We’re used to thinking of hair loss as a male problem but in fact the changes that take place in a woman’s body due to her fluctuating hormones can often lead to hair loss and the reduced confidence that goes with it. Two big reasons for shifting hormonal levels are contraception and pregnancy.
Female Hair Loss and Contraceptives
Oral contraceptives are recognised as one of the most effective forms of birth control available and certainly one of the most popular and widely prescribed medications in use today. Approved by the FDA in America back in 1960, the “pill” is understood to have a number of other health benefits for the women who take it, but among the known side effects is female hairloss. But this fact is not well known to women who are experiencing hair loss.
A Hormonal Problem
Oral contraceptives work by suppressing production of eggs through a combination of the hormones oestrogen and progestin. Some contraceptive pills with a higher level of progestin can have a direct impact on hair loss because they raise the levels of substancesc called androgens in the body.
Increased levels of androgens raise the likelihood of interaction with an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase. A by-product of interaction between these two goes by the name of Dihydrotestosterone (or DHT for short) which is the main cause of hair loss in men and women alike.
Genes Play A Part Too
Women whose families show a genetic predisposition to female pattern hair loss (also known as Androgenic Alopecia) are at a far greater risk of hair loss brought on by contraceptives. If there’s a family history of Androgenic Alopecia another method of contraception may be better.
Pregnancy and Hair Loss
The good news is that a woman’s hair will often look glossy and healthy during pregnancy. During the hormonal changes of pregnancy more hair follicles enter the growth phase than normal which can produce a great head of hair. However, about two to three months after childbirth, the normal hair cycle returns and many hairs re-enter the resting phase which causes excessive shedding to occur. As if having a bright-eyed young baby weren’t enough to cope with, a woman will start to shed more hair than usual. As a result, she will often notice large amounts of hair in her brush and bath or shower after washing her hair. This is usually temporary, and as hormone levels in the body return to pre-pregnancy levels after about six months, the excessive shedding normally ends. If the condition does not change after six months, a woman may be experiencing female pattern hair loss which was masked by childbirth.
Hormone Related Hair Loss – What Can I Do?
Hair is vital to a woman’s self-esteem and it can be depressing to find that your hair is thinning. In many cases there are effective treatments available. At The Belgravia Centre we have a great deal of experience in helping women who are experiencing hair loss that may have been triggered by hormonal changes. A pharmaceutical product such as Minoxidil which is licensed by the MHRA, together with a range of other hair loss treatments especially for women, may well help you stop or reverse your hair loss. To find out more about the treatment plans available, contact us today. Alternatively you can fill in our on-line diagnostic form to obtain a course of treatment tailored to your needs, that can be sent to you wherever you are.