For women who are going through menopause or experiencing sudden changes in their hormone levels, hormone therapy can work for hair loss. For men, hair loss is normally genetic and tends to not be affected by hormone therapy, though patients can still seek medical advice to determine whether their hair loss is related to another health condition.
Hormone therapy can help patients rebalance their hormone levels, which might be affecting their hair growth, and help ease other symptoms related to menopause or hormone changes, such as issues with the thyroid.
Hormone therapy does have side effects, so patients should discuss these treatment methods and how they might affect patients before starting. In some cases, a doctor might suggest other methods to ease hair loss.
Women Also Experience Hair Loss
While many people associate hair loss with men, an often-unspoken reality is that many women also experience hair loss, especially as they reach menopausal age. According to Harvard Health Publishing, about one-third of women report having hair loss at some point in their lifetime, and two-thirds of women who reached postmenopausal age experienced hair thinning or bald spots.
Unlike men, who generally experience hair loss due to their genetics, women tend to experience hair loss as a result of imbalanced hormone levels and other triggers. Some causes of hair loss in women include:
- Lower estrogen and progesterone levels: Estrogen and progesterone stimulate hair growth, which is why pregnant women—who are producing extra levels of these hormones—tend to experience thickening hair during their pregnancy. Women can have their hormone levels drop as a result of menopause, hypothyroidism, their mental health, and other health conditions.
- High levels of testosterone: According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), hair loss in women can occur when the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase metabolizes dihydrotestosterone (DHT), making the hair follicle more brittle. Women with higher levels of testosterone can experience both hair loss and hair growth in unwanted places, such as in the case of women who have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
- Menopause: Hair loss is a common side effect of menopause, whether a woman is about to enter this stage of her life, currently in it, or recently went through it. Menopause causes significant imbalances in hormone levels because the body stops producing estrogen and progesterone.
- Hypothyroidism: Long-term hypothyroidism can lead to hair loss, though thinning might develop much slower with this condition than other health conditions. The thyroid produces hormones that affect multiple functions in the body, so when it becomes underactive (hypo), it can cause deficiencies in the body, including the hair.
- Stress: A person’s mental health can have a major effect on their physical body. Mental disorders like depression and anxiety can cause hormonal imbalances, and the same can be said for chronic or prolonged stress. Stress can cause patching, brittle hair, and other forms of hair loss.
Other health conditions can also lead to hair loss in women, so it is always advised to seek medical advice on how to treat your hair loss, as other health factors might be contributing to this symptom.
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Hormone Therapy Can Help Treat Hair Loss
If your hair loss is attributed to hormone imbalances, such as lower estrogen levels, a physician might prescribe a form of hormone therapy as treatment. There are different forms of hormone therapies, so some treatment methods might be more suitable for you than others. You can discuss these therapies in more detail with your physician and ask specific questions about how they might affect your health.
Some common forms of hormone therapy used to treat hair loss include:
- Thyroid Optimization: If a woman is experiencing low thyroid function, they may be prescribed thyroid medication to balance these levels out, which can help reduce hair loss as a result.
- Anti-androgens: Androgens refer to male hormones, such as testosterone, which can cause hair loss in women if produced at high levels. Doctors may prescribe anti-androgens to reduce these levels and pair them with an oral contraceptive to keep other female hormone levels balanced.
- Hormone replacement therapy (HRT): HRT can include birth control pills and other forms of treatments that treat low estrogen and progesterone levels. HRT can come in the form of vaginal creams, rings, patches, IUDs, and medications.
Certain Patients May Experience Side Effects
Pregnant women are often advised not to engage in hormone therapy, especially with anti-androgens, as complications can occur with the fetus.
Other side effects might include:
- High blood pressure
- Weight loss
- Stroke or heart attack
- Headaches and migraines
- Mood changes
You can discuss more potential side effects with your physician.
Schedule an Appointment at Anti-Aging and Regenerative Associates
If you are experiencing hair loss as a result of menopause, you might be interested in learning more about hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and whether it is a suitable treatment method for you. Schedule an appointment at Anti-Aging and Regenerative Associates to speak with a medical professional about hormone therapy, hair loss, and which treatments might be best for your health condition. Our team is more than happy to discuss more about whether hormone therapy works for hair loss.