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  5. Can Hormonal Imbalance Cause Hair Loss?

Are you noticing clumps of hair on your pillowcase or in your shower drain lately? Hormonal imbalance may be one of the significant reasons behind excessive hair loss for a prolonged period of time.

To address this type of hair loss, you need to first deal with the underlying cause. In this article, we tell you which hormones cause loss of your precious locks and what you can do to manage it.

Which Hormones Are Responsible For Hair Loss?

Hormones are like chemical messengers that are secreted by the endocrine glands directly into your blood [1]. Hormones play a crucial role in maintaining several metabolic functions of the body. An abnormal increase or decrease in the hormonal levels can adversely affect the metabolic function it controls.

Here, we list some of the hormones that are commonly found to be responsible for hair loss in men and women.

1. Androgens

These are a group of male sex hormones including testosterone, DHEA, androstenedione, androstenediol, etc. In normal conditions, androgens are present in higher quantities in men and contribute to the male characteristics such as body and facial hair.

Young females usually have very low levels of androgens in their body. But when the female sex hormones level drop, the androgens start affecting the female body as well.

Increase in the level of the androgen DHT leads to the shrinking of hair follicles, leading to hair fall and baldness. It is one of the common factors responsible for androgenic alopecia, which affects male and females differently. In males, the hair loss results in a pattern or bald patch, however in females there is a diffused thinning of hair all over the scalp [2].

2. Estrogen And Progesterone

These are female sex hormones that are present in abundant quantities in menstruating women. Both estrogen and progesterone positively influence the hair follicles and are essential for your long, lush tresses.

So decrease in the level of these hormones such as during menopause or post pregnancy may lead to increase in hair loss. A drop in the levels of the female sex hormones also allow DHT levels to increase and cause hair loss.

3. Prolactin

The hormone prolactin is secreted in high levels during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Several studies have shown prolactin to influence hair growth and hair fall [3]. Elevated levels of prolactin for prolonged periods may lead to increased hair loss. Prolactin can also induce production of androgens, leading to hair loss.

4. Hormones Secreted By The Thyroid Gland

The thyroid hormones are crucial in the regulation of metabolism of your entire body. It is no wonder that increase or decrease in these hormones affects your hair. Severe high or low levels of these hormones lead to thinning of hair in both men and women [4]. This type of hair loss is common in the elderly as is the disruption in the normal functioning of the thyroid gland.

5. Melatonin

This hormone is secreted in the skin in small amounts by the hair follicles. Melatonin acts as an antioxidant, protecting the hair follicles from the damaging effects of free radicals. It also regulates the activity of other hormones such as estrogen and prolactin thus regulating and modulating hair loss. However more studies are required to understand the role of melatonin in hair loss.

Understanding The Connection Between Hormones And Hair Loss

Each hair on your body grows out from a tiny sac-like structure called the hair follicle which is present in your skin. The hair follicles have different cells which contribute to the growth of new hair and replacement of the lost ones. It is normal to lose 50 to 100 strands of hair everyday in a normal hair cycle, which eventually gets replaced with new hair.

Stages of the hair growth cycle

It is the hair follicle that gets affected when the hormonal balance in your body is disturbed.[5] This in turn disrupts the hair cycle, leading to elevated loss of hair or reduced replacement with new hair.

It is normal to witness some ups and downs in the hormonal levels in different stages of your life. For example, some teenagers may face hair loss due to the fluctuating hormones but it is usually reversible with diet and lifestyle changes. But if you have male or female pattern baldness, you will continue to face hair loss even as you grow older.

Also some women may face increased hair loss post childbirth (postpartum alopecia), menopause, etc. Age also plays a role in decrease of certain hormones and increase in others, which can affect your hair cycle. Disorders of the thyroid gland and PCOS are also common factors responsible for hormonal imbalance leading to hair loss.

How Do You Treat Hormonal Hair Loss?

If you have continuous or excessive loss of hair which is not replaced over time, hormonal imbalance may be responsible for your hair loss. Here are a few tips to fight hormonal hair loss.

  • First and foremost you should visit a doctor if you doubt hormonal disorders for your hair loss to prevent bigger health issues. Your doctor will suggest medications or hormone replacement therapies to manage the disorder, which should also help reduce the hair loss.
  • Keep stress at bay. Stress can worsen the hormonal imbalance in your body thus leading to increased hair loss. You can try yoga, meditation, breathing exercises or counselling sessions to cope with chronic stress.
  • Along with eating healthy, getting sufficient sleep is essential too. So while you consume a nutritious diet enriched with green vegetables and fruits, also make sure to get sound sleep. Lack of sufficient sleep can lead to higher stress levels which in turn can lead to loss of hair.
  • You should avoid using heat or harsh chemicals on your hair if you are facing severe hair loss. Take SkinKraft’s AI enabled quiz to know your hair better and get customised hair products free of harsh chemicals.
  • You can opt for PRP or plate-rich plasma therapy in consultation with your dermatologist to reverse the effects of hormonal hair loss.
  • Topical application of Minoxidil can help in hair growth in conditions such as androgenic alopecia.
  • Another therapy available for hair regrowth is mesotherapy. This involves direct injection of nutrients and vitamins into your scalp to promote hair regrowth.

Is Hormonal Hair Loss Reversible?

Hormonal hair loss is reversible in most cases. For example if you are facing hair loss due to hypo- or hyperthyroidism, treating the underlying condition will stop hair loss and also result in new hair growth.

In case of menopausal women, hormone replacement therapy or topical application of medications like minoxidil may show some effects on hair regrowth, but the effectiveness of these treatments decreases with increasing age.

If your hair loss is due to genetic factors, the reversing of hair loss becomes more difficult.

Wrapping Up

Hormones are important in regulating several metabolic reactions in our body. Thus changes in the levels of hormones can adversely affect hair growth as well as influence hair loss. Early diagnosis of hormonal imbalances will not only help reduce hair loss but also save you from future health complications.

Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly and lead a healthy, stress free life to avoid hormonal imbalances in your body. Also, promptly consult a healthcare professional if you doubt hormonal disorders are responsible for your sudden or prolonged hair loss.

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