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Potential Causes of Hormonal Hair Loss in Women and Men
Along with the many symptoms of hormone imbalances that affect how we feel physically, there are also possible symptoms that negatively impact our looks, self-confidence, and identity — hair loss is one of those.
Man or woman, we all want to look and feel our best. Hair loss is hard as it is, but hormonal hair loss is somehow worse — it’s as though our bodies are turning against us.
Can a hormonal imbalance cause hair loss? In some cases, yes. Let’s discuss in detail.
Testosterone and Male Pattern Baldness — The Myth
Let’s begin with one type of baldness that men often mistake for hormonal hair loss — male pattern baldness.
Men have historically drawn the conclusion, or been led to believe, that an abundance of testosterone leads to the common receding hairline and thinning at the crown that many men experience.
We say it’s mistaken because, despite all the rumors and falsehoods that we continue to hear, the amount of testosterone in a man’s body does not directly determine whether he’s going to develop male pattern baldness.
More testosterone doesn’t necessarily mean less hair.
The relationship is definitely a bit more subtle — more detail is available in our article on baldness and testosterone.
Instead, the primary determiner of male pattern baldness is genetic. If you’re genetically predisposed to lose your hair, you’re going to lose it.
Certain genes can cause men’s hair follicles to negatively react to DHT (dihydrotestosterone), a byproduct that remains when your body breaks down testosterone for use. That means there is a connection between testosterone and baldness for some men with a certain genetic makeup.
That’s good news. If you develop low testosterone and need to consider testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), supplementary testosterone isn’t going to cause sudden male pattern baldness. (We address that rumor and others in a previous post on balding and testosterone — read here.)
By the age most men with low testosterone come in for treatment, it has usually become obvious whether the genes for male pattern baldness are present or not. There are rarely surprises after beginning treatment.
That means TRT is very unlikely to cause you to lose your hair.
Body and Facial Hair Loss — A Symptom of Low Testosterone
Most people are worried about how we appear to others and what we see every time we look into the mirror.
We’re especially worried about the hair on our head.
However, there’s another type of hormonal hair loss that can signal a problem.
If you notice your body hair thinning, such as under the arms or on the chest, you should be aware that such thinning can be a sign of low testosterone, and you might consider seeing your medical provider to be tested.
You might be surprised at how much better you look and feel if you get those hormone levels back under control and in balance.
Women’s Health and Hormonal Hair Loss
The symptoms of female hormone imbalance, whether as a part of the menopausal changes a woman’s body goes through or due to some other health condition, can drastically affect how a woman looks and feels.
Here are some of the more common symptoms:
- Mood changes
- Mild depression or anxiety
- Hair loss and hair thinning
- Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
- Low libido (loss of the desire for sex)
- Weaker bones
- Poor sleep quality
- Ovarian cysts
- Irregular or heavy periods
- Changes in appetite or digestive issues
The most common cause for a hormone imbalance that may result in hair loss is age-related, given that almost every woman will eventually go through the physical changes of menopause. The ovaries will decrease production of estrogen and eventually cease production all together.
Hormonal hair loss among women can also be a symptom of low testosterone. While it fails to receive the publicity that either male low testosterone or female low estrogen receives, it’s more prevalent than most women expect.
Hair loss can also be a symptom of illnesses that cause fluctuations in hormones and affect a women’s overall health, such as:
The fact that hair loss can signal a more significant issue is an important reason why you should see your medical provider to make sure you know what’s going on with your health and that you are taking the necessary measures to prevent more serious issues that may be building without you being aware.
How to Stop Hormonal Hair Loss — Identify the Problem
If you’re experiencing hormonal hair loss, the first thing that you need is help identifying the source of the problem.
This is going to require an extensive blood test that looks for various irregularities in your various hormone levels, including testosterone, estrogen, and many other hormones.
Getting treatment to bring hormone levels back into their proper balance can ease most of the symptoms you’re experiencing, including slowing or stopping your hair loss.
Can Hormonal Hair Loss Be Reversed?
This is a little bit trickier.
If you’ve visited your medical professional, been diagnosed with a hormone imbalance, and have begun treatment for your condition, you should be able to expect hair loss to slow or, hopefully, cease altogether.
That’s not always the case, but it’s the usual result of restoring hormone balance.
Some people do experience regrowth or thickening of the hair.
The new hair, however, may appear somewhat lifeless and lack its original quality.
Unfortunately, total restoration to your previous condition is unlikely.
The Best Hormonal Hair Loss Treatment
Prevention, early detection, and treatment of the root causes that bring the progress of hormonal hair loss to a halt early on is the only sure-fire way to address the problem.
If you think you may be experiencing the signs and symptoms of hormone imbalance, we recommend getting a thorough examination and a proper diagnosis as quickly as possible.
For more information on the causes and treatments of female hormonal hair loss, click the button below.