What is the Link Between Hair Thinning & Hormonal Imbalance in Women?
Are you noticing hair on your pillowcase or in your shower drain lately? Well, hormonal imbalance might be one of the significant reasons behind excessive hair loss for a long period of time.
To address this kind of hair loss, you need to first deal with its underlying cause. But first, let's have a look what are the signs of hormonal imbalance?
Symptoms in females
In women, the symptoms more frequently include:
- mood swings
- constipation or diarrhoea
- irregular menstrual cycle
- pain in the back or abdomen during menstruation
- low sex drive
- unexplained weight gain or weight loss
- brittle bones
- hirsutism, or excessive hair growth
- rashes on the skin, acne
Symptoms in males
- decrease in sex drive
- erectile dysfunction (ED)
- loss of muscle mass
- thinning hair and reduced hair growth
- tenderness in the area of the chest
Which Hormones Are Responsible For Hair Loss?
Hormones play an important role in maintaining several metabolic functions of the body. An abnormal increase or decrease in the hormonal levels can adversely impact the metabolic function that it controls.
Here, we list certain hormones commonly responsible for hair loss in men and women.
These are a group of male sex hormones including testosterone, DHEA, androstenediol, androstenedione, etc. In general conditions, androgens are present in higher amounts in men and contribute to male characteristics like body and facial hair.
Young females generally have low levels of androgens in their bodies. But when the female sex hormone level drop, the androgens start impacting the female body as well. Sometimes if you have unwanted hair on your face or body due to certain hormonal changes, you can opt for shaving, waxing or hair removal creams to get rid of them.
The rise of the androgen DHT levels leads to the shrinking of hair follicles, causing hair fall and baldness.
- Estrogen And Progesterone
These are female sex hormones that are present in huge amounts in menstruating women. Both estrogen and progesterone positively impact the hair follicles and are vital for your long, lush strands.
So decrease in the level of these hormones such as during menopause or post-pregnancy may lead to an increase in hair loss.
The hormone prolactin is secreted in high amounts during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Several studies have even shown prolactin to impact hair growth and hair fall. Elevated levels of prolactin for long periods may cause increased hair loss. Prolactin can also induce the production of androgens, causing hair loss.
- Hormones Secreted By The Thyroid Gland
The thyroid hormones are vital in the regulation of the metabolism of your entire body. It is no wonder that an increase or decrease in these hormones can impact your hair. Severe high or low levels of these hormones cause thinning of hair in both genders.
This hormone is secreted in the skin in small quantities by the hair follicles. Melatonin acts as an antioxidant, guarding the hair follicles against the effects of free radicals. It also helps in regulating the activity of other hormones such as estrogen and prolactin thus regulating and modulating hair loss.
Connection Between Hormones And Hair Loss
Each hair on your body grows out from the hair follicle which is present in your skin. The hair follicles have distinct cells which help in the growth of new hair and the replacement of the lost ones. It is normal to lose 50 to 100 strands of hair each day in a normal hair cycle, which usually gets replaced with new hair.
It is the hair follicle that is usually affected when the hormonal balance in your body gets disturbed which in turn disrupts the hair cycle, causing elevated loss of hair or reduction in the replacement of new hair.
Also, some women may face increased hair loss post-childbirth, menopause, etc. Age also plays a role in the decrease or increase of certain hormones, which can impact your hair cycle. Thyroid gland disorders and PCOS are also common factors responsible for hormonal imbalance causing hair loss.
How Do You Treat Hormonal Hair Loss?
If you have an excessive or continuous loss of hair which is not replaced over time, hormonal imbalance may be the culprit behind your hair loss. Some essential tips to fight hormonal hair loss.
- First, visit a doctor which is highly recommended if you doubt hormonal disorders for your hair loss to prevent bigger health problems. Your doctor will suggest some medications or hormone replacement therapies manage this issue, which may also help reduce hair loss.
- Stress can worsen your hormonal imbalance in the body thus causing increased hair loss. You can try meditation, yoga, breathing exercises or counselling sessions to cope with chronic stress and try keeping stress away.
- Along with eating a healthy diet, getting sufficient sleep is necessary as well. Lack of sufficient sleep can cause higher stress levels which in turn can cause hair loss.
- Avoid using heat or harsh chemicals on your hair if you are suffering from severe hair loss.
- You can go for plate-rich plasma therapy by consulting with your dermatologist to reverse the effects of hormonal hair loss.
- The topical application of Minoxidil can also help in hair growth in conditions like androgenic alopecia.
- Another therapy you can try for hair regrowth is mesotherapy which involves the direct injection of nutrients and vitamins into your scalp to boost hair regrowth.
Is Hormonal Hair Loss Reversible?
Hormonal hair loss is usually reversible in most cases. Like, if you are having hair loss due to hypo- or hyperthyroidism, treating the underlying condition will stop hair loss and may even result in new hair growth.
In the case of menopausal women, hormone replacement therapy or topical application of certain medications like minoxidil may show some effects on hair regrowth, but the efficiency of these treatments reduces with increasing age.
If your hair loss is due to genetic factors, reversing hair loss becomes very difficult.
Hormones are essential in regulating several metabolic reactions in your body. Thus changes in the levels of hormones can impact hair growth as well as influence hair loss. Early diagnosis of hormonal imbalances will not only help decrease hair loss but also save you from health complications in future.
Eat a well-balanced diet, exercise regularly and lead a healthy, stress-free life to avoid the hormonal imbalances in your body. Also, do consult a healthcare professional if you doubt hormonal disorders are causing a sudden or prolonged hair loss.