With news of Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, dealing with morning sickness from her second pregnancy and fellow brunette Cheryl Fernandez-Versini announcing she’s in no rush to have kids, we take a look at the link between birth control and female hair loss.
Oral contraceptives and thinning hair
Oral contraceptives can cause hormonal changes which may lead to hair loss for some women. Those with a genetic predisposition to hair loss may find that birth control pills containing high levels of androgens, such as Loestrin and Microgestin, may cause thinning hair and hair loss. Androgen, or dihydrotestosterone (DHT) can cause scalp hair follicles to shrink, and it’s possible to find (unsubstantiated) horror stories all over the internet of women claiming to have lost as much as 50% of their hair due to hormonal birth control.
Theoretically, almost any medication could cause hair loss, as medication affects everyone differently. But if you are genetically predisposed to female pattern hair loss or have damaged follicles, oral contraceptives could affect your hair, even causing a condition known as Telogen Effluvium. This causes hair to prematurely enter the resting phase, being shed before a new growth cycle can begin. It generally lasts no more than six months but can progress the more severe Chronic Telogen Effluvium which lasts a minimum of six months.
A temporary problem
Problems could occur when you start taking the pill, when you stop or even when switching brands. It’s possible to ask your GP for a low-androgen birth control pill, but you may wish to consider a non-hormonal contraceptive if you have a family history of hair loss. Usually, hair loss will cease to be a problem once your body adjusts to the new hormone levels, so it may just be a case of waiting it out.
Post-partum hair loss
It’s not just birth control pills which can cause hair loss: many women experience thinning hair after giving birth. Story continues after the video.
When you become pregnant, your body increases production of the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone. High levels of oestrogen can increase hair growth, reduce hair loss and cause more hair follicles than usual to enter into the growth (anagen) phase of the cycle. Therefore, a lot of women notice when this ‘additional’ hair falls out after they give birth.
Post-partum hair loss can affect women around two to four months after giving birth, and although it may cause concern, it’s perfectly normal. For most women, the hair growth cycle usually corrects itself within six months, and hair should return to its pre-pregnancy density.
You should always see a professional hair loss expert for analysis and treatment if you are experiencing hair loss, to rule out other causes. Treatment can also help to minimise damage and help your hair to grow back strong and healthy.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.
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