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Hair Loss and Hormonal Imbalance

Hormones are a few of the most essential, and influential, chemical messengers of our body. Read on to know about the hormonal balance and why it is essential for our hair quality and quantity.

Women love their hair. Don’t we? We cut it, we style it, we love it, and we loathe it. Let’s be honest – good hair makes us feel confident and sexy. The time and energy a woman puts into her hair is often a statement of style and an affirmation of beauty; it’s even an expression of self-love.

What if these precious locks of a lady start falling suddenly? She might assume certain reasons which are commonly known for hair loss in men and women, like – humidity, stress levels, chemical treatments and dandruff. But, what if you are losing hair due to hormonal imbalance? We know very little or nothing about hormones and its effect on hair. Hormones actually have a lot to do with your hair!

While your hair texture might not change on a month-to-month basis due to hormonal fluctuations of your cycle, there are certain life events that can cause a dramatic difference. Pregnancy, breast feeding and menopause all affect hormones thereby affecting hair cycle.

Hormones that Cause Hair Loss

If hormones can zap your energy and steal your sex drive, it’s probably no surprise that they can also turn your tresses into a mess. Here, we’ve listed names of few hormones that can cause hair loss:

  • Oestrogen

Oestrogen, the power player in women’s bodies, is your friend when it’s appropriately balanced, although it is also found in small quantities in men. It makes you feel energized, helps stabilize your moods and contributes to a healthy sex drive. It makes your hair growth phase last longer; it also improves the quality of hair. It not only imparts soft feminine features, it also gives that soft, petal-like gentleness to a woman’s looks.

Yet too much oestrogen, which can be caused by weight gain and perimenopause can lead to thinning hair. During and after pregnancy, for example, oestrogen levels peak and then dip, causing sudden hair loss for many women.

Also Read: Pregnancy and Hair Loss

  • Oral Contraceptive Pills

Oral contraceptive (OC) pills are an artificial or additional source of oestrogen for the body. When the supply of ‘artificial oestrogen’ is stopped, the body reacts to sudden ‘oestrogen withdrawal.’ The result: testosterone is on the upsurge, resulting in excess hair loss. OC pills are a boon to the modern woman. They give women freedom of choice — for birth control and to regulate periods. It is, however, a bane when stopped.

  • Testosterone

Testosterone is predominantly a male hormone, although women also produce small quantities of it. The hormone separates the men from the boys, with typical growth of thick hair on the body — especially on the chest, abdomen, arms, legs and face.

At times, testosterone gets converted to DHT — when this happens it suppresses hair growth, where men want it the most — on their head. The result is male pattern baldness (MPB). This is the most common condition that trichologists treat at the clinic.

Testosterone effects normally remain subdued in women due to higher concentration of oestrogen. However, as oestrogen levels fall (such as after pregnancy, ovarian cysts or menopause), testosterone effects start to show — resulting in female pattern baldness.

  • Insulin

Insulin, that helper hormone in charge of regulating blood sugar levels, also affects a number of different body processes, including fat storage, heart health and, you guessed it right - hair growth. One study published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Risk found that women with some markers of insulin resistance have a greater risk for androgenic alopecia (AGA), or female pattern baldness.

  • Thyroid

Your body is an intelligent system. So when it’s under stress due to hormonal imbalances, like fluctuating thyroid levels, it redirects energy used for noncritical processes (hair growth) to more important matters at hand (balancing your hormones). Low thyroid is often the cause of that thinning scalp some women get as they age.

Also Read: How to keep your thyroid in good health

What can be done for hair fall control related to hormonal imbalance?

We know hair loss is a stressful event! Stress, illness, nutrient deficiencies, hormonal imbalance, taking medication like birth control and systemic inflammation can all be reasons for hair loss in men (except birth control!) and women. It is important to address the root cause and move forward from there.

If you think hormones are playing the character of demon for your hair, knowing which ones are leading the show can help you get to the bottom of the issue. This can only be done by a trichologist. Hence, we suggest, address the hair loss condition medically and not self-assume the possible causes and treatments. This will only aggravate your hair loss condition and you may start losing more hair as a possible consequence.

In the meantime, manage your stress levels and get enough sleep. This will help with general hormone balance and can protect your precious locks from any further damage.

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