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Hormonal Changes and Hair Loss

By: Jody Ehrhardt - Updated: 11 Jul 2011 | comments*Discuss
Temporary Hair Loss Hormonal Imbalances

While there are many known causes for premature or temporary hair loss, hormonal changes are the most common cause for this condition in women. Fortunately, the hormonal imbalances that can cause this type of hair loss are usually Temporary and easily treated.

Hormones and the Body

The hormones that are found in the body at normal levels are responsible for the growth, operation, and maintenance of numerous organs and systems. Some hormones regulate body temperature while others are responsible for proper brain activity. The male hormone testosterone in present in both males and females and is responsible for the proper function of reproductive organs. It is this hormone that is thought to be most closely linked to hair loss.

When testosterone is changed in the body to DHT (another type of hormone) through an enzyme reaction hair loss can occur. This new enzyme binds to the cells of hair follicles at special receptor sites and decreases the growth stages of hair and increases the resting phase. Over a period of time this can lead to excess hair shedding, limited growth, hair thinning, and eventually baldness.

When testosterone, or its by-product DHT, is not the cause of hair loss, other hormonal changes could be to blame. Changes in estrogens, progesterone, and thyroid hormones can also lead to hair loss.

Pregnancy and Childbirth

The hormonal changes that are brought on by pregnancy and childbirth can lead to temporary hair loss. During the last trimester of pregnancy hair growth can be increased due to overproduction of certain hormones. However, immediately after childbirth these hormones decrease significantly and hair follicles are forced into an extended resting phase. During this phase hair shedding is increased but new growth does not occur to take its place, thus leading to temporary hair loss.

Hormonal changes brought on by perimenopause and menopause can also lead to hair loss. During this time, estrogens and progesterone levels in a woman's body fluctuate and decrease. These changes can affect the function of the hair follicle resulting in extended resting phases and notable hair thinning.

In the same way that these natural changes can affect hair loss any medications, such as birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy that alter the body's hormone production, can also lead to temporary hair loss.

Finally, any malfunctions in the thyroid can lead to the overproduction or underproduction of certain hormones that help regulate hair growth. In this instance, hair loss is caused by a depressed growth phase and an extended resting phase.

Treatment for Hormonal Hair Loss

Although the hair loss or thinning that can be caused by these hormonal changes is frustrating, embarrassing, and alarming there is good news. Most cases of hair loss due to hormonal imbalances are temporary and the Natural Hair Growth Cycle will return once the condition or illness has passed or been cured. In the case of childbirth, normal hair growth returns in as little as six months. With perimenopause or menopause normal hair growth should return once the hormonal changes subside. The same is true for medications that affect hair growth. Once the body becomes used to the medication or once the medications are stopped hair growth returns to normal.

If hair loss is not eliminated a few months after the condition has cleared, it may be time to talk to your doctor about alternative treatment. In these cases, hair loss is usually not only the result of hormonal changes. Once the actual condition is identified hair loss can be treated with a variety of options and procedures.

Hair loss caused by hormonal changes is usually temporary and not cause for great concern. The best way to deal with this condition is to be patient and find ways to style your hair for added volume and thickness until the normal hair growth cycles return.

Styling Help

For advice on styling your hair, read our articles Styling Tricks to Camouflage Thinning Hair and Hair Volumiser Tips.

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