PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and Hair Loss

PCOS is a deficiency of progesterone, a relative excess of estrogen, with extra testosterone thrown in that occurs in 5-10% of women at any age after puberty, but mainly between the ages 15 to 45. Progesterone is a necessary precursor to make cortisol, the chronic stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands.  So, when you are under acute stress or chronic stress, you use up your progesterone to make cortisol, and then that cortisol, as I have said many times, increases belly fat, where excess glucose is stored as fat. There are a lot of layers involved in PCOS and we have no idea what comes first. I’ve mentioned progesterone deficiency because it is used up to make cortisol that increases belly fat. The glucose shift to belly fat is why allopathic medicine automatically gives PCOS patients the diabetic drug called, “Metformin!” Automatically – not because they have diabetes or even pre-diabetes, but because they have PCOS and doctors want to control insulin. Being on a drug causes a layer of drug side effects even though the Metformin may lower insulin levels.

The next layer in PCOS is infertility, which is caused because progesterone is needed to stabilize early pregnancy. If a woman does get pregnant, there is a high incidence of miscarriage. Now, let’s look at the hair loss that also occurs in PCOS, that doctors say can be caused by elevated testosterone.

It comes as a surprise to most people, including doctors, that increased levels of insulin stimulate testosterone production. Elevated insulin occurs when you are on a high carb or sugar diet and eating junk food that is often loaded with sugar. When you eat sugar and carbs, insulin is released from the pancreas to drop your sugar down into a normal range. Any excess insulin that is not busy ushering sugar into the cells and is just hanging around – will increase the production of testosterone. The newly formed testosterone will build up in the ovaries and adrenals and cause abnormal hair growth on the face and hair loss from the scalp. It will also cause acne and backne (acne on the back).

There’s more to the insulin story. As I noted, insulin is capable of stimulating testosterone production, but at the same time, these high levels of insulin (which will shoot up every time you have sugar) inhibit a very important protein, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). This binding globulin is designed to bind up free testosterone to keep it from riding around freely in the body and triggering unwanted symptoms.

Finally, we come to DHT that this woman’s doctor blamed for her hair loss. DHT stands for Dihydrotestosterone which is metabolized from testosterone. Remember that I said above, you have this extra testosterone produced by excess insulin, and now we find out that it metabolizes into DHT, and DHT is the hormonal factor in hair loss.

Specifically, DHT binds to receptors in hair follicles located in the scalp. It then shrinks the hair follicle roots, and they suffocate and die. If you have enough SHBG, it should bind up excess testosterone, and it would not convert into DHT. Also,  circulating DHT will be safely bound to SHBG. But, if you keep eating sugars and simple carbs, you are inhibiting your SHBG by producing excess insulin.

As the name implies, PCOS creates excessive ovarian cysts where follicles that are made every month to prepare for pregnancy do not recede but become cysts under the influence of unbalanced hormones. Progesterone deficiency causes the follicles to build up, and those follicles help make more testosterone in an incredible vicious cycle. Who knows where it starts? But you can bring an end to it by avoiding sugars and simple carbohydrates in order to keep your insulin as low as possible.

PCOS is a great example of the intricacy of your body where everything affects everything else. It’s quite absurd when doctors say, “This drug will do this one thing, and then everything will be fine.” Nothing works like that in the body. To me, PCOS is another example of total body meltdown. Let me say it one more time == eating sugar and carbs elevates insulin which stimulates testosterone production in the ovaries causing hair growth and loss in the wrong places, acne and backne. Insulin is inhibiting sex hormone binding globulin.