“I’m almost afraid to brush my hair now because so much of it is falling out!”
“My hair used to be so thick, but it’s gotten so thin you can practically see my scalp.”
“If my hair keeps falling out at this rate, soon I’ll need to invest in a wig.”
Can you relate to these statements?
I sure can! My own head hair is thinning at a rapid rate, and sadly it seems that no hair cut is able to hide the places where my scalp is starting to peek through.
Baldness is not suppose to be a woman’s problem. We expect it our husbands and fathers might go bald as they age. Not us. Yet, women with PCOS often do experience male-pattern baldness. It’s yet another unfortunate symptoms that comes with this hormonal syndrome.
As women, so often our hair feels like it is essential to who we are as individuals. We spend lots of time each morning styling our hair, whether its washing and drying to throwing it up in a messy bun. We only trust certain stylists to cut and color our hair. Flat irons and hair dryers can be expensive products to purchase. And yet we do it because we care about how our hair looks.
Even the Bible has something to say about a woman’s long hair being a glory to her. (See 1 Corinthians 11:15)
Is it any wonder that losing your hair can be extremely emotional?
For me, having extremely thin hair on my head has only added to my struggle with a bad body image. After all, don’t all beautiful women have thick, luxurious hair? Do you know any bald models, movie stars, or beauty queens? (Well, except for Sinead O’Connor … )
No doubt about it, being a balding woman is hard.
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Did you ever wonder why so many women with PCOS having thin, brittle hair that falls out?
It all has to do with our hormones, specifically an imbalance of androgens or male hormones. While women are supposed to have small amounts of androgens in our bodies, women with PCOS have far too much. The heightened levels of androgens, like testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT), are the root cause of thinning and balding head hair in women with PCOS, just as it is for men. DHT in particular will cling to hair follicles, clogging the follicle and causing the hair to eventually fall out. It also prevents new hair from growing. This is known as adrogenic alopecia, or basically male-pattern baldness.
Is there anything a woman with PCOS can do to stop male-pattern baldness and regrow hair that’s been lost?
While there are medications and treatments, perhaps the best way is to prevent your hair from falling out in the first place. That is best done by treating the root cause of PCOS, or the hormonal imbalance.
It’s important for women with PCOS to eat a healthy diet that’s free from inflammatory foods (gluten, dairy, sugar, etc). Additionally, getting plenty of sleep, reducing stress, and exercising can help a woman bring her hormones back into balance.
There are supplements that can also help women with PCOS who are experiencing male-pattern baldness and hair loss. Using saw palmetto, biotin, NAC (N-acetyl cysteine), and drinking spearmint tea are all natural ways you can increase the chances that you will have a healthy head of hair.
Additionally, be mindful of the types of products you use on your hair. It’s best for women who are experiencing hair loss to forego coloring, bleaching, and perming their hair. Using products that contain sulfate and alcohol, as well as washing your hair too often, can strip your hair of its essential oils that keep it healthy.
Finally, watch your exposure to environmental toxins. Everything from air pollutants to BPAs found in plastic dishes can upset our fragile hormonal balance.
For further reading, here’s some links to articles on PCOS and male-pattern baldness:
In the end, remember to do what you can and leave the rest to God. I’m grateful for His promise to number the very hairs on my head (Luke 12:7), and that God says my real beauty isn’t my hair (1 Peter 3:3-4).
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PCOS is a metabolic disorder that strikes a the very core of a woman’s femininity. There is no prevention. There is no cure. There is only managing and controlling the symptoms … and even then, protocols don’t work the same from woman to woman, making PCOS a baffling lifelong disorder for those who suffer from it and for their doctors.
As a result, women with PCOS often feel alone.
But nothing could be further from the truth. PCOS afflicts a mind-boggling 1 out of every 10 women worldwide, with some studies showing statistics as high as 1 in every 3 women.
More importantly, God has promised He will never leave us or forsake us.
I invite you to join me in discovering how to find hope, healing and happiness as we embrace God and His plan for our lives, including learning to live life to the fullest with PCOS.