This gives me severe side effects as I am only 41kg and doc is being cautious)

    Hair Push – 2 capsules
    Vit D – 1000 iu x 3
    Progesterone Cream
    Nizoral Shampoo

    My most recent blood tests show I have testosterone around higher end of normal. I hav unbelievably low vit D so she put me on supplements. My ultra sounds show the cysts are very tiny in size but they are present. I am still ovulating and having a monthly period regularly and have not gained weight. I always had a lot of body hair to begin with so theres nothing new with that. Doc does not think if I tried to conceive there would be problems. The ONLY effect pcos seem to have on me is it takes my hair away.And there is NOTHING I CAN DO ABOUT IT. I WANT TO KILLS MYSELF. I feel terrible. I dont know what to do. Has anybody stopped their hair fall permanently? I just want it to go. I just want my life to be normal. So many people take hair for granted why do I have to be so unlucky?

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      Please look into women’s hair loss project. Y – the administrator is very inspiring. She wears hair now and looks gorgeous. She has inspired me and I will be sharing my journey in this Month’s PCOS Diva Newsletter. There is hope!

  • Pcoshairloss

    I was diagnosed with pcos at 18. I started taking spironalactone 200 mg but I had 15 day periods. I started laser in my 30s….took 7-9 treatments but it worked. I started birth control at age 31 and I always had thick beautiful long hair.

    Now at 37, gradual hair loss over the years is now an obvious dilemma that has me researching at 4 am!

    I stopped taking Lo/ovaral in June 2012 due to weight gain and hair loss. That helped the weight gain but the hair loss got much worse.

    What do I do? I am getting a thyroid test and will see an endocrinologist this week.

    Should I get back on birth control (a different one) and try which remedies above??

    Check this out – some birth controls cause hair loss AKA lo/ovarol :(

    http://www.womenshairlossproject.com/hair-loss/american-hair-loss-association-birth-control-pill-index/

    http://www.centre-clauderer.com/en/contraception-hair/contraceptives-list.htm

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      I don’t advise birth control. You may want to check ANA for an autoimmune disorder, progesterone levels and cortisol levels. You also should see if you are gluten intolerant.

  • Pcoshairloss

    Get this – I used to wash my hair everyday until april/may 2012 – that’s when my hair started falling out! So there is truth to washing your hair everyday when you have PCOS. I had no issues with hair loss until may/June 2012 when i was 37. Actually I had thick gorgeous beautiful shiny hair my whole life.

    I used the following oils weekly until march 2012: Amla oil & coconut oil.

    Now I use those oils plus argan oil & vitamin e oil.

    Starting tomorrow, I’m washing my hair daily and using the oils weekly.

    Will keep you all posted on the results.

    Amy, please Let me know which things above I should try?!

    Thank you for starting this blog.

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      Let me know what you think of using the oils. I have also used apple cider vinegar rinses in the past and I think they are helpful

    • Pcoshairloss

      So I washed my hair yesterday and today using dove. I put argan oil in my scalp (5-6 drops) this morning and an aveda product on the ends……limited fall out today! Will keep you all posted. 15-20 hairs. FYI, I no longer style my hair and drip dry because I have damage from some chemical treatments.

      FYI the aveda invati product you put in your scalp caused 50 hairs to fall out in 15 minutes – I flipped out yesterday!

      • Pcoshairloss

        Daily shampooing and conditioning resulted in 5 hair losses during shampoo/condition & 5 during combing. No styling, no hair dryer, no straightening. Limited hair loss during day.

        Skipped Friday cause I was working from home and Saturday lost 15 hairs during shampoo/condition & another 7 during combing.

        Daily shampoo/condition resulted in no hair loss my entire life until may 2012 when I stopped. Definatly something to consider!

        Haven’t tried the coconut oil & Amla oil – waiting for my hair to strengthen. But using vitamin e oil and argan oil in scalp.

        • Pcoshairloss

          Hi Amy, What are your thoughts on Nioxin scalp treatment?

          • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

            I have tried Nioxin with no results. I do like Joico products.

  • Ashley

    Hi Amy,

    I also have PCOS. My hair is falling out in clumps due to postpartum hair loss. I’ve already developed bald spots by my temples and am severely lossing my front hairline. I have to use coverup and you notice more coverup than hair. I’m freaking out! Will it come back considering I have PCOS? What products would you suggest? Any diet changes I should follow? I rather use products that will not affect an unborn fetus. Thank you!!!

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      Ashley-
      Hair loss that fall out in clumps can be a sign of an autoimmune disorder. Typical PCOS hair loss is more of a diffuse hair loss. I would ask your doctor about this.

  • A

    Amy, Did your doctor tell you anything about Spiro being related to breast cancer. I have heard bits about this and I worry about using it, since BC already runs in my family.

  • Kim

    Hi Amy! I’m a nursing mom with PCOS and have thinning hair and am starting the postpartum shed. I think it’s time to *gulp* get a hairpiece. I know you used a salon in Boston. But could you recommend a salon around New Hampshire (Hollis area)? Thanks for sharing all your info! :)

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      Hi Kim- actually I do. Before Christmas I purchased a synthetic wig at http://amandathomasboutique.com in Merrimack NH. I also had them color and cut my human hair hairpiece to match my latest haircut and color. It came out awesome! I would recommend that you spend the money to get a human hair hairpiece and have Belinda cut it. She is amazing. Best of luck!

      • Kim

        Thank you so much for your help! I really appreciate it, it’s so hard to know where to start!

  • http://www.facebook.com/completebodyandhealth Neda Esmaili

    Hi,

    Thank you for this information. I am definitely going to get onto some of the suggestions as my hair is very seriously almost all gone. Im 25 and a singer and words cannot even begin to describe the emotional stress the hair loss is causing. Im sure you ladies understand.

    Has anyone tried “Activance” I have a friend who suggested it to me. And was wondering if anyone has tried it or got any results?

    Thank You

    Neda

  • Brandi MacLeod

    I started some of your tips here in January, and I have seen a huge difference. Thank you! I am using Regenepure DR shampoo with Ketakonazole (order off the internet) and I leave it on for a few minutes EVERY SINGLE DAY. My hair loss in the shower has virtually stopped. I lose about 10 hairs a week instead of the handful a day. That I feel was the biggest help of all. The cost is about $30 but you only use a tiny bit to cover your scalp so it goes a long way. 1 bottle will last about 4 months. I tried to find Nizoral, but had no success, even using their recommended website store. I did find the Regenepure, however, and it is working great.

    I also am using the Walmart Minoxidil in the 5% strength as you recommended. The 3 month pack is about $19. I am taking a saw palmetto supplement too.

    I am not able to use the hormone creams because I am on birth control. But I will consider if I ever stop using/needing birth control for birth control purposes.

    After about 3 1/2 months of using all of this, I see a real difference in my hair. I recommend trying some or all of the tips you suggest as I think all of them help and are great. Thanks for helping me regain hair, and some much needed self-esteem. I know I might not ever have a lot of hair, but I have enough again that people don’t see me as a bald woman. Yay! You truly are a blessing.

    Brandi

  • Lauren

    I am taking nutritional supplement Hair Gain Formula. It is manufactured by Military Grade Nutritionals and contains the necessary vitamins for healthy hair growth. After I’ve started taking it I forgot about seasonal hair loss, and I see much more short hair on my had.

  • jennifer

    I was curious what your regimine is for your hair now that you have stopped the spironolactone. are you still using joico, nizoral and saw palemetto?

  • Llemmingtron

    A word on things that you can take internally to help with hair loss…..

    What we’re generally dealing with here is 1) insulin resistance 2) excessive DHEA/testosterone converting to DHT 3) a normal amount of those hormones but excessive amount of DHT anyway 4) mineral/vitamin deficiency caused by problem 1 or gut issues 5) gut issues 6) amino acid deficiency or metabolic dysfunction leading to this

    1) Get insulin issues under control with diet and supplements (usually inositol, NAC, cinnamon, and chromium picolinate). This alone sometimes stops hair loss.

    2 and 3) DHT/DHEA/testosterone issues:

    SAW PALMETTO: This is fabulous for some people, not so great for others. You will only know by taking it as there is no blood test that will tell you if you will respond well to it. Your dosage may need to be very, very high (as high as 1,500mg/day of the stuff!). Most will see results with the standard 320mg/day. Break up your dose into 12 hour increments.

    NETTLE and SHEN MIN: These also block DHT internally. Dosages may vary.

    Some people need to apply all three topically as well in order to stop hair loss!

    DHEA can also be controlled by supporting the adrenals–see a naturopath about this as any advice I would give would be sub-par on this subject.

    4) Minerals and vitamins!!!!! Manganese, selenium, and vitamin C are a must for everyone but iodine and vitamin B should be customized per person. Test your MTHFR status before taking any excessive amounts of vitamin B (it can be done for $100 through http://www.23andme.com and have your results interpreted for free from http://www.geneticgenie.org). Have a naturopath advise you on proper vitamin B supplementation at that point. Two vitamin B’s that are generally safe for everyone are P5P and biotin. Dosages vary, but 10mg of biotin is the most commonly used among PCOSers for hair loss. P5P is very potent, so start at 25mg/day and move up to but do not exceed 100mg/day. Avoid folic acid if you have a COMT mutation–use methyl-folate instead!

    5) Gut issues (which cause amino acid and mineral and vitamin issues): this can be fixed through proper diet, but if not you may need to go onto the GAPS diet for a while. Get enough carbs on this diet or your hair fall will be worse! Take a good probiotic every single day and take ACV and coconut oil internally to keep yeast at bay.

    6) Amino acid deficiency is difficult to treat without proper testing, so see a naturopath. It can be difficult to tell what you are lacking, and overdoses will make hair worse. Generally people with PCOS like to take NAC and l-cysteine for hair. This is usually ok, but if you feel worse on it just go to a naturopath and find out for sure!

    Remember that if you have unresolved insulin resistance issues you should avoid omegas from PLANT SOURCES. Only use fish oils like cod liver oil. Coconut oil is ok. Avoid borage, evening primrose, and flax until your insulin is under control.

    • Llemmingtron

      I did forget to mention that adrenal fatigue and hypothyroidism are common among PCOSers and this also causes a lot of hair loss, even the male-type, in these women. This should be treated with good diet and a physician. Naturopaths are my favorite, as they can help get your glands working on their own rather than with medications. Symplex F by Standard Process is safe to take for anyone having these troubles as it’s an adaptogen (meaning is raises what’s low and lowers what’s high). They also supply dessicated adrenal. For thyroid, if you’re sure you’re low (through using a temperature test–just google that), then go ahead and put in iodine and eat a high-carb (no sugar/gluten, get all your carbs from non-gluten grains and vegetables) diet for 1 month. Do not exercise for that month. If you notice your temperature rising and your hair fall is less, then you’ve got hypothyroidism. If there is no improvement, adrenal fatigue may be the culprit. In either case, go to a naturopath for proper treatment.

      • http://pcosdiva.com Amy

        I love Standard Process. I realized that I had low cortisol in the morning and have been using their ginseng and licorice extract in the morning. It is really helping. Thanks for your info.

        • Llemmingtron

          I do love licorice for adrenal fatigue! I ended up doing a 24-hour cortisol and found I was only low during certain times because I was critically high during others, and so we’re trying an approach where I calm the adrenals during peak hours to try and coax the adrenals into releasing at the right time. I’ll know if it’s working in another month or two when I do another 24-hour cortisol.

  • Renee Presley

    Excellent information.
    Thank you.

  • Darlene C

    Hi Amy :) I know you’re probably tried of people asking about the possibility of regrowth etc. but I was wondering the likelihood getting my hair back. I never had issues with hair loss, but a few months ago I was started on Lo Loestrin Fe and started noticing more shedding than usual. Fast forward 3 months and one day while I was in the mirror, I noticed the crown area on my head had thinned out drastically! My friend and I did some research online and she urged me to stop the birth control. I’ve seen both a dermatologist and an endocrinologist and they both said I just have to wait to see what happens once the birth control is finally out of my system. The problem is, I seem to be losing much more hair than before :( Here’s the list of things I’ve been trying to no avail:

    - 6 mg of Biotin a day
    - Iron supplements
    - Magnesium supplements
    - Vitamin D 5,000 mg
    - Fish Oil supplements
    - 320 mg of saw palmetto
    - jojoba and rosemary oil treatment once a week
    - tricomin shampoo, conditioner, and spray every other day

    I was going to add Glucorein to my regimen but didn’t know if that would be too much? I should also mention that I went in for blood work shortly before I started the birth control and everything looked fine (no auto immune issues, hormone imbalances, thyroid issues, etc.). The only thing they were concerned about were my two-hour insulin results (which I know is absolutely related to my PCOS) to which they recommended more exercise. I’m obviously freaking out, I’m 26 and never had this issue before and would like to know there is hope to get my hair back. Your website has been a huge help and thank you for being so inspiring to those who are struggling with condition.

  • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

    Shea-
    How is your diet? You might Ask your doc about natural progesterone cream. If you want more 1-on-1 support email me amy@pcosdiva.com – Thanks!