Learn how hormonal imbalances can lead to hair loss and what you can do to minimize their impact.
Your hair is your crowning glory, but what happens when hormonal imbalances destroy it? From lesser-known causes like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) to more common triggers like pregnancy and postpartum changes, menopause, thyroid disorders, or stress, hormonal imbalances can disrupt your hair growth cycle and cause hair loss. Understanding this is matter essential for finding effective solutions and restoring the health of your hair.
Discover 5 Hormonal Imbalances & How To Deal With Them
PCOS is a common health condition characterized by hormonal imbalances, including an increase in androgenic hormones. This can lead to androgenic alopecia, which causes hair thinning or loss around the temples and frontal regions of the scalp. Hormonal imbalances associated with PCOS disrupt the normal hair growth cycle, resulting in smaller hair follicles, thinner hair strands, increased sebum production, scalp inflammation, and insulin resistance.
It’s important to note that not all PCOS women experience hair loss, and the severity of hair loss varies between individuals. However, for those who do experience hair loss as a result of PCOS, there are several treatment options available to help them manage and overcome this condition.
Among these treatment options are:
- Oral contraceptives: Regulate hormone levels and reduce excess androgenic hormones.
- Antiandrogens: Block effects of androgen hormones on hair follicles to prevent further hair loss.
- Lifestyle changes: Maintain healthy lifestyle with exercise, balanced diet, and proper nutrition to manage hormonal imbalances.
- Hair care practices: Use gentle hair care products, avoid harsh styling practices, and keep scalp clean and moisturized.
- Consulting with healthcare professional: Seek personalized recommendations and treatment plans from dermatologist or endocrinologist based on individual needs and medical history.
2. Pregnancy and Postpartum
Hormonal imbalances are crucial during pregnancy for maintaining the baby’s health, controlling its growth rate, and initiating the labor process. However, hormonal imbalances during pregnancy can cause a variety of complications, including gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, high or low birth weight, and even miscarriage.
One common hormonal change that occurs after childbirth is a drop in estrogen levels, which can cause excessive hair shedding or hair loss known as postpartum hair loss. This is a common occurrence for many new mothers, as a large number of hairs enter the resting phase of the hair growth cycle and eventually shed after a few months.
Coping with postpartum hair loss can be difficult, but there are some steps you can take:
- Keep taking prenatal vitamins to ensure proper nutrition for healthy hair growth.
- Consider switching up hairstyles and hair care products to minimize hair breakage and damage.
- Avoid tight ponytails or hairstyles that cause tension on the hair shafts.
- Steer clear of herbal supplements or medications that may affect hormonal balance without consulting with a healthcare professional.
It’s important to remember that postpartum hair loss is temporary and typically resolves on its own as hormonal levels stabilize.
Hormonal changes associated with menopause, specifically a decrease in estrogen and progesterone levels, can disrupt the hair growth cycle and lead to hair loss. Estrogen promotes hair growth, and its decline during menopause can lead to thinner, brittle hair. Furthermore, hormonal imbalances during menopause can trigger other factors that contribute to hair loss, such as increased sensitivity to androgens (male hormones), genetic predisposition, and scalp inflammation.
Here are some ways to minimize the impact of menopause to your hair:
- Hormone replacement therapy (HRT): HRT can help replenish declining hormone levels during menopause, which may help reduce hair loss and promote healthier hair growth.
- Balanced diet with vitamins and minerals: Eating a well-balanced diet that includes essential vitamins and minerals, such as biotin, zinc, and iron, can support hair health during menopause.
- Gentle hair care practices: Avoiding harsh hair care products, minimizing heat styling, and using gentle hair care techniques, such as air-drying and wide-toothed combs, can help minimize hair damage and breakage.
- Scalp care: Keeping the scalp clean, moisturized, and free from excess oil or dandruff can promote a healthy scalp environment for hair growth.
4. Thyroid Disorders
Thyroid hormones are essential for regulating cell metabolism and growth, including those in hair follicles. However, thyroid hormone imbalances, such as hypothyroidism (low thyroid function) or hyperthyroidism (excess thyroid function), can disrupt the normal hair growth cycle, which causes hair loss. Hypothyroidism can cause dry, brittle hair, whereas hyperthyroidism can cause hair loss and thinning
Here are some ways to minimize the impact of thyroid disorders on hair health:
- Medication: Follow prescribed medication regimen to regulate thyroid hormone levels.
- Regular check-ups: Monitor thyroid hormone levels through regular blood tests and follow-up appointments.
- Stress management: Employ stress-reducing techniques such as exercise, relaxation, and sleep.
- And just like the others, follow a proper nutrition and hair health care guide.
Stress may alter the normal hair growth cycle and cause telogen effluvium, a type of hair loss. This condition causes a large number of hairs to enter the resting phase of the hair growth cycle too soon, which leads in increased hair shedding and thinning. Managing stress and taking steps to reduce its impact on the body can help reduce stress-related hair loss.
Stress-related hormonal imbalances may be treated with the following:
- Relaxation techniques, mindfulness meditation, exercise, adequate sleep, and time management to regulate stress hormones and restore hormonal balance.
- Talking to a qualified mental health professional to develop healthy coping mechanisms and manage stress-related symptoms.
- Adopting healthy lifestyle habits such as regular exercise, balanced diet, and avoiding stress triggers like caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco.
- In some cases, anti-anxiety medications or antidepressants may be prescribed to manage stress-related symptoms and restore hormonal balance.
- Surrounding oneself with a supportive network of friends, family, or a support group for emotional support and shared experiences.