Hormones play a significant role in regulating many of the body’s functions, including hair growth.
We’ve all heard the old adage “you are what you eat.” Well, it turns out there is a lot more to our health than just what we are ingesting. Our hormones play an integral role in determining our physical and mental wellbeing as well – and can even have an impact on how much hair we are losing.
Understanding The Hormonal Connection
Hormones play a significant role in regulating many of the body’s functions, including hair growth. An imbalance in hormones can lead to hair loss.
There are several hormones that are involved in hair growth: testosterone, progesterone, estrogen, and thyroid hormone. Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone and is responsible for the development of male characteristics, such as facial and body hair. Progesterone is a female sex hormone that helps to regulate the menstrual cycle. Estrogen is another female sex hormone that helps to maintain feminine characteristics, such as hair growth. Thyroid hormone helps to regulate the metabolism and can impact hair growth if it is imbalanced.
Certain medical conditions can cause a hormonal imbalance that leads to hair loss. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that results in an excess of male hormones (testosterone) in females. This can cause thinning of the scalp hair as well as excess facial and body hair growth (hirsutism). PCOS is often treated with medication to help balance the hormones levels and regulate the menstrual cycle. Hypothyroidism occurs when there is an insufficient amount of thyroid hormone being produced by the thyroid gland. This can result in diffuse thinning of the scalp hair as well as dryness, brittleness, and fragility. Treatment for hypothyroidism typically involves taking synthetic thyroid hormone replacement medication daily.
Different Types of Hair Loss Related to Hormones
Hormones play a vital role in maintaining many of the body’s processes, including hair growth. When there is an imbalance in hormone levels, it can lead to hair loss. There are several different types of hair loss that can be related to hormones:
• Telogen effluvium is a type of temporary hair thinning that occurs when there is a change in the normal hair growth cycle. This can be caused by physical or emotional stress, crash diets, certain medications, and dramatic weight loss. With telogen effluvium, hairs enter the resting phase (telogen) too early and fall out before they are replaced by new growth.
• Anagen effluvium is another type of temporary hair thinning that is often caused by chemotherapy drugs used to treat cancer. These drugs attack fast-growing cells in the body, including those in the hair follicles. As a result, hairs may stop growing or fall out prematurely.
• Androgenetic alopecia (AGA), also known as male-pattern baldness or female-pattern baldness, is a permanent form of hair loss that is genetically determined. AGA is characterized by a gradual thinning of the scalp hair due to miniaturization of the follicles. Androgens (male hormones) play a role in this process, which explains why AGA is more common in men than women. However, women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or
How To Identify Hormone-Related Hair Loss
There are a few signs that your hair loss may be hormone-related. If you are experiencing any of the following, it’s worth considering the role hormones may be playing:
-Hair loss that begins suddenly
-A change in the pattern of your hair loss (e.g., diffuse thinning versus small, circular bald spots)
-Hair loss that is accompanied by other symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain/loss, or changes in mood or sleep patterns
If you suspect that hormones may be behind your hair loss, it’s important to see a doctor to get a proper diagnosis. Blood tests can help identify whether there is an underlying hormonal problem. Treatments for hormone-related hair loss will vary depending on the underlying cause, but may include medication to regulate hormone levels or surgery to remove the offending gland.
Treatments Available For Hormone-Related Hair Loss
There are a number of different treatments available for hormone-related hair loss. The most common and effective treatment is hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT can be used to replace the missing hormones in the body, which can help to stop hair loss and even promote new hair growth.
Other treatments for hormone-related hair loss include oral contraceptives, anti-androgens, 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, and minoxidil. Oral contraceptives can help to regulate the hormones in the body and reduce hair loss. Anti-androgens can also help to reduce hair loss by blocking the action of testosterone. 5-alpha reductase inhibitors work by reducing the production of DHT, which is a hormone that plays a role in hair loss. Minoxidil is a medication that is applied topically to the scalp and has been shown to be effective in promoting new hair growth.
It is important to speak with a doctor or dermatologist about the best treatment option for you. Depending on the cause of your hormone-related hair loss, there may be other treatments that are more effective for you.
Foods And Supplements That May Help Combat Hormone-Related Hair Loss
There are a number of foods and supplements that may help to combat hormone-related hair loss. These include:
Soy: Soy contains phytoestrogens, which can help to regulate hormones and reduce hair loss.
Flaxseed: Flaxseed is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to reduce inflammation and promote hair growth.
Biotin: Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential for the health of the skin, nails, and hair. It can help to prevent hair loss and promote new hair growth.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can help to protect the hair follicles from damage and promote new growth.
These are just a few of the many foods and supplements that may help to combat hormone-related hair loss. Talk to your doctor or registered dietitian about which ones may be right for you.
Tips On Minimizing or Preventing Hair Loss From Hormones
There are a few things that can be done to minimize or prevent hair loss from hormones. One is to avoid any potential triggers, such as crash diets, severe stress, overly heating the hair, or using harsh chemicals. Another is to reduce inflammation by consuming an anti-inflammatory diet and using natural ingredients on the scalp. Finally, it’s important to support healthy hormone levels by managing stress, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly.
Our exploration of the connection between hormones and hair loss has revealed that hormone levels, especially testosterone and DHT, can play a major role in whether or not someone experiences hair loss. From understanding what is happening on the surface to researching possible treatments, there are ways for those who suffer from this condition to understand the cause and take steps towards managing it. We hope that this article has given you an insight into how your hormones might be impacting your body’s natural processes and offered some options for taking control of your hair health again.