It’s a shock when you realize you’re shedding hair more than usual! Seeing a bald patch. Noticing more thinning. Your parting line widening… Have you started to wonder if hair loss and hormones are connected? Or if there could be other factors involved? In this article, we’ll delve into:
- the hair growth process
- the link between hormones and hair loss
- the role of genetics and alternative causes of hair loss
- preventive care and potential treatment options
Hair Growth and Hair Cycles
Before checking the possible link between hair loss and hormones, let’s have a look at how hair growth happens.
Hair growth is a dynamic process, and it occurs in cycles. Within that cycle, each of your hair follicles goes through different stages:
Anagen (growth): Your hair follicle produces new cells, and the hair strand grows longer. This can last anywhere from 2 to 7 years, depending on various factors such as genetics and overall health. The longer the anagen phase, the longer your hair can continue to grow.
Catagen (transition): The hair follicle shrinks, and the hair stops growing. The catagen phase usually lasts for about 2 to 3 weeks.
Telogen (resting): The hair follicle remains dormant, and the old hair strand is eventually shed. This phase lasts approximately 2 to 3 months before a new hair grows from the same follicle.
Luckily for you, not all hair follicles are in the same phase at the same time! This is why we naturally shed a certain amount of hair each day, some hairs completing their telogen phase while new hair strands enter the anagen phase.
The Role of Hormones and Genetics in Hair Loss
Genetics and hormones such as testosterone and estrogen have considerable influence over the health of your hair and your hair growth cycle. Let’s look at that cycle again with this in mind.
- Anagen phase:
- Genetics: Genetic makeup determines how long the anagen phase lasts, with some people having a longer anagen phase for longer hair growth.
- Hormones: Testosterone and estrogen influence hair growth rate during the anagen phase. And hormonal imbalances can affect hair growth quality and duration in this stage.
- Catagen phase: This transitional period is not directly or significantly influenced by genetics or hormones.
- Telogen phase:
- Genetics: Like the anagen phase, the telogen phase length is also genetically determined.
- Hormones: Hormonal imbalances can disrupt the telogen phase, leading to excessive hair shedding. Estrogen and progesterone play roles in maintaining a healthy telogen phase.
Genetics and Male Pattern Balding
Your genetic makeup also dictates the sensitivity of your hair follicles to hormonal fluctuations. For example, male pattern balding (androgenetic alopecia) is linked to your genetics. Elevated levels of testosterone can lead to the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone known for causing hair follicles to shrink – which contributes to the classic male pattern of baldness.
Hair Loss and Hormonal Fluctuations in Women
Hormonal fluctuations due to various life events like pregnancy, menopause, or conditions like PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) can trigger hair loss if you’re a woman.
During these significant life events, hormonal imbalances can disturb the delicate balance of your hair growth cycle, resulting in noticeable hair loss. Almost one-third of women in the United States are affected by hair loss, and hormones are usually at fault.
Significantly, the loss may occur two to three months after an event that caused hormonal fluctuation, and you may not therefore associate it with that time.
Alternative Reasons for Hair Loss and Hair Thinning
However, causes of hair loss extend beyond immediate hormonal imbalance (although there can often be an indirect connection):
Age and hair thinning: As we age, each hair follicle’s growth slows down, and it ceases to produce new hair.
Products and styles: Our choices regarding hair products, chemical treatments, and tight hairstyles can impact the health and vitality of our hair.
Nutritional deficiencies: Deficiencies in essential vitamins such as biotin, iron, and zinc – which help maintain healthy hair – can contribute to hair loss.
Stress: Both physical and emotional stress can disrupt hormonal balance. So, stress can indirectly lead to some hair loss. The saying, “This is causing me to lose hair” didn’t originate from thin air!
Certain medications can, unfortunately, lead to unintended side effects, including hair loss.
Alopecia areata is caused by an autoimmune disease.
Can I Reverse Hormonal Hair Loss?
There is a wide variety of treatments capable of stopping your hair loss and supporting hair growth. They do this by addressing the underlying factors related to hair loss and hormones.
- Topical minoxidil is a solution that stimulates blood flow to the hair, counteracts hair loss, and initiates regrowth.
- Anti-androgen medications are designed to regulate and mitigate the impact of androgen hormones on hair follicles.
- Finasteride is an oral medication that combats the effects of testosterone converting to DHT.
- Steroid injections directly into the scalp can stimulate regrowth.
- Low-level light therapy is a non-invasive approach that can stimulate hair follicles.
- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy utilizes your body’s platelets to stimulate hair growth.
- Hormone replacement therapy for achieving hormonal equilibrium.
However, at Evexias Denver, we recommend first of all checking out your hormone levels to see if there’s a link for you between hormones and hair loss.
BHRT and Hormonal Hair Loss
There are so many overall health benefits to having bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) that it makes sense to consider this option first if you’re worried about hair loss.
Specifically – balancing your hormones will support the anagen (growth) stage of your hair cycle and also stop excessive hair shedding prematurely in the telogen phase.
The treatment is simple and convenient. We usually recommend pellet therapy because it’s a simple in-office procedure. The practitioner inserts the tiny pellets in the fatty tissue just under your skin. Being bioidentical, your body accepts them well and accesses what hormones it needs when it needs them.
You can also help nourish your hair in more general ways that will also improve your wellbeing. The usual advice is still relevant. Check your diet is full of the nutrients you need for health and healthy hair. Take regular exercise to maintain good circulation, especially blood flow to your hair follicles. And try to manage your stress levels well so you don’t tear out the hair you do have!
Evexias Denver Can Help Prevent Hair Loss with BHRT
If you have the slightest worries about your possible hair loss or your hormones, contact our team at Evexias Denver today. Your wellbeing is our top priority.