It’s amazing how much of an effect a woman’s hormones can have on their hair growth and health. In fact, changes to the hormone balance is one of the main causes of hair loss in women – at any age! We are not just talking about ladies in the menopausal time of their life, female hormonal hair loss is possible at any time of life.
We have spoken about DHT in many of our articles here and this chemical in the body is one of the main causes of hair loss in men and women. DHT is present in testosterone and oestrogen and is responsible for male pattern baldness, but also hair loss in females too.
If there is any time when a women has a hormonal imbalance, the levels of DHT in their body can rise, causing hair growth to slow or stop. These changes in the body will also have an overall effect on the hair too, causing it to appear thicker or thinner as your body struggles to cope with the additional changes you are going through.
The three main reasons for women to go through these changes are very common and are (luckily) not caused by anything horrid, like disease or illness.
Pregnancy And Hair
Women usually find that, when they are pregnant, their hair is fuller, in better condition, thicker and much nicer than when they are not. This is due to hormonal changes that cause additional hair growth to happen.
However, it is also common for women to experience hair loss in the few weeks following giving birth as the hormone levels in their bodies undergo a drastic change. It is estimated that nearly a quarter to a half of all women who undergo childbirth will see a change in their hair afterwards. This is known as Postpartum Hair Loss.
The reason for this loss is basically a problem with timing. Your hair grows in cycles of rest, shedding and growth. If childbirth occurs at a time of rest or shedding, the dramatic changes the body undergoes may cause the cycle to become interrupted for a time, possibly up to 12 weeks afterwards. This can mean that you are stuck in a rest cycle, or even worse, the part of the cycle where old hairs are shed from your scalp.
Luckily, this does only last for a short time, but the whole process of getting your hair back into the correct cycle and your hair growth back to normal, can take up to 12 months. However, most women report that it gets back to normal after a few months. Although losing a lot of hair is distressing, it is important to recognise childbirth as a signal of the cause. Remember not to panic and make sure that you continue to keep your hair and scalp as clean as possible, ensuring that you take care of yourself whilst you are in this period of “hair limbo”.
There are many different side effects to taking an oral contraceptive so it should be no surprise that it could affect your hair growth too. After all, you are taking additional hormones that are stopping parts of your body working, so having thinning hair might be an unwanted outcome too.
If you are taking the pill and are finding that you are starting to have thinning hair or are seeing lots of hair loss, please speak to your doctor as soon as possible. It could just be as simple as being prescribed a different contraceptive product – but check with your doctor to make sure.
Women who are of “a certain age” will start to go through “the change” or The Menopause as it is properly known. During this time, they will stop ovulating, which causes other chemicals and hormones to start to be produced in the body.
Unfortunately, one of the side effects of this time is that more male hormones are produced which contain DHT, which we have already said, can be responsible for male pattern baldness or hereditary hair loss in men. One of the good things I can tell you about losing your hair at this time, is that it is not likely to continue. Whilst your body is going through the changes brought on by the menopause, your hair will become affected. After the changes have taken place and calmed down, your hair should be fine as the hormone imbalance returns to normal.
As with any hair loss issue, it is definitely worth speaking with your doctor to get their opinion. Menopausal women may find that drugs or treatments such as HRT (hormone replacement) might help stop their hair loss if it looks like it might be severe. Your doctor will help you make this decision, so speaking to them is the best course of action if you are worried.
I think that hair loss is much worse for women than men, mainly due to vanity (don’t shoot me!) but it is important to keep things in perspective as much as possible. Yes, hair loss can be caused by emotional and physical stress in both men and women – but there are many causes and also many treatments.
Your body is a complex machine that requires many parts all working together properly at the same time to be completely effective. Adjust one of these components with inner or outer stress and you will find that something will give – unfortunately, your skin or hair is often the victim.
Women go through many different hormonal changes in their lives, month after month, year after year. The cause of your thinning hair or loss that you are experiencing now, will usually pass and, given time, will fix itself for good.
Knowing that you are going through changes in your body or your life will help reassure you that you are not going to wake up completely bald one morning. However, any additional stress or anxiety is also not good for you or your hair – so speaking with a doctor to get the expert opinion might be the best option if you are not 100% sure what is going on.
Are you suffering from this right now? or do you have any more questions?
Leave a comment below and let’s discuss this problem.