How Hormones Affect Your Hair Loss
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Hair loss is an unavoidable part of life for most men and women as they age. Hair transplantation surgery and various medications and medicated treatments can successfully stop hair loss or even restore lost hair, but understanding why androgenetic alopecia occurs in the first place is a crucial part of combating hair loss.
At Arocha Hair Restoration and Transplant Center, Dr. Arocha and our staff are proud to offer individualized hair loss treatment to our patients. With an extensive offering of treatment options, we can tailor a hair restoration approach to meet your needs for sustained results.
The Effects of Aging on Your Hair
While modern hair loss research is still developing and the true cause of genetic baldness remains undiscovered, the effects of aging are known to be a key component of the condition. As both men and women age, the production of the male hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) increases. Studies have shown that an increased amount of DHT in the scalp has a direct impact on the lifespan of hair follicles.
Hair grows in a four-stage cycle, consisting of:
- Anagen, the growing phase
- Catagen, the regression phase
- Telogen, the resting phase
- Exogen, the shedding phase
When DHT production increases due to aging, the affected follicles are induced into a prolonged resting phase.
While the telogen phase of a hair follicle typically lasts a few months, the effects of DHT can further lengthen the resting period. DHT-affected hair follicles will begin producing hair at a noticeably slower rate, before ceasing hair production altogether.
Hereditary Hair Loss
The idea that only the mother or the father can pass down the genes responsible for causing baldness later in life is a commonly-held belief. However, both mothers and fathers pass down the AR gene which is responsible for controlling future hair growth, disproving the theory.
The AR gene produces androgen receptors in the body which receive and handle androgens or male sex hormones, including testosterone and DHT. The AR gene has been confirmed to play a key role in how DHT affects hair follicles during aging. While the likelihood of future hair loss cannot simply be determined by observing one side of the family or the other, a family history of hair loss on either side has been shown to be a reliable method of predicting hair loss later on in life.
Postpartum Hair Loss
In addition to the natural effects of aging on the body, pregnancy can make a noticeable impact on hair growth. During pregnancy, an increase in the female sex hormone estrogen prolongs the resting and growing phases of hair follicles, meaning much less normal shedding and hair loss occurs during the nine months of pregnancy. Women commonly enjoy a noticeable improvement in hair density and thickness while pregnant.
Following pregnancy, estrogen and other hormone levels drop and begin to rebalance, causing a mass shedding of hair in a relatively quick time period. This condition, known medically as postpartum alopecia, typically peaks around three to four months after pregnancy and can last between six months to one year. Unfortunately, this natural process is unavoidable.
While the hair loss may be very noticeable since it occurs all at once, it is a normal and temporary part of the postnatal process. Women who continue to experience unusual amounts of shedding over one year after giving birth should schedule a consultation with a hair loss expert to determine the cause and begin hair loss treatment.
Combating Hair Loss
While many hormonal changes that cause hair loss are an inevitable part of life, modern treatments provide more options than ever before in combating hair loss. For patients who have lost a noticeable amount of hair and who are interested in long-lasting and effective treatment, hair transplantation surgery is the answer. Unlike older procedures, modern hair transplants produce natural-looking results without noticeable scarring.
For more minimally-invasive options, we offer advanced hair therapy options in our office. Hair loss medications, including Propecia and Rogaine, have also been FDA-approved to decrease hair loss for patients when used together and consistently.