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  5. The Link Between Testosterone And Hair Loss In Men And Women

Are you in your late 40s or early 50s? Your hair fall could be the result of fluctuating testosterone levels. Wondering what that is?

Testosterone is a male sex hormone present in males and females. It serves a number of purposes like the development of certain secondary sexual characteristics in men. Very low or high levels of this hormone is known to result in hair loss.

But is it testosterone that causes the hair loss or is it something else? Let us understand the real reasons and ways to treat testosterone hair loss.

What Are The Types Of Testosterone?

A lot of researchers concluded that testosterone in high levels can result in hair loss due to a specific hormone that it produces. Testosterone exists in a number of forms in the body.

1. Free Testosterone

This form is not bound to any proteins in your body. Free testosterone is a hormone that is connected to testosterone receptors and is absorbed by cells to carry out some functions.

2. DHT

Dihydrotestosterone is derived from testosterone. It is made by an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase and DHEA (more common in women) (1). This hormone is found in the skin, hair and prostate. It binds itself to follicles that cause them to become smaller in size, resulting in the thinning of your hair and eventually losing these strands (2).

Testosterone and DHT mainly contribute to the development of secondary sexual characteristics in men. These include:

  • A change in voice
  • Increased hair on the body
  • Sperm production
  • Growth of the testicles

High Testosterone Vs Low Testosterone

Firstly, it’s not the testosterone but its derivative that contributes to hair loss in women and men.

Hair on your body grows through follicles. These follicles are tiny pores beneath your skin that contain a hair strand. Your strands have a growth cycle of 2-5 years, after which they reach a resting phase and fall out.

High levels of androgens in the body can result in hair loss. Androgens produce a hormone called Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT binds to certain proteins in the body that in turn reduce the size of your hair follicles. This may result in thinning of the hair and may even delay the growth of new hair strands.

Both low and high levels of testosterone can result in hair loss. We need to understand that those with low testosterone levels may in fact have the same amount of DHT that contributes to hair loss. It has been shown that men with male pattern baldness have low testosterone levels with average DHT levels in their body.

Some people have the same amount of DHT as others, but their hair follicles are genetically programmed to be more sensitive to DHT. This makes their follicles more susceptible to reducing in size.

How Can You Point Out That Your Hair Loss Is Due To Fluctuating Testosterone Levels?

Androgenetic alopecia in men and women is linked to fluctuating testosterone levels and genetics. It occurs in a specific pattern that may eventually result in complete balding.

1. Male Pattern Baldness

It starts from the temples, eventually resulting in complete balding. Frontal baldness is the beginning of androgenetic alopecia for men.

2. Female Pattern Baldness

Thinning of hair usually begins from the part-line. It may or may not result in complete balding. Female pattern baldness affects women with PCOS or those above the age of 40-50 years post menopause.

Did You Know?

  • Almost 2/3rd of women with hair loss experience a condition known as androgenetic alopecia. This condition is linked to genetics and fluctuating testosterone levels in the body.

How Can You Treat Hair Loss Caused By Fluctuating Testosterone Levels?

There are a number of medications that have proved to be effective in treating hair loss caused by DHT. These medicines are divided into two categories - blockers and inhibitors.

DHT blockers are medicines that prevent it from binding to the 5 alpha reductase enzyme. DHT inhibitors can help reduce the production of the hormone.

1. Finasteride

Finasteride is an oral medicine that has proved to be effective in treating balding in men. Studies suggest that finasteride had an 87 percent success rate in hair regrowth in men (3). This medicine is a blocker and binds to the 5 alpha reductase enzyme to prevent the DHT hormone from doing the same.

2. Minoxidil

Minoxidil is a DHT blocker. Minoxidil was a medicine initially prescribed to patients with high blood pressure. As a side-effect, some of these patients began experiencing excessive hair growth.

This medicine typically helps widen blood vessels to enhance blood flow. Topical minoxidil when applied can help increase blood flow to hair follicles, thereby improving its growth.

3. Biotin

Biotin is a Vitamin B derivative that turns nutrients into energy, which is used by your cells to carry out their functions. Keratin is a protein that makes up most of your hair and biotin also enhances its production. Studies suggest that biotin enhances hair growth and prevents hair loss (4).

4. Pumpkin Seed Oil

Studies suggest that pumpkin seed oil can improve hair loss in men with male pattern baldness (5). Pumpkin seed oil is a DHT blocker, thereby preventing hair loss and hair thinning.

5. B Vitamins

B vitamins are vital in maintaining the health or your hair and scalp. Lack of these vitamins can reportedly result in hair thinning and eventually even hair loss. They enhance the blood flow to your hair follicles. B vitamins may not be able to restore hair growth, but they can prevent hair loss.

Side-Effects Of DHT Blockers And Inhibitors

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Ejaculating too early
  • Excess fat around the breast area
  • Darkened hair on the face
  • Rashes
  • Feeling sick
  • Vomiting
  • Ejaculating too late
  • Heart failure

Note:

If you notice any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor regarding alternatives.

Who Is At Risk Of Losing Hair?

Hair fall that is caused by fluctuating testosterone levels is linked to both male and female pattern baldness.

Female pattern baldness usually affects women post-menopause as their androgen levels tend to rise and estrogen levels drop. Researchers also tend to link genetics with this form of balding.

Did You Know?

  • Male pattern baldness may affect one in their teenage years but is more common among adults. According to the US National Library of Medicine, over 50 percent of men above the age of 50 are affected.

Wrapping Up

Fluctuating testosterone can result in balding in both men and women. Testosterone produces a hormone called dihydrotestosterone which is responsible for balding in males and females.

Some may be genetically sensitive to this hormone where as others may have high levels of it. Using proven medications to block DHT from binding to hair follicles can prevent hair fall.

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