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One of the most troubling complications of PCOS is loss of hair. The hair on the top of the head may thin, or there may be hair loss in a horseshoe pattern, or there can be total loss of hair from the top of the head.

One of the most troubling complications of PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) is loss of hair. The hair on the top of the head may thin, or there may be hair loss in a horseshoe pattern, or there can be a total loss of hair from the top of the head. PCOS hair loss mimics male pattern baldness, and for good reason. Both conditions are caused by testosterone.

Women suffering PCOS hair loss are sometimes able to regain their hair, but there is no one treatment that works for every woman. Here are three possibilities, one of which might be the one that works for you:

1. Strict avoidance of dietary sugars.

Rosa had been taking metformin and type 2 diabetes for five years, but she began to loosen up her PCOS diet. Her blood sugars were OK, but she started losing her hair. Realizing that not all high blood sugars occur at usual testing times, she resumed her strict low-sugar diet. In about six weeks, she noticed her hair was getting thicker again. There is an indirect path between eating too much sugar and losing hair, but it's one that medical science has well documented. When women eat so much sugar that insulin cannot take it out of the bloodstream, most of the tissues of the body-except the ovaries-protect themselves from absorbing too much sugar by becoming insulin resistant. The ovaries, however, absorb more and more sugar and make more of their hormones, including the testosterone. The testosterone, in turn, causes hair loss. Sometimes in the earliest stages of PCOS-related hair loss careful diet is enough to stop hair loss and even grow hair back.

Sugar is everywhere. It's in your (low-fat) cereal or yogurt, it's in your pizza or in your bread. It's in your ketchup. No, ketchup is not a vegetable. Sugar — in all its forms — is a neurotoxin and food industry is one of the dirtiest industries that sell you their products and you feed yourself and your children. Avoid anything that is processed. Anything that comes in a box and is ready to serve. Except for real vegetables and fruits.[1

  • Start cooking real food.
  • Start eating more vegetables.  

2. Flutamide (Eulexin)

Samantha had always had a thick head of hair. At 24, however, when she was first diagnosed with PCOS, she started noticing more and more hair in her combs. By age 26 Samantha's hair was visibly thinning. It took a year to find the right medication, but flutamide (Eulexin) not only stopped Samantha's hair loss, fine vellous hairs and then darker, longer hairs started growing back. Flutamide is a common anti-androgen, a drug that stops the effects of testosterone throughout the body, including the scalp. Studies proved that Flutamide is a satisfactory therapeutic regimen for treatment of female patter hair loss in the long run. [2]

The downside to treatment with flutamide is that it can cause vaginal dryness and dry skin, and it's absolutely essential to avoid pregnancy while on the drug. It can prevent the action of testosterone during the development of an unborn child.

Additionally, the most common oral anti-androgens used for hair loss due to PCOS are combination oral contraceptives such as Spironolactone or Dianette, but as already said oral and topical solutions used together are most effective.

3. Acupuncture

Gudrun was horrified to find her hair falling out in hands full. She didn't know what to do, but a friend recommended a Chinese-trained acupuncturist. She was skeptical, but she tried the treatment. Her hair came back, one strong lock at a time. Complete restoration of her lost hair took about two years.

Sometimes, for reasons that Western medical science can't understand, acupuncture treatments restore lost hair. Natural health expert Robert Rister, who has interviewed many women who have had the procedure, reports that unlike drugs that seem to bring tiny hairs back first and longer hair back later, acupuncture seems to restore entire locks of hair that come back very fast once the treatment works. 

Studies prove that acupuncture might help to reduce hair loss by reducing T1 attacks on the hair bulb. Additionally, acupuncture might stimulate the hair follicles, warm the local collaterals and activate blood circulation.[3] A recent study shows that electroacupuncture reduces degranulation of the mast cells in the dermis that is reported to be a possible cause of pathological changes causing alopecia areata.[4]

4. Practice hair care procedures that protect and nurture your hair 

  • Rinse your hair fully and be most of all avoid insufficient rinsing. 
  • Use conditioner or a hair mask to removes tangles, particularly at the ends of the hair.
  • Minimize any tangling with a wide-toothed comb.
  • Do not use a brush with sharp bristles. Use only smooth combs.
  • Blow-dry your hair at a minimum distance of 7 inches and if possible reduce the heat. 
  • Avoid blow drying hair from damp to dry to minimize hair damage, brittleness and split ends.
  • If you are using rollers, pins and clips use them loose, so they do not pull your hair. Do not use them while sleeping. 
  • Elastic bands and barrettes have been noted to cause traction alopecia.
  • Do not pull the hair too tightly from the forehead because it leads to severe hair breakage.