Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

February 5, 2009

Help a Fellow Big Girl

Filed under: Uncategorized,You Asked For It — Francesca @ 9:08 am

Francesca received this letter from a reader, and is turning to you, our dear readers, to help her:

Dear Francesca,


I hope you can help me with a problem I’m feeling quite emotional about.


I have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) which, among other things, has made it very difficult for me to lose weight. I’m sure many of your readers have PCOS as well.


One of the symptoms of PCOS is thin hair. Until recently, although my hair was thin, it was not so thin that it bothered me.


But yesterday I used two mirrors to get a good look at the side and back of my head, and was shocked to see bare spots. I had no idea that my hair was thinning so rapidly. I’m only in my mid-thirties.


I plan to speak with my doctor about it, but meanwhile, can you ask your readers who have PCOS to share any advice they have about this issue? I’m already taking metformin. Is there anything else I can do, specifically for my hair?


Feeling sad in New York,

A Devoted Reader




 Those of you with PCOS – what say you?


  1. Prenatal Vitamins. Even if you’re not (and not trying to become) pregnant, they give you thick glossy hair and strong fingernails.

    Comment by Scarlettb — February 5, 2009 @ 9:37 am

  2. Spironolactone is what my doctor prescribed for, umm, androgen related issues. Thinning hair and chin stubble. It’s actually a potassium sparing diuretic, but it also tends to do good things for women having issues relating to male hormones. Not sure if it’s right for what you are having trouble with, but it wouldn’t hurt to ask.

    Comment by Cindy — February 5, 2009 @ 9:46 am

  3. NIOXIN! I started using it in the summer and the first thing I noticed was that my hair loss slowed down. I wasn’t sure if I was getting new growth or not, but I actually went to a new stylist this weekend and asked if she saw any. It’s there, but from the looks of it, new hair didn’t start growing until after a few months of use — my hair grows incredibly quickly and it wasn’t too long.

    Good advice I got regarding the Nioxin: if the shampoo bottle says to rub your scalp for sixty seconds, do it. It makes a difference. I use the shampoo, the conditioner, and the scalp serum. Also, I have a haircut with side bangs that at least keeps me from looking right at the scalp in the front, which helps psychologically.

    I am not willing to go the Rogaine route but that’s another option.

    Good luck!

    Also, while we’re talking about PCOS symptoms, has anyone used Vaniqa for facial hair? My endo told me that laser hair removal doesn’t work well for PCOS women since other hair follicles will just get activated.

    Comment by Robotitron — February 5, 2009 @ 9:50 am

  4. Oh and also, prenatal vitamins do not help with hair loss. They make your hair grow, for sure, but if you’re losing hair due to oil in your scalp, at least in my experience, it makes no difference.

    Comment by Robotitron — February 5, 2009 @ 9:51 am

  5. Huh. I had a long comment about Nioxin — is it caught in the spam queue?

    Comment by Robotitron — February 5, 2009 @ 10:01 am

  6. Robotitron-

    Francesca is sad to say that she does not see your comment in the spam queue.

    Comment by Francesca — February 5, 2009 @ 2:57 pm

  7. I don’t know how to cure the thin hair problem but I do know how to hide it.

    Use powder. You need a shade that is similar to your hair color or a little lighter. A face powder would probably work best or brow shadow. Use a make-up brush to shade your scalp where it shows through your hair.

    I used this after a disastrous self-afflicted haircut. My husband didn’t even notice!

    Good luck.

    Comment by Michele — February 5, 2009 @ 3:48 pm

  8. I, too, have thinning hair and hair where it’s not supposed to be on a woman. Spironolactone worked miracles for the unwanted hair on my body – it totally disappeared to the point that I don’t even need to shave my legs anymore. I didn’t have as much luck with the thinning hair on the top of my head. I tend to wear my in such a way that the thin spots at the crown are covered.

    Nioxin poster, I’d be interested in what you have to say, if you get a chance to post it again.

    Comment by Lisa — February 5, 2009 @ 6:03 pm

  9. I would steer clear of the Nioxin if I were you. Once you begin using it you have to continue for the rest of your life. Dietary intake can affect both your thinning hair and your PCOS. It has been shown that a carb restricted diet will help PCOS. Also a diet higher in fatty acids like cold water fish, nuts, avocados and olive oil will help with the thinning hair. Add Biotin( one of the many B vitamins) into you daily vitamin routine also.

    Comment by BamaGal — February 5, 2009 @ 6:59 pm

  10. Well, I have nothing to say about the ways to get more hair. But, I can reccomend some fabulous hats! I think many big girls look great in hats, and I myself love a cloche or a newsboy.

    Comment by CJ — February 5, 2009 @ 7:16 pm

  11. There are alternative treatments such as homeopathic medicine, practiced by a fully trained and qualified, which will help restabilize the hormonal imbalances at the root of both the hair loss and the PCOS. It can easily be combined with changes in the diet so that it includes sufficient fats (and the best kinds of fats) and nutrients your body can actually absorb–the lack of these foods cause big problems in most peoples’ diets, but they end up being crucial foods for women with PCOS. Have a look at The North American Society of Homeopaths’ website for the real information on homeopathy, plus a referral list to help you find someone practicing close to you, if you choose this kind of therapy ( For some excellent information on foods to avoid and add if you suffer from PCOS, look at the Weston A Price foundation’s site (

    I know these are more of a long term problem solving approach, but I do have a quicker suggestion: do you have, or know of, a great hairdresser? Tell him or her about your situation, and call on their expertise. A good stylist deals with this problem with many of his/her female clients (lots of women lose hair with all kinds of hormonal imbalance illnesses–PCOS is just one of a multitude). They can cut hair so that it falls into a style that makes thinning far less noticeable. It will give you much more confidence and minimize the “care” you have to take around the issue.

    Comment by thesearentchachaheels — February 6, 2009 @ 8:37 am

  12. I was going to say Spironolactone but since I’m just repeating, let me add this: If you have PCOS do not just see a general doctor, but go see an endocrinologist as well. Endocrine disorders like PCOS affect you in ways that a general doctor might overlook. I recommend a book called A Patient’s Guide to PCOS by Walter Futterweit. You should always know what you’re dealing with when it comes to your body.

    Comment by sugarsick — February 7, 2009 @ 1:22 am

  13. My mother had some luck with just rogaine when her eyebrows were falling out, but my grandmother had much better luck with zinc supplements which didn’t necessarily make her hair grow back but definitely seemed to make it grow in fuller (and keep her fingernails from breaking) over time. However, since PCOS interferes with the absorption of some vitamins and minerals, I don’t know if this would help.

    I’m a big fan of the suggestion of hats or even, when worn correctly, scarves. Lots of women at my synagogue also seem to wear wigs with much success, with the key seeming to be to invest in one or two very well-made pieces, updating regularly (every couple of years) for style and quality. If you wear your hair longer, wearing it up may also help cover up the barer spots and help to bolster confidence when you are feeling self-conscious about it.

    As you can see above, hair thinness runs in my family, so I definitely feel your pain. Good luck!!!

    Comment by Leah — February 9, 2009 @ 12:15 am

  14. In addition to seeing an endocrinologist I cannot stress the importance of seeing your gynecologist enough. I have gotten more help from gynecologists over the years than I ever have from endos. Granted, I was diagnosed at 18 so preserving my ability to produce children someday was more important to me than say staving off diabetes and insulin resistance. Birth control helps because it’s a big dose of progesterone and estrogen everyday, and it turns out that by taking care of my lady bits I’m also taking care of my pancreas. You might want to check out what meowser has said about her PCOS related problems, because she is also having issues with losing hair… where as I have problems with hair growing in the wrong places.

    Also ask for your numbers and how they compare to the “normal” numbers. For example, your androgen might be high but your testosterone might be high-normal ask what that means. You are your best advocate, because you might just be at that high end of the normal numbers and having these reactions but these numbers might not be ideal for you. Good luck!

    Comment by Sara A — February 10, 2009 @ 1:56 pm

  15. Thanks for a great idea about accessories. Really help me alot.

    Comment by shamsul — March 5, 2009 @ 2:29 am

  16. I want to listen good music. Help me please.

    Comment by Gundeflan — June 10, 2009 @ 6:27 pm

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