Hair is a physical element that significantly impacts a person's self-image. Common hair issues, such as thinning hair or hair loss, can cause severe emotional discomfort. A common question many people have is how hormones contribute to their hair loss, if at all.
What Are Hormones and What Do They Do?
The human body has a complex network of glands and organs that comprise the endocrine system. The endocrine system produces various hormones that target specific bodily functions, including metabolism, reproduction, energy level, growth, development, and response to injury or stress.
The endocrine system uses a messenger system comprised of feedback loops to control the release of hormones into your circulatory system. Hormones are closely associated with hair growth and significantly impact the hair cycle and hair structure of your hair follicles. Therefore, hormonal imbalances can result in various physiological hair growth and cycling alterations.
Hormones That Contribute to Hair Loss
Your body maintains a delicate balance of hormones. When this balance is upset, even slightly, it can manifest many symptoms, including hair loss. Several factors, including puberty, pregnancy, chronic stress, steroids, some medications, and autoimmune diseases, can cause hormonal imbalances. Several hormones contribute to hair loss, including:
Testosterone is the male sex hormone. However, it is also present in small amounts in women. Underlying issues like poor diet or genetics sometimes cause women to produce excessive testosterone. Excessive production of testosterone can cause several symptoms, such as facial hair, obesity, and female pattern hair loss.
Testosterone was once thought to be the leading cause of male and female pattern baldness. However, researchers now believe that a derivative of testosterone, known as dihydrotestosterone or DHT, is the main culprit. Excessive amounts of DHT shrink the hair follicles, which causes them to produce thinner and weaker strands of hair, causing thinning hair. Eventually, the hair follicle cannot grow any hair leading to hair loss.
About half of all women experience excessive hair shedding and thinning hair after giving birth. Known as telogen effluvium, the condition occurs due to changes in estrogen and progesterone levels.
During pregnancy, many women find that their hair is thicker, shinier, and looks healthier than ever. This change is due to the increase in estrogen that occurs during pregnancy. Estrogen helps keep your hair in the anagen or growth phase of the hair growth cycle.
After giving birth, hormone levels return to normal. This sudden decrease in pregnancy hormones forces the overdue anagen hairs into the later phases of the hair growth cycle. Nearly 50% of women experience hair loss after delivering their baby as their hair enters the exogen or shedding phase of the hair growth cycle.
Thyroid hormones affect every cell and organ in your body. When the thyroid produces too little or too many hormones, it affects the development of hair at the root. As a result, hair falls out and may not be replaced by new growth, resulting in thinning across your scalp and other areas of your body, such as your eyebrows.
Hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, conditions that cause the thyroid gland to produce too much or insufficient hormones, can cause an autoimmune disorder called alopecia areata. This condition can lead to bald patches or spots on the scalp.
Menopause can also affect the hair growth cycle in women, especially if you were diagnosed with androgenic alopecia before entering menopause. Androgenetic alopecia typically starts with hormonal changes after puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Changes in sex hormones and a corresponding increase in stress-associated hormones can lead to female pattern hair loss during and after menopause.
What Can You Do to Decrease Hair Loss?
Thinning hair and hair loss have many causes. Hormonal imbalances are caused by various factors and can lead to thinning hair or hair loss in both men and women. However, in most cases, your hair will regrow once the imbalance is treated and corrected. If you are experiencing issues with your hair for any reason, our team of experts can help. Contact us today and schedule your FREE initial consultation. We can help determine the cause of your hair condition and help you find the solution you are searching for.