PCOS and hair loss go together like oil and vinegar—they mix, but don’t mix well! (At least most of my clients with PCOS hair loss say they could do without it!).
Unfortunately, the current healthcare approach to PCOS hair loss doesn’t offer many solutions for getting your hair.
Thankfully, we do! And before we get to those, it’s important to understand 3 common reasons WHY PCOS hair loss happens, so you understand the purpose of my 5 PCOS hair loss essentials to get your hair back naturally.
Why PCOS Hair Loss Happens: 3 Reasons
DYSGLYCEMIA (BLOOD SUGAR IMBALANCES)
Blood sugar dysregulation is a key marker of PCOS, characterized by insulin surges (blood sugar surges), bouts of fatigue, inflammation, unwanted weight gain and even bloating. “Blood sugar” is the code phrase for “energy in your cells and/or bloodstream.”
Ideally we want a “Goldilocks” amount of energy (just right) inside our cells so hormones stay balanced and inflammation stays away….but not tooooo much of it and not too little of it.
So what does blood sugar have to do with PCOS hair loss?
Well, if your body has blood sugar and insulin balance issues, then your body can feel like you’re riding on a roller coaster all day long. Sometimes you’re high, sometimes you’re low. As a result of these ups and downs, cortisol (stress hormone) goes haywire!
And when cortisol goes haywire and your body feels like it’s running from a bear inside, then it starts shedding “layers” (ie. Hair), just like you may shed your sweatshirt or t-shirt during a tough workout in favor of allowing inflammation to “cool down”. Hair loss is just a sign of high amounts of inflammation in the body, as the hair follicles are not getting a ton of nutrients or circulation while your body is in “fight or flight” dealing with more important things (ie. Inflammation inside).
Hence, to help PCOS hair loss stop, we have to calm down inflammation inside and one huge way to do that is by balancing blood sugar (since imbalances drive inflammation).
Common signs of blood sugar imbalance include:
- Low energy
- Nausea or loss of appetite (especially in the morning)
- Overeating or binge tendencies
- Thinking about food often
- Feel hangry easily—especially if meals are delayed more than 3 hours
- Feel shaky or lightheaded when you start getting hungry
- Anxiety or feeling pent up inside
DISRUPTED GUT BACTERIA
PCOS and gut issues also go hand-in-hand.
Your gut is your largest endocrine (hormone) organ and is responsible for regulating most hormones to some degree, like estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, thyroid hormones, insulin, leptin (the fullness hormones that also can trigger weight gain in PCOS).
A healthy gut equals a healthy you; and vice versa.
Underlying “root causes” to PCOS may include gut pathologies like SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), SIFO/candida and dysbiosis. As a result, androgens and estrogens may become disrupted.
So what does “disrupted gut bacteria” have to do with it. This stems back to the blood sugar issues noted above. Since your gut bacteria are responsible for digesting and harvesting nutrients, if they are unable to break down nutrients like amino acids, B vitamins (like biotin), essential fatty acids and other necessities for healthy hair, you can imagine what happens to your hair (or lack thereof).
Due to the gut’s role in hormone balance as well, if you have gut imbalances, then active T3 thyroid hormone may suffer because your gut bacteria can’t help activate it. Thyroid symptoms are often linked to hair loss as a key marker, and now you know the reason why.
IMMUNE UPREGULATION & OXIDATIVE STRESS
PCOS is not technically a condition where “cysts” are present. Current research is pointing that PCOS may actually be an autoimmune condition, characterized by low levels of progesterone and higher levels of estrogen that promote inflammatory cytokines (immune cells) and oxidative stress. In turn, a myriad of inflammatory symptoms arise like: PCOS hair loss, anxiety, bloating, leaky gut and dysbiosis, insulin surges, low energy and unwanted weight gain. (Sound like a broken record)?
Considering that 70 to 80% of your immune system is in your gut, this link to PCOS and your hormones by and large makes sense. Additionally, ALL hormones have immune receptors on them. Soooo…if your immune system has been primed to be stressed already, then this stress provokes your hormone balance—easily driving testosterone and estrogens up.
What does the immune system have to do with PCOS Hair loss? Well, back to our inflammation variable! If inflammation is present, like a raging wild fire, it’s going to continue to cause ‘destruction’ (PCOS hair loss) in its vicinity.
Phew, ok, now that you understand a few “core drivers” behind this condition…what to do about it? Look no further than these 5 PCOS Hair Loss: Essentials to Get Your Hair Back Naturally!
PCOS Hair Loss: 5 Essentials to Get Your Hair Back Naturally!
#1. Balance Your Blood Sugar
Beyond Metformin (a common pharmaceutical drug), there are tons of natural lifestyle and dietary hacks you can implement to balance your blood sugar.
Here are 10 simple things to get started:
- Stick to 1-2 fruits or less per day
- Avoid artificial sweeteners (natural sweeteners like 100% Splenda, monk fruit and raw honey ok in moderation).
- Kick coffee—or stick to 1 cup quality organic coffee after your morning meal (that includes protein).
- Start your day off with 25-40 grams of protein in your first meal within at least 2-3 hours of waking.
- Sleep 6-8 hours per night
- Eat complete protein with each meal (animal proteins have the most bioavailable amino acids for blood sugar regulation and gut tissue repair)
- Drink half your bodyweight in ounces of pure, filtered water daily + add a pinch of sea salt or Fulvic and humic minerals
- Exercise or walk daily for 30-60 minutes; avoid overtraining
- Keep good oral hygiene (Poor oral hygiene and leaky gums like no flossing or tongue scraping trigger blood sugar issues).
- Practice deep breathing regularly (shortness of breath or rapid breathing drive up inflammation and blood sugar). Yoga does a body good.
Bonus: Berberine is an awesome natural agent for blood sugar regulation, found in formulas like this.
#2. Boost Digestion
Lack of nutrient absorption can inhibit your body’s ability to grow hair and contribute to PCOS Hair loss. Boost digestion by supporting stomach acid with HCL, and boosting digestive enzymes and gallbladder function to break down nutrients better—especially if you experience bloating or constipation regularly.
#3. Reset Your Gut Microbiome
Do you have SIBO? Candida? Leaky gut? Gallbladder congestion? Dysbiosis? Or other underlying pathologies perpetuating PCOS hair loss? Let’s find out! Work with a functional medicine provider who can help you identify any gut pathologies or other body imbalances or deficiencies that may be driving your PCOS hair loss. Since the gut is the gateway to hormone health, often times when we calm inflammation down in the gut and establish a healthier microbiome using natural herbs, customized probiotics, short chain fatty acids and prebiotic and probiotic rich foods.
#4. Clear Out “Oxidative Stressors”
Common “oxidative stressors” that contribute to both PCOS and PCOS Hair loss include:
- Xenoestrogens (birth control pills, plastic water bottles, mycotoxin and mold exposure)
- Toxins in conventional hygiene, makeup and cleaning products
- Pesticides and herbicides in non organic foods
- Tap water
- High EMF exposures
- High amounts of perceived, unmanaged stress
Strategies for clearing out oxidative stress include detoxing daily, such as: Drinking celery juice, sauna sweat sessions, dry brushing your skin to get lymph flowing and avoiding toxins as much as possible.
#5. Rewire the Gut Brain Axis to Calm Inflammation
This one goes deep! Basically if your brain is on “high alert” from stress (mental and physical), inflammation is on high alert throughout the body. A couple of my favorite tactics to start rewiring the gut brain axis include:
- Breathwork (conscious breathing)
- Sauna sweet
- Gut Brain Sessions (something I teach my patients to help them heal the issues in their tissues)
The list could go on and on…and I can teach you more!
Let’s Get Your Hair Back Naturally Together
There’s strength in numbers! Looking for support to stop your PCOS hair loss and get your hair back naturally? Book a complimentary health strategy call today so we can help you create a game plan and get back to feeling amazing (no PCOS hair loss included).