Hair loss can be caused due to several reasons, hormonal changes/imbalances is one of them, as hormones play a critical role in how the body functions at any given time. But, it is very difficult to identify if your hair loss is hormonal, as there could be other factors that could be contributing to it as well. So, it is always better to seek advice from an expert dermatologist to identify and treat the root cause. Thus it is important to identify the indicators of hormonal hair loss to understand which hormones are responsible for hair growth/loss and tips to prevent hormonal hair loss.
What Are The Common Causes Of Hormonal Hair Loss?
1. Hormonal imbalance – It is a major cause of hair loss in both men and women. Certain triggers can accelerate the production of some hormones which cause hair shedding and hair loss.
2. Stress – When your body is stressed it produces a hormone called cortisol, which causes more production of testosterone and DHT, and thus results in hair loss.
3. Thyroid levels – Fluctuations in thyroid levels can also act as a catalyst to hair loss. It is known that lack of sufficient parathyroid or an overactive thyroid can cause thinning of hair. Thus, it is important to get the thyroid levels checked regularly.
4. Pregnancy and childbirth – Pregnancy disturbs the hormones in your body and one of the results of these hormonal changes is thinning of hair eventually resulting in hair loss. But, this is a temporary condition, and you will notice regrowth of hair in a span of ninety days after you procreate.
5. Medications and the pill – Certain medications that you consume come with side effects such as hair loss as they cause disruption in the hormonal levels of the body, for example birth control pills. It is suggested to consult your doctor and either reduce the dosage of the medications you are consuming or find an alternative to it. Studies have recommended to take birth control pills with low androgen levels, so as to avert the effects of DHT.
6. Menopause – During menopause, a woman goes through a lot of changes in the body as the estrogen level drastically fall and since it is no longer capable of balancing DHT levels, it causes hair loss as well.
What Are The Hormones That Cause Hair Loss?
Hormones are the chemical messengers in our body which are a part of endocrine system that control our body systems. In a way, hormones help our body to sustain and thus any imbalance in their constitution results into a number of problems. There are certain hormones which affect our hair nourishment and health, thus causing hair loss –
Testosterone – This is a male hormone and excess production of it can cause androgenetic alopecia in both men and women. With excess of testosterone being produced in the body, it gets highly reactive to dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, which are by-products of testosterone in the body. With the rise of testosterone in the body, the DHT levels rise as well and this causes an increase in the rate of hair loss.
Thyroxin – Thyroid gland releases thyroxin hormone, a component that regulates the metabolism of the body and maintains its energy in order to support smooth functioning. But, if there is an imbalance in the amount of thyroxin produced, then it results in conditions known as hypothyroidism (underactive or low thyroid hormone) and hyperthyroidism (excessive thyroid hormone), which in turn is capable of causing many irregularities, including weight gain and hair loss.
Estrogen – Estrogen is the primary female sex hormone that contributes to the development and regulation of female reproductive system and secondary sexual characteristics. It also helps in bone and cholesterol metabolism, also regulating food intake, body weight, glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. Although, high levels of estrogen in the body can lead to weigh gain and hair loss.
Further, estrogen levels are known to dip during pregnancy or menopause, this causes tremendous hair fall, or it can even cause a condition known as telogen effluvium for many women. Sometimes, your estrogen levels may fluctuate due to the medications that you are taking, and it is important to consult a specialist and understand the dosage that will be suitable for you without causing any interference to the naturally maintained hormonal levels of your body.
Insulin – This is a hormone that is produced in the pancreas and it helps the body in regulating the blood sugar levels. Insulin is capable of affecting several body processes like fat storage and hair loss. Studies indicate that people with insulin resistance are probable candidates for androgenic alopecia (AGA), or female pattern baldness.
Cortisol – Cortisol is produced by the body when it is under stress. It is known to convert protein into energy. It puts the body into ‘fight or flight’ situation and causes serious inflammation in the body. If sustained over a period of time, this can result in an overall breakdown of the body and can destroy healthy muscles as well. Overproduction of cortisol also makes the body oversensitive to DHT, and thus can cause hair loss as one of the many adverse side effects apart from weight gain, acne, etc.
Also Read: How To Grow Hair On Bald Head?
Can Hormonal Hair Loss Be Reversed?
Hormonal hair loss can be difficult to detect, but once diagnosed, you can work towards ways that can help in reversing this condition.
1. If there is an imbalance in the estrogen and progesterone levels due to medications, or because of pregnancy, or menopause, then to normalize the body, you need to change your diet, exercise, ensure that you get good sleep, and consume the right medications that work towards bringing these hormones back into order (as prescribed).
2. If there is over production of testosterone in the body, then it causes an increase in the levels of dihydrotestosterone or DHT, which are known to contribute to hair loss. DHT is capable of permanently damaging your hair follicles forever. Hence an early diagnosis is the key to prevent this hormone from ruining your hair. Any irregularities in the body that cause unusual hair loss should be brought up to a dermatologist, to avoid any ambiguities in your treatment.
3. In some cases, due to insulin resistance, the body is unable to regulate blood sugar levels, furthermore, studies suggest that insulin resistance can cause androgenic alopecia as well. There are over the counter medications that help in balancing insulin levels. Also, it is important to maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and avoid stress, to ensure that your insulin levels do not fluctuate.
4. If the body is stressed, it results in production of cortisol, which is also a contributor to hair loss. Hence, it is important to meditate and keep your body calm. Mental health should not be ignored and is as important as your physical health. Indulge in any workout that helps you to relax your mind and body.
Hormonal hair loss is reversible, but, you need to ensure that you closely work with your dermatologist, so as to understand the root cause well and to take necessary steps to balance-out your hormonal levels. Along with the cosmetic treatments, suggested by the doctor.
What Are The Treatments For Hormonal Hair Loss?
1- PRP – Platelet rich plasma is a non-invasive and therapeutic treatment for major kinds of hair thinning and hair loss. It transfuses your own blood platelets, using an injection to the root of your hair, as your blood platelets are known to have the ability to regenerate/repair cells. The blood extracted from other areas like your arm is put to centrifuge to extract the platelets from plasma, then these activated platelets are then injected back into the thinning or scanty areas of scalp. PRP is a popular treatment to boost regrowth and to restore hair. Further, PRP is often combined with other topical treatments or oral medications including dietary supplements, to get the best results.
2- Minoxidil – Minoxidil is a USFDA approved topical ointment that is available in the market to treat hair loss. It normalizes hair follicles and is known to increase blood circulation to the scalp, thus effectively treating androgenetic alopecia in this process. Though, you may notice hair loss in the initial stages of application, but minoxidil is known to show visible results only after the first four to six months of consistent application of this chemical.
3- Hormone Replacement Therapy – During menopause, women experience a dip in the hormones. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is used to effectively relive menopausal symptoms by replacing and balancing the hormones that are at lower levels in the body. There are various ways to do so – pills, therapies, patches, topical creams, etc. Based on your situation, it is either estrogen or both estrogen and progestin that is prescribed for you as a form of combination therapy. HRT comes with a set of side effects, such as, bloating, headache, blood clots, and even strokes, and thus it is advised to consult an expert, weigh the pros and cons, and then decide over taking up this treatment.
How To Stop Hormonal Hair Loss? (Life Style Tips)
Isn’t seeing gobs of hair on the bathroom floor a scary affair? Thus, it is recommended to cultivate the following healthy habits and include them in your daily routine:
• Get tested – Hair loss can occur due to several factors, such as iron levels, thyroid, testosterone levels anemia, thus, it is important to consult a dermatologist to understand the root cause and come up with an appropriate solution for it.
• Eat healthy – Your body is a reflection of what you eat, hence it is important to maintain healthy eating habits. If you include more fiber in your diet, it will help in lowering the estrogen levels, whereas, focusing on proteins and carbohydrates will improve insulin resistance, and will help in protecting you from hair loss.
• Multivitamin – Lack of nutrients can lead up to hair loss. Therefore, it is suggested to take multivitamin supplements weekly thrice (or as prescribed). Vitamin A encourages hair growth by helping fat synthesis in the hair follicles, whereas Vitamin E is known to protect your hair from damage. Vitamin C and zinc contribute in repairing cellular damage, and in this process make your hair healthier.
• Stay stress free – Stress is the root cause of several problems, and hair loss is one of them. When you are stressed, your body produces cortisol, and extended stress is directly proportional to extended production of cortisol. So, while your body is busy in producing cortisol it neglects the hormones that are required for hair growth and also decrease cell regeneration, hence affecting your hair. Meditate every day to relax and unwind. You can also try picking up any kind of workout to ensure that your body is unaffected by stress.
• Eight hours of sleep – The amount of sleep you get impacts the amount of rest your body is able to get. With less sleep, the body is stressed and tends to produce cortisol, which is known to curb hair growth.
Which hormone increases hair growth?
Androgens, which include a reasonable amount of testosterone, are responsible for stimulating hair growth on the face, body, and head. Women also have adrenal glands, but the androgen produced is of a very small amount. It is important to understand that moth male and female hormones are responsible for hair growth.
Is taking hormone growth injections Safe?
Although, there aren’t any cases reported wherein taking of hormone growth injections had any catastrophic effect. But, these injections do come with a few side effects like –
• Muscle aches
• Joint pain
• Swelling in hands and feet
It is important to consult a dermatologist on experiencing any of these above symptoms and change the dosage (if necessary)
Can obesity caused by hormone imbalance lead to hair loss?
Yes, insulin resistance is a common condition that is capable of messing with your body and causing a hormonal imbalance. Due to this condition, people are known to gain weight especially around their belly, are fatigued, and lose an awful amount of hair. Furthermore, increase in the hormonal shift results in increase of inflammation and causes more hair loss.
Hormonal imbalances can have some critical repercussions like hair loss. But these can be treated effectively with early diagnosis. So, apart from following a healthy diet and sleep pattern, it is also important to work closely with your dermatologist to confirm on the cause of hair loss in the early stages and to religiously follow the prescribed steps to treat this condition.