Hi everyone, we’re getting down to the last few posts for the year! In this month’s blog I’ll be looking a little more Hormonal hair loss after I touched on it in an earlier Facebook live. As this is something that many of you may be concerned about, I’ll look at:
- Hormonal function
- What can cause hair loss
- How it can be treated or managed
Hair loss is a natural part of your hair growth cycle. You will all lose several strands of hair on any given day. What you need to keep an eye out for is:
- Are you seeing noticeable clumps of hair in your brush, or in the shower after washing it?
- Is more of your scalp visible – whether overall, or patches?
- Are you noticing visible hairline changes?
- Is your ponytail volume getting less?
If you can say ‘YES’ to one or more of the above questions, then it is very likely that you are experiencing significant hair loss. Then, the next step is to find out
- Why is this happening?
- What are the underlying issues that have triggered this?
Hormonal Hair loss
Hormones are present in various biochemical pathways. They influence many processes and functions within your body, many of which you don’t even think about. Hormones are not just those needed for reproductive health, though in this case, it plays a major role.
As your body starts to naturally wane from able to conceive, oestrogen and progesterone levels start to fall. This affects the health of the hair follicles, which falls out due to follicles shrinking.
The shrinking hair follicles are activated by higher levels of male hormones. They can either ‘attack’ the follicle increasing hair loss or, it can stimulate hair growth. I’m sure that some you have noticed the dreaded moustache, peach fuzz or annoying thicker darker strands of hair appearing on your chin!!
The increased levels of androgens – testosterone, androstenedione, dihydrotestosterone (DHT) – occur due to increased activity of an enzyme that converts oestrogen to the androgens.
But you may be thinking, ‘IF MY OESTROGEN LEVELS ARE LOW, OR NON EXISTENT, HOW IS THIS HAPPENING?’
This is because adipose fat has the capacity to produce oestrogen. And you may be in contact or exposed to things within your home, environment or work, that mimic oestrogen (xenoestrogen)
What Can Cause Hair Loss?
There are many reasons, or causes, as to why you are experiencing hair loss. Some of these reasons may be transitory, or they may be long term. And yes, you guessed it, most of them involve hormones;
- Pregnancy and/or post-partum.
- Autoimmune condition – Hashimoto’s disease, Alopecia areata/universalis.
- Slow or overactive thyroid – which is not the same as having Hashimoto’s, Grave’s disease.
- Chronic stress – nutrients diverted to support the central nervous system, and oestrogen/progesterone production goes on the ‘back burner’.
- Vitamin D and/or Iron deficiency.
- Excessive use of harsh hair chemicals, or heat styling tools.
- Poor nutrient intake and absorption.
- Premature ovarian deficiency – ovaries begin to shut down before you are 40 years old.
- Perimenopause, menopause.
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) – increased androgen levels and slow thyroid.
- Chronic illness – cancer.
These are the more common reasons as to why you would experience hair loss.
How can it be Treated, or Managed?
To begin with, it would be prudent to visit your local GP to get checked out by them and get the necessary blood tests done – to either confirm or discard
- Slow/fast thyroid
- Vitamin D and Iron deficiency
- Or any other health issue that could be causing hair loss
It is important to know if you have any of the above, because, in the case of being pregnant caution is needed with what is done. And it allows me to provide you with appropriate recommendations, to support healthy hair growth.
Things such as:
- Sleep – to support your nervous system and reduce stress.
- Box breathing – calm nervous system, support digestion.
- Add bitter herbs – support liver clearance of excess hormones and unwanted toxins.
- Eat fruits and vegetables from all colours of the rainbow.
- Supplement with Vitamin D and Iron, if necessary.
- Add more nuts, seeds, legumes for Vitamin B’s, Zinc, Selenium.
- Support gut health – for improved nutrient intake and absorption and, elimination.
- Drink green tea 3-4 cups/day – to help reduce levels of the enzyme that stops oestrogen production, as well as providing some zinc.
- Reishi tea 2-3 cups/day – to stop the enzyme activity.
- Stop using high heat hair styling tools.
- Give your hair a break from harsh hair chemicals (like bleaching).