4

votes

Why is my scalp burning?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 18, 2012 at 1:22 AM

Female, 40 years old. PCOS, 5'8, 208 pounds. Big muscles, big stomach. I'm on metformin and BCP for PCOS. I take ambien for sleep. I've had two sleep studies done--1 diagnosed me with insomnia (duh), the other said RLS. I sleep great with the ambien, but I don't sleep much at all without it. I've been on all of these medications for years. Nothing new.

Low carbed, mostly Paleo from February 2011 to November 2011 (lost 40 pounds and then fell off the wagon, gaining 20 back). (I've low carbed off and on for the past 10 years--just recommitted) Around September, my hair started falling out and my scalp started burning. When I fell off the wagon and started eating a bunch of carby stuff, my hair stopped falling out and actually started growing back in. and the burning stopped. Well, two weeks in to lower carb again and my scalp is on fire. No shedding yet, but I'm sure it's just around the corner.

I've researched enough to know that some say low carb can cause thyroid problems. I've also researched enough to know that some people think that's hogwash. Of course my doc only runs the standard tests that come back fine and she thinks I'm producing too many androgens and there's nothing we can do about that. Is this a thyroid problem/a hormonal problem/something else? It's driving me batty.

B9b76c30366c142e323049db109ca4ac

(466)

on January 20, 2012
at 04:12 AM

I've only lost hair two times in my life. Once after half a year on low carb (lost 40 pounds), and now that I started low carb again. My scalp burns on the crown and down the part area. Male pattern, I guess. I have hirsuitism too. I've had it for years though. That's why I assume the VLC has to be causing the burning scalp/hair loss.

9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d

(273)

on January 19, 2012
at 07:31 AM

It could take a while. Due to the growth cycle of hair you're looking at months before you're likely to see major changes. I know in my case it was about 8 months of VLC before I realized I had a major issue, and then about 4 months or maybe a bit more before I got things back to where they were after upping carbs (starting with starches, later other sugars). Your experience may differ.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 19, 2012
at 03:33 AM

If you weren't trying hard to keep your omega 3:6 ratio equal or close to it when you were low carbing that could've suppressed thyroid function, so it would be worth looking into that further. Hypothyroidism also causes insomnia, and is often seen alongside PCOS.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32566)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:14 PM

I would suggest dropping the fish oil caps to one-two per day. The amount you are taking seems excessive. Everything else looks good, but the Zinc is a bit low. I'd add more to get up to 30 mg/day and do a Zinc Taste test in 3 months.

B9b76c30366c142e323049db109ca4ac

(466)

on January 18, 2012
at 08:43 PM

I just recently started taking fish oil as it used to upset my stomach something fierce. I finally found a brand that doesn't bother me. My face has never been clearer. I pop two after every meal. Each pill is 1000mg but only 300epa/dha. I despise any type of seafood, or else I would certainly eat it. My beef is grass-fed. I've been taking 4000 IU Vit D because I was low on my last test. I don't eat organic dairy. I don't eat very much though. Mag - about 200 mg. And zinc 15mg from my multivitamin. Today I upped my carbs a bit. We'll see how this goes.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32566)

on January 18, 2012
at 06:33 PM

How much are you taking of each supplement? Fish oil can be a prob for some women. Eating fish is better. Are you eating conventional or grass-fed meat? Organic dairy? The hair situation is not surprising to me. So keep the carbs up enough to help your hair and drop a bit of the fat for weight loss. Check out www.dannyroddy.com

B9b76c30366c142e323049db109ca4ac

(466)

on January 18, 2012
at 06:16 PM

I wonder how much time I should give carbs to fix the problem. Meaning, I don't want to add too many. I'm thinking about adding a bit here and there, but I don't know how long it will take to stop shedding and start regrowth. This would be much easier to handle if I didn't have a bunch of weight to lose still.

B9b76c30366c142e323049db109ca4ac

(466)

on January 18, 2012
at 05:05 PM

I take Vit D and a little bit of zinc and magnesium. I also take omega 3 fish oil. I'd love to get off all meds. Periods are too heavy when I go off of the pill and I can already grow a beard it seems; only makes it worse when I go off of the pill. I've been this way since my 20s. I eat low carb, mostly paleo. I do eat cheese/butter, but no milk. I don't eat grains or legumes. It just seems odd that the hair loss went away when I added significant carbs and came back as soon as I cut them.

9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d

(273)

on January 18, 2012
at 04:59 PM

Nope, not alone at all. Low carb often leads to increased cortisol (due to depleted liver glycogen) and in those more susceptible to stressors, hair loss.

009bed5330dc6f707c4104eb758ca094

(20)

on January 18, 2012
at 04:55 PM

I don't think it's that uncommon. My hair recently began to fall out several months after switching from SAD to lowish-carb primal. I'd never in my life had that happen, and a quick search kindly showed me that I wasn't alone in my low-carb hair loss.

685e3c967e63b4eacccf02628fd9a3ac

(1026)

on January 18, 2012
at 04:28 PM

Add fruit and see...

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4 Answers

1
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32566)

on January 18, 2012
at 03:52 PM

You can balance your hormones by fine-tuning your nutrition. You'll be able to ditch all the meds, too.

Are you eating 100% Paleo or Primal? What kinds of foods?

Many women are deficient in Zinc, Magnesium and Vitamin D, (as well as Selenium and Manganese.) All are required to get your hormones back into balance, which will help your weight loss and probably eliminate your PCOS.

It takes patience--6 months to a year to see significant changes, from what I've seen in my clients.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32566)

on January 18, 2012
at 06:33 PM

How much are you taking of each supplement? Fish oil can be a prob for some women. Eating fish is better. Are you eating conventional or grass-fed meat? Organic dairy? The hair situation is not surprising to me. So keep the carbs up enough to help your hair and drop a bit of the fat for weight loss. Check out www.dannyroddy.com

B9b76c30366c142e323049db109ca4ac

(466)

on January 18, 2012
at 05:05 PM

I take Vit D and a little bit of zinc and magnesium. I also take omega 3 fish oil. I'd love to get off all meds. Periods are too heavy when I go off of the pill and I can already grow a beard it seems; only makes it worse when I go off of the pill. I've been this way since my 20s. I eat low carb, mostly paleo. I do eat cheese/butter, but no milk. I don't eat grains or legumes. It just seems odd that the hair loss went away when I added significant carbs and came back as soon as I cut them.

B9b76c30366c142e323049db109ca4ac

(466)

on January 18, 2012
at 08:43 PM

I just recently started taking fish oil as it used to upset my stomach something fierce. I finally found a brand that doesn't bother me. My face has never been clearer. I pop two after every meal. Each pill is 1000mg but only 300epa/dha. I despise any type of seafood, or else I would certainly eat it. My beef is grass-fed. I've been taking 4000 IU Vit D because I was low on my last test. I don't eat organic dairy. I don't eat very much though. Mag - about 200 mg. And zinc 15mg from my multivitamin. Today I upped my carbs a bit. We'll see how this goes.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32566)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:14 PM

I would suggest dropping the fish oil caps to one-two per day. The amount you are taking seems excessive. Everything else looks good, but the Zinc is a bit low. I'd add more to get up to 30 mg/day and do a Zinc Taste test in 3 months.

0
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 19, 2012
at 12:40 AM

Does the burning show up when you are losing weight/are lowest in your carb intake? The pores on our scalp (and pores in general) are a route of detoxification. Our adipose tissue can hold onto all sorts of environmental toxins that become mobilized when when we start to lose fat, and I bet that could cause a burning sensation.

I have a theory that many of us with PCOS are ApoE 4 carriers who hold onto heavy metals at greater rate than others, making that mobilization even more unpleasant. I bet adding the starches slowed the rate of weight loss, and reduced the heavy metal poisoning. Slow and steady, with a small serving of starchy roots might be easier on your system.

I also read recently on the PCOS newsletter that I get, we apparently have stickier and more copious scalp oil than the population at large which can mess with hair growth too.

This link might provide some more ideas for you too: http://www.ovarian-cysts-pcos.com/female-hair-loss.html

I've had several bouts of hair loss with PCOS, both times it seemed to stop when I remembered to eat more liver, I was anemic both times. It is hard to troubleshoot, I hope you figure it out.

B9b76c30366c142e323049db109ca4ac

(466)

on January 20, 2012
at 04:12 AM

I've only lost hair two times in my life. Once after half a year on low carb (lost 40 pounds), and now that I started low carb again. My scalp burns on the crown and down the part area. Male pattern, I guess. I have hirsuitism too. I've had it for years though. That's why I assume the VLC has to be causing the burning scalp/hair loss.

0
Cf4576cbcc44fc7f2294135609bce9e5

on January 18, 2012
at 04:34 PM

sounds very uncommopn. so uncommon you may never find the reason. you may have an inborn error of metabolism not discovered. You may have also developed some allergey. go back to eating the way that keeps your hair. No telling what damage is being done where you dont notice.

009bed5330dc6f707c4104eb758ca094

(20)

on January 18, 2012
at 04:55 PM

I don't think it's that uncommon. My hair recently began to fall out several months after switching from SAD to lowish-carb primal. I'd never in my life had that happen, and a quick search kindly showed me that I wasn't alone in my low-carb hair loss.

9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d

(273)

on January 18, 2012
at 04:59 PM

Nope, not alone at all. Low carb often leads to increased cortisol (due to depleted liver glycogen) and in those more susceptible to stressors, hair loss.

B9b76c30366c142e323049db109ca4ac

(466)

on January 18, 2012
at 06:16 PM

I wonder how much time I should give carbs to fix the problem. Meaning, I don't want to add too many. I'm thinking about adding a bit here and there, but I don't know how long it will take to stop shedding and start regrowth. This would be much easier to handle if I didn't have a bunch of weight to lose still.

9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d

(273)

on January 19, 2012
at 07:31 AM

It could take a while. Due to the growth cycle of hair you're looking at months before you're likely to see major changes. I know in my case it was about 8 months of VLC before I realized I had a major issue, and then about 4 months or maybe a bit more before I got things back to where they were after upping carbs (starting with starches, later other sugars). Your experience may differ.

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